Open enrollment is undoubtedly the busiest time for HR professionals and employees as well. This is the opportunity for employees to change their benefits plan, such as insurance career, dependents, enrollment for the first time, etc. Hence, HR and benefits departments have to handle everything from designing the schemes to negotiating and communicating policies to the workforce within the deadlines. Honestly, open enrollment is not less than a nightmare for human resources professionals and they have to face a plethora of challenges during the process, including:
- Completing all the formalities in a tight schedule can vary according to state.
- Ensuring that the paperwork is done accurately and correctly.
- Informing the employees about their benefits choices.
Amidst all these strenuous tasks, the one that is the toughest is communicating well with all employees and ensuring that they understand each clause and make an informed decision. As per industry data, only 19% of the employees have a complete or high understanding of their benefits program while according to another survey, employee’s attitude toward these plans correlates with their engagement and commitment.
Any mistake while conveying about an employee benefits plan can result in wrong selection, additional administrative burden, or worse, they can be stuck with their incorrect choice.
Do you face similar issues? Then need not worry. You can get your hands on various HR tools that can come in handy to simplify this tedious task and ensure efficient open enrollment communication. It’s time to embrace digital solutions and make your life easier.
Here is a brief explanation of how technology can help you streamline communication and workflow but before that let’s take a look at 5 communication tips for open enrollment:
Tip 1: Keep It Simple
Open enrollment rules and regulations can be too complicated to comprehend for the first time. You cannot expect your employees to understand each point correctly and with you making it even more difficult in your communication, things will only get worse for you. Therefore, your priority should be to make it as simple as possible.
Your first message regarding open enrollment should not consist of detailed and long descriptions that are not only beyond one’s understanding but also boring.
Do not try to educate your workforce about every benefit and organization’s policies in one massive message, break it into short and engaging ones instead.
You can share a series of emails or messages that are easy to understand to ensure a better experience and boost trust. Only after strong initial information, you must start with coverage, benefits, emergency needs, etc. Your language must be simple, concise, and clear.
Tip 2: An Effective Communication Strategy
You can hardly work without a well-planned strategy that defines all your steps and actions. That is how you work, right? Whether it’s about hiring, interviews, firing, or planning an event. Open enrollment is no exception to it. You must have a game plan before you discuss employee benefits insurance with your workforce.
Start with analyzing the previous year’s strategy, find the results and drawbacks, take corrective measures, and refine it to come up with a better plan that helps you attain your goals. You must evaluate your internal communication flow on the basis of the following questions:
- Which employees are the hardest to reach and which ones are not engaged?
- What worked for you in the last year and what needs to be improved?
- What are the communication modes that provide you with the best results and what channels do your employees use to get news about the company?
Once you have answers to these questions, it will be easier for you to make a comprehensive strategy.
Tip 3: Communicate Earlier
As you know that open enrollment has a deadline and you must complete all the paperwork and formalities within a tight schedule. So, you cannot wait until the eleventh hour to communicate with the workforce and get done with the task way before the stipulated time. Therefore, start interacting with your employees at least 4-6 weeks earlier and be frequent.
Share messages, emails often, and include all the essential material, information, dates, deadlines, log in details, instructions, and more. This will ensure that by the time the deadline approaches, you are already done with your work and ready to wind up the process.
Now, have a look at how tech has simplified the open enrollment communication:
Yes, we know that personalization and automation look so contradictory together but thanks to the technological advancements now you can make both of the best worlds. These counter intuitive tasks are now easier with smart benefits solutions. Emails have always been the most convenient and traditional way of communicating with employees.
You can send mass messages to the entire team without making much of an effort. Now, you can use the same model to communicate about open enrollment and the best part is these emails can be personalized too. With modern HR platforms, you get built-in features that automatically send emails on the set event or date.
They also add a name to give it a personalized touch and share the information with the workforce at once. Moreover, you can even segment your employees into groups and share specific benefits plans with each of them, be it financial wellness programs, family perks, worksite benefits, etc. If an employee hasn’t enrolled in the plan, the automated system will send reminders of the deadlines.
Reality check – you cannot expect the attention of your employees with those lengthy guides and manuals. People have a short attention span and you need to be precise with your message to engage them. This is a common rule in digital marketing but also applicable when you want to convey something important to your team.
Honestly, an employee would only spend 17-20 minutes out of their hectic schedule to read, shop for, and enroll in an employee health insurance plan. So, you have a short window to educate them and you need to make the most of it. The key is to be efficient with your benefits education initiatives by making a video that is interesting, informative, and brief.
You can look around and you will find that video increases retention rates and is an effective medium to convey even the most complex information. Moreover, there is a 75% more chance that people will watch a video rather than reading a guide. So, you can store all the videos in one library that you can access easily and then share it via email or texts.
You might think that employees are hardly interested in reading text messages and are likely to ignore them but that is not the case at all. In fact, they tend to pay more heed to texts from employers than emails. You just have to make sure that you let them know that you will be sending them messages.
According to a survey, texts have a higher open rate than emails which is about 89% and users are also more engaged with messages. Additionally, texting is convenient when it comes to sharing links, be it to a video library or enrollment platform. You can get a benefits platform with text messaging capabilities.
However, if you are someone who is already using or planning to implement Open Enrollment Communication,the next section is for you. It’s time to understand how you can improve Open Enrollment Communication for better employee benefits.
Best Ways to Improve Open Enrollment Communication
The COVID outbreak has given a lot of stress to HRs, team members, employees and employers. But still, HRs managed the hectic situation by improving the undeniable situation and encouraged the employees to navigate through Open Enrollment Communication for their vital role.
You can too follow some simple and easy guidelines to follow at your workplace regarding Open Enrollment Communication.
Start With Employees, Get Them Ready!
Every workplace has two kinds of employees: first, who knows everything about open enrollment and second who are not even aware of this term. Hence, you can start with the naive employees first. Conduct a seminar and showcase the following questions to them:
- Why do I need the insurance coverage?
- What value are there in my coverage program?
- Which features will be beneficial for me?
- What about the cost? How much is the cost of my per paycheck?
You can make them understand through the seminars and give them the answer with the help of technologies. There are numerous educational revolutions that focus on technologies and can provide the simplest enrollment. You can also improve open enrollment communication by suggesting them the methods through auto-filled technologies, and a single landing page for enrollment procedures.
Start To Acknowledge Identify Your Employee’s Needs
To understand your employee’s needs, we would suggest you to start with checking previous years’ open enrollment sessions to make sure they are getting the same percentage of perks. You can also check whether they provide any feedback or queries. If not, start conducting a session where your employees can take an initiative to make change or they want to give any feedback before open enrollment.
Being an employer it is important to revolutionize and enhance the process for their employees. We know that every workforce is different and also determines to work best to understand and manage the process.
Use Your Available Resource Wisely
It’s not always easy for every company to consume every resource available in the market and may hamper their budget. But here, acumen HRs can understand the core requirement and they can fetch benefits from inside and outside of the organization.
In the Open Enrollment Communication, the insurance carriers and brokers play vital roles beside the HR department. For a small scale, these vendors and brokers could understand and acknowledge the process. In a nutshell, HR professionals can make good use of technologies to get the best resource within the market.
With the growth in business, it is important that companies switch to scalable and efficient processes for various operations, with open enrollment being one. Technology clearly has the potential to enhance employee engagement and it can help HR teams to lessen their burden of preparing lengthy employee benefits administration plans and communicating to the workforce. It is the perfect way to convey significant information and ensure participation from employees.
Employee benefit plans can also cover their family or spouse for critical conditions.Hence, you can also define the benefit plans to your employees’ members on weekend webinars.so that they can too understand the further benefits.
Connect with Accomplish to avail of smart employee benefits solutions and HR technology platforms that could make your life easier and assist you to implement your benefits plan efficiently. We hope you understand how open enrollment communication is getting better and better with the technologies. Apart from this, you can too understand how you can improve your workplace with the open enrollment communication for further employee benefits. Hence this process will help you to stay in the market with better reliability.