Certified in Open Enrollment Success

Certified in Open Enrollment Success: How One Employer Trained for Excellence

The transition from summer to autumn for most benefit teams means a shift from open enrollment planning to execution. Getting your team and workforce ready are critical steps to success. And if you're using a benefits management technology platform, knowing what tools you have available can make all the difference during the busiest time of year.

I recently talked to Amanda Kozak, the go-to person for benefits planning and communication at North American Lighting (NAL), about her experience getting ready for open enrollment. And in her first year managing open enrollment with the BENEFITFOCUS® Marketplace, Amanda was determined to make a difference.

So she enrolled in Benefitfocus University, which was established to give our customers in-depth training on how to take advantage of all the features and functionality of our software, so they can maximize their benefits technology investment. 

In our interview, Amanda explained just how much of a difference her Benefitfocus Marketplace certification training made:

CINDI: First, tell me a little about what NAL does and how your workforce is structured.

AMANDA: NAL makes headlights, taillights and turn signals for automobiles.

It’s a fun industry to be a part of because there are many changes happening with new technologies, such as the use of LED lights and lighting components for self-driving cars. NAL recently started developing and adding technologies for this emerging market, and it's exciting to see how innovations are launched in new car models.

We're headquartered in Paris, Ill., with nine facilities and about 6,000 employees located throughout the U.S. 

CINDI: How has your benefits enrollment process evolved over the years?

AMANDA: NAL used to do enrollment via paper, but Benefitfocus has transformed the way we handle benefits and open enrollment. I’ve been here for almost three years, and it's really changed everything. I've been waiting a long time to have something like Benefitfocus Marketplace.

CINDI: What led you to consider Benefitfocus Marketplace Certification?

AMANDA: I initially heard about Benefitfocus University from my Delivery Manager during implementation. Since I was the main person dealing with Benefitfocus Marketplace, I wanted to have in-depth knowledge about the system. I also wanted to get everything right during open enrollment planning so that I could make the process as smooth as possible for employees.

One of the areas I wanted to master was the Communication Portal. With the initial implementation of the Benefitfocus Marketplace, I did most of the set up, and I didn't have time to do more than the essential set-up to get information out to employees.

CINDI: In what areas did Benefitfocus University training help you focus?

AMANDA: Setting aside three days to focus and learn made a big difference in my ability to communicate internally about how the system works, and it helped me look at things a little differently, too. 

The main areas of value for me were using reports and the content management aspect of the Communication Portal. There were so many helpful ideas and best practices that were shared, which made it simple to make changes to our current approach. It helped me think more strategically about benefits communication, and ways to engage employees in order to create awareness and educate them on their benefits.

The material wasn't difficult to learn, but being able to focus on it without any distractions was key to making the most out of the three-day training.

CINDI: What differences did the training help you make as part of your open enrollment planning?

AMANDA: After getting my certification, I'm much more confident about how to use the system and all of its capabilities.

Now, I feel good about making changes to the Benefitfocus Marketplace. I can work more efficiently. And I can even identify things I'd like to enable in the future and opportunities to make better use out of the Benefitfocus Marketplace. 

Open enrollment really stresses me out. Getting my certification taught me about the future dates feature, which enables me to start setting up open enrollment information in advance to get ahead of the busy season. Without the Benefitfocus Marketplace Certification, I may not have discovered this feature. 

These courses just tipped the scale for me to feel a lot more confident at work every day.

CINDI: How did the trainers make the course relevant to your unique needs?

AMANDA: During the training, I was able to use my own portal site to make updates, as well as several demo sites to practice on first. The trainers made the experience lots of fun and were able to answer specific questions about my own portal. I really enjoyed the level of personalized attention I received from the training team. They provided a ton of tools I can use now.

I'm so glad I took advantage of the opportunity to attend Benefitfocus University, and that I was able to meet the trainers. I feel like I have a very strong support system at Benefitfocus.

Grow your benefits management support system

Need some help with your open enrollment planning? Communication? Voluntary benefit strategy? Join us at One Place 2018 for hands-on training and strategy sessions on how to maximize your benefits investment.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get the latest resources on these and many other topics sent right to your inbox. One click is all it takes!