The open enrollment process allows employees to see what benefits are available, and offers an opportunity to review current and new coverage to ensure they have the right benefits for themselves and/or their families. But the process can be overwhelming and many people don’t have time to really review all their options and ensure they fully understand what’s being offered. Here are some steps employers can take to help make open enrollment a success.
10 tips to help employers improve open enrollment
1. Review past enrollments
Reviewing what was successful and what could have been better after each open enrollment is a good way to spot opportunities for improvement. Surveying employees can shed light on what communication methods (email, print, meetings, etc.) resulted in higher participation or sparked the most feedback.
2. Share information early
Benefit information can be complicated. Employers should allow time for employees to review options and ask questions well before enrollment actually begins. At a minimum, employers should make sure their materials are answering:
- Why employees might need benefits.
- Which options and amounts best fit their needs.
- What value the program or benefit provides.
- What the benefit will cost per paycheck.
3. Customize information
If most of the employee population is young and single employees, consider materials and meetings that focus on the highlights and schedule separate discussions for staff with more complex needs. Tailoring materials with sample cost calculations for individuals, couples and families is also helpful.
4. Get families involved
For employees making benefit decisions for their family, employers can host presentations or webinars where families can learn and make decisions together. Consider whether all family members are English-speaking and offer additional language options.
5. Make it personal
When possible, use testimonials to help “sell” the importance of the benefits offered. Even if the testimonial is anonymous, the story becomes more relatable when employees see how it helped in a coworker scenario.
6. Use every resource
Internal and external partners can enhance the open enrollment process by creating emails and materials that are specific to the group, as well as online enrollment services.
7. Make it fun
Open enrollment is important, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Things like raffle prizes for early enrollees, door prizes and handouts can boost attendance at enrollment fairs. Gamifying the process via online quizzes can help materials get read. A few dollars spent on prizes can go a long way toward increasing participation and engagement.
8. Communicate broadly
From posters in the breakroom to dedicated websites for enrollment, making sure communications reach employees will help ensure messages are seen. Many employers are now texting, using social media and streaming videos to educate employees who can’t attend live presentations.
9. Remember remote workers
It’s important for remote workers to feel prepared, involved and heard during open enrollment. Virtual benefit fairs, webinars and videos can help them feel connected. Establish dedicated times for call-in questions and ensure HR representatives are available for consultations.
10. Work with a broker
Brokers are a valuable resource for answering policy questions, providing tools and assistance and serving as a go-between for clients and carriers.
Share these tips with your clients, and make sure to read and share our Inside Track educational paper >