It’s almost open enrollment time again, and if you are like many human resources professionals, it probably snuck up on you. Naturally, you want the highest level of employee engagement when it comes to participating in these benefits. This can be tricky, since employees want self service when it comes to navigating open enrollment, but cannot be left without support. The best way to go about this is to ensure communication stays open and clear through the enrollment process.
This process does not have to be as daunting as it seems. There is a lot of math involved, which can be off putting to some. But, there’s a lot you can do with the compensation package to make it easier to understand. After all, guiding employees through the open enrollment process can be made much easier if you have a plan in place.
Here are a few reasons why it is important to have a plan for open enrollment communications:
Maintaining Employee Engagement
The entire process begins with employee participation. It is important to give everyone enough of a window to get their decision in as to whether or not they will be participating in coverage. This should always be step one.
If your staff receives the exact same email reminders over and over, it actually can produce the reverse effect, not to mention the tone and timing are key factors in the engagement of any email. Your employees are busy and if they’ve been reminded of something once, they may gloss over any other reminders that are sent. In addition, many work remotely these days, which means they can be prone to even more distraction and potentially suffer from digital overload.
This is why it is important to have a content calendar show you the frequency of your communications. In addition to sending out regular emails, you may also want to schedule meetings with either individuals or teams to go over the process. This allows room for engagement and makes it more likely for the employee to retain information about the enrollment process.
It also opens up the forum for people to ask questions they may not have even realized they had. Therefore be prepared for any confusion that might arise. It is also a good idea to have things like math and pricing calculated in advance, reducing the intimidation factor and promoting better comprehension.
While open enrollment should give employees something to look forward to in the coming year, like health coverage, it’s important not to shy away from any facts or bad news. Clarity is the ultimate goal here. Make sure all employees know about the different benefits that may be offered and allow them to fill out the appropriate documents as soon as they are available. The sooner the process is completed, the fewer reminders need to be sent, reducing the risk of potential errors or missed deadlines.
With open enrollment usually taking place at the end of the year, there are already a lot of things on everyone’s minds. Integrating this process into the usual workday, like scheduling meetings to discuss the process and its requirements, can help make the situation less stressful for everyone.
Keeping Up with Potential Changes
Changes can happen in the workplace and in the world of insurance and benefits. If a schedule is made for the open enrollment process in advance, this can make it much easier to account for any unexpected occurrences, such as changes in staff, pricing, options in the benefits package or other business qualifiers. It also helps ease the employees into any differences from previous years.
Keep in mind that even small things like a change of address can be significant if it’s a part of other major differences. In fact, the more ahead of the game you are with the open enrollment process, the easier it can be to anticipate these changes. This is why preparing in advance for open enrollment is always a good idea.
Making sure everyone is on the same page is step one. Set up alerts so you can be instantly notified of any potential changes that impact the open enrollment process. Anticipation is key. You are more likely to succeed if you prepare for changes in advance.
To expand on this further, it is important to hold employees accountable to deadlines that have been set. Make sure everyone is aware that all changes must be reported in a timely manner. You may want to use a tool to keep track of business and employee changes and when they occur. It’s also important not to forget to use secure cloud storage for sensitive data.
Make sure you have all the information you need from your employees, and to keep track of anyone who you might still be waiting on to receive their information.
Ensure Time for Other Year End Business Needs
Open enrollment falls at a very hectic time of year. Accounts are being closed out, final reports are being processed and people are likely to be planning vacations. During these times, enrolling in coverage can be the last thing on an employee’s mind. If the plan for open enrollment is scheduled in advance, this allows everyone involved more time to plan around scheduled events and meet all of their deadlines.
Nobody wants to feel more stressed at the end of the year. Open enrollment does not have to be an additional thing to add to the pile. If the process is handled efficiently, this gives employees more time to focus on their other projects that need to be wrapped up before the year ends. If company parties are your thing, this also gives the opportunity to plan for those, resulting in a more pleasant work experience all around.
These tips are not just for keeping employees on the right track, they’re for you, too. Customize your content calendar to ensure that all of your communications plans are met, as well. Sometimes we need to set reminders to remind other people to do things, too.
Holding employees accountable is only as viable as holding yourself accountable to begin with. When you have a plan that works for you, that will lead to the most successful open enrollment.