When I recently spoke at the UP HR Fall Forum in Bark River, it was a few days prior to the 10/1 beginning Open Enrollment date for individual coverage via the federal marketplace website.
Since that time, we have all come to know that there are serious issues, or glitches, as some are calling them, in the system. Each day brings with it a new level of confusion for Americans, many of which don’t understand what is happening. Depending on each individual and their personal situation, their attitude and emotion ranges from mildly interested to somewhat worried to all-out panic stricken.
Washington partisanship and political bias is at an all-time high and the ACA, particularly the individual mandate and marketplace website, are common fodder in their battle for dominance. The press, in its zeal to stay on top of stories that contain conflict – remember….conflict sells – is sending out a mountain of information to the public with little regard for fact-checking.
Confusion breeds misconception; misconception potentially leads to paranoia; and all of it can lead to bad decisions – both individual and organizational – impacting employees and their families as well as overall organizational productivity. How is your organization managing the chaos? How are you managing your employees’ perception of the value they have in their benefit package? How will you ensure that your best and brightest remain such?
The savvy employer recognizes that this risk, while sizeable, represents an even greater opportunity to their organization if handled correctly. A strategy to become the “Employer of Choice” in your region should include Employee Communication and Education Plans that are well thought out and executed.
This will prove to be the differentiator for employers competing for the best talent available. Employees that have complete clarity in their employers’ decisions are far more able to embrace them when they understand the impact on them personally. And in addition, they are far more apt to perform at a high level and for a long period of time.