Keeping everyone on the same page during your employee benefits enrollment period can be a challenge. From new employees who need to learn the ropes to individuals who are having a difficult time with technology, communication is critical throughout the open enrollment process. Creating an employee benefits enrollment process that works not only for the Human Resources team but also for the rest of the organization requires time and planning to effectively execute. Benefits are an incredibly important part of an employer’s payroll costs, making up approximately 32% of the total payroll. That makes it critically important that open enrollments are completed accurately to limit unexpected costs to your organization down the road. Here are some best-practices from benefits pros to help your next open enrollment period flow seamlessly.
1. Research What’s Worked in the Past
Before you begin planning, gather the benefits team for a quick recap of the previous year. Discuss some of the pitfalls and wins that you experienced during your employee benefits enrollment period. If you can, pull reports from your online benefits platform to determine if there were specific messages that triggered employees to complete their updates. If you’re lucky, there may be a clear indicator of a specific email or company meeting after which 70% or more of your staff decided to get busy making their elections. If you can track the activity back to that event — duplicate it! Once you have some solid ideas in mind, reach out to your employee community and see what type of information was most helpful for them in the past, too.
2. Start Your Education Plan Early
Benefits such as insurance are one of the key reasons that employees choose to work for organizations. Even so, it can be surprising how long it can take individuals to make choices about their coverage. This means it is exceptionally important to begin your education plan even before you think you should. That allows you to walk through a range of messaging points that share the value of the benefits to employees and how simple it is to make their annual elections — as well as communicate any changes from the previous year.
3. Communicate with Employees Regularly
Starting early isn’t enough, you have to maintain a regularity to your communication that will keep people interested and engaged throughout the open enrollment process. Start planning your communication strategy early, so you don’t find yourself repeating the same information each time. Try to think of interesting tidbits of information that you can share over the course of the campaign so you’re always keeping people’s attention. Scale up your communication schedule as you get closer to the closing date for your enrollment period. You can start with bi-weekly or even monthly communication, transitioning to weekly messaging as the time draws near.
4. Go Paperless
Few people are excited about filling out a bunch of printed paperwork, which can cause a fair bit of procrastination on the part of your staff. Re-writing the same information year after year can seem very repetitive and like a waste of time. If you go paperless, you’ll find that your staff members are much more likely to jump on getting their enrollments completed. Plus, having everything consolidated together online makes it much easier for employees to compare their costs, contributions and coverage from year to year — something that can be tough if you’re trying to compare across multiple years of printed forms.
5. Update Your Technology
Having easy-to-use technology is critical for today’s benefits enrollment projects to be successful. Software that constantly crashes, login and password processes that don’t provide enough information or are difficult to use and confusing choices that send you into a loop are all benefits enrollment disasters waiting to happen. The last thing you want is to receive multiple calls from employees who are completely frustrated with attempting to make their enrollment decisions. Instead, you need a solution that is simple, clean and user-friendly, allowing individuals to quickly walk through their choices and feel confident that they are making the right decisions for themselves and their family.
These are only a few of the many ways that CoreMark can work with you to reduce the overall confusion around your annual employee benefits enrollment process. Download our complimentary guide today: “Step-by-Step Guide for Introducing New Employee Benefits”.
Are you ready to get started on your road to open enrollment success? Let us help. Contact us at 866.340.2247 for more information.