In light of today’s diverse and continuously evolving workforce, it’s more critical than ever that you have a targeted strategy for your open enrollment.
You should not just consider open enrollment as the period that your staff chooses benefits. The way you execute and your success in boosting participation can help attract, engage and retain top talent.
This makes open enrollment season – and all of your year-round benefits communications – an essential part of your overall human resources strategy. Open enrollment is your ticket to a more benefits-engaged workforce.
Open enrollment’s function is to get employees signed up for next year’s benefits. It’s a time to let your workforce in on any changes to your benefits and make sure they have the latest-and-greatest plan documents and any requisite health reform-related notices.
Guidespark Inc., a human resources communications provider, in a recent report recommended the following for a successful open enrollment:
Pre-planning to get it right
• With only a few months away until open enrollment, you should meet with your benefits team and involved management to discuss what worked or didn’t during last year’s enrollment.
• Compile all of last year’s materials, including all documents, brochures, e-mails and social media posts. You can use this trove to start formulating ideas on how to improve and revise them.
• If you will be including a new health plan, introducing new benefits or if any of your plans have changed, collect all of this information and backup resources.
• Ask your staff if there are any benefits they’d like to learn more about, and how they would prefer to receive that information.
• Talk to us so that we can help you tailor the information specifically to your workers.
Review last year’s open enrollment
Evaluate your open enrollment results from last year. This can help you gain valuable insights into your benefits package and communications plan, making your next enrollment smoother and improving your employees’ satisfaction.
Pay special attention to the way your employees preferred to consume information on your benefits offerings.
This overall review can help you better allocate your resources and improve the way you are reaching and training your employees about your benefits and their choices.
Design a multi-pronged approach
Be prepared to use a variety of communication channels to reach your employees. If you haven’t already done so, ask your staff how they prefer to receive information about benefits.
• You should be prepared to accommodate all of their preferences such as:
• Face-to-face meetings.
• Paper resources like brochures and booklets.
• Web-based resources, including websites, pdfs and other digital content. E-mails are included in this category.
Don’t just use the method that the majority of your employees prefer. Try to accommodate all preference types. A successful communications plan can greatly increase your enrollment. And remember that if you have millennials on staff, they often prefer to consume information on their smart phones.
Also, make sure that all of your communications are clear, simple and to the point, so employees know what they’re supposed to do. You should:
• Try to avoid jargon, and don’t cram in too much copy.
• Include or embed links to tools and resources you want them to use.
• Feed information in bite-sized chunks.
Don’t just limit your employees’ access to the information you provide to when they are at work. To have a successful open enrollment try to make sure they can access the information anytime, anywhere.
Web-based content and videos are easy to access around the clock, from home or the office. You can experiment with modern methods to communicate through video, mobile, social media and texting.
Once you’ve refreshed your open enrollment strategy and updated resources, you can keep those resources available throughout the year and after open enrollment. Many of the resources will be relevant and accurate all year – and likely beyond the year.
Many of these resources can be part of a year-long benefits education program, providing employees with timeless, useful information.