HR 2017: An Interview with Theresa Westlund of Northern Kentucky University
At HR 2017 in Orlando, Theresa Westlund of Northern Kentucky University presented in a session about how Northern Kentucky University enhanced benefits enrollment with Employee Self Service and enhancement package 6. I asked her a few questions about her experience with this upgrade.
Is this your first time speaking at HR 2017? What has your experience been like?
This is my third time speaking. I’ve always enjoyed the experience of presenting at the conference as well as attending other sessions. I especially like that there is a conference specifically focused on HR topics.
Your session was on how Northern Kentucky University enhanced benefits enrollment with Employee Self Service and enhancement package 6. Northern Kentucky University’s business case included goals to enhance the UI to facilitate the benefits enrollment process during open and new hire/rehire enrollment periods. Could you explain some of the challenges you faced while enhancing the UI and what the benefits were after you completed the enhancement?
Some of the challenges we faced were related to requirements that were substantial and based on the timeline, we weren’t able to complete everything by the go-live date. However, we were able to complete the majority of the enhancements, thus enabling our employees to use a much more user-friendly interface for Open Enrollment.
We modified some of the delivered functionality on the Personal data view because we didn’t want employees to be able to change their social security numbers or the way their names are spelled in the system (under the personal profile section). Those were fields that were made as view only. Employees could view this information and validate it. If they need to make any changes to personal data, they must go to the HR office to complete the change.
Could you discuss some features of enhancement package 6 and the benefits that Northern Kentucky University reaped after implementing enhancement package 6?
The user interface has improved immensely with enhancement package 6 providing multi-step guided activity and one screen application. Employees found it much easier to use versus the prior functionality that required use of the roadmap and use of radio buttons.
The eligible coverage per each plan presents the coverage level based on the dependent detail maintained on Infotype 0021. In addition, employees are now able to add dependents through ESS Benefit Open Enrollment, which updates the IT0021 record in the back end. This can be done during enrollment to reflect in the medical plans, dental plans, and insurance plans, and employees are then able to choose the proper coverage level.
An additional feature that is available is an acceptance of terms and conditions by the employee prior to enrollment. After the employee enrolls and saves the enrollment, an email notification is generated to the employee’s email account confirming his or her enrollment in benefits for the upcoming plan year. This is something the Benefits Office has wanted.
We implemented some enhancements that helped employees with decision making when enrolling, such as removing the post-tax button. All the plans offered are pre-tax. We like the features of the pop-up message where dependent plans or co-requisite plans are required to enroll properly. Some examples are high deductible health plan (HDHP) and the health savings account.
The system provides messages related to rules about evidence of insurability. A pop-up message provides detailed requirements and the timeframe for when it has to be completed. Employees can view their benefits summary, with links to the benefits department website. This has been a big success and it has freed up time, allowing the benefits department to work on other projects.
If an organization was just planning to implement enhancement package 6, what advice would you offer to it?
Do your research and analysis on the functionality that is delivered in advance. There is some great information on the SAP Help Portal for enhancement package 6 regarding the delivered functionality. Also, reading blogs and white papers is helpful. SAPinsider has a very good link to a blog by Amy Thistle called “Tips for maximizing the benefit enrollment process in SAP.”
Get your information together. Analyze what functionality is delivered and see what options you have for user exits. Make sure that the implementation plan meets the requirements of your benefits department by completing a thorough gap analysis. The product is very customizable because it is in Web Dynpro ABAP UI technology. We’re happy we made the move.