Due to a variety of factors — including compliance requirements, shifting communication preferences, and complex plan designs and strategies — the annual open enrollment period can place challenges on both employers and employees.
However, with careful planning and the adoption of the right technology solutions, companies can avoid many potential obstacles that may arise during this time. Here are five strategies that may help improve the open enrollment process for your organization:
- Establish a multi-channel communication campaign: It’s critical to develop a solid communication plan ahead of time. This will enable the HR department to analyze which methods of communication may be most effective, and it will also allow them to develop and schedule communications well in advance. Also, as employers look for ways to capture the attention of their employees, taking a multi-channel approach may be the best route. This type of campaign may include onsite meetings and benefit fairs, online tools, emails, printed materials, mobile communications, one-on-one sessions, and more.
- Offer new benefits: While many employees are often content to simply enroll in the same benefit plans year-after-year, they may be more apt to make changes when new options are introduced. For many organizations, this may mean offering new voluntary benefits. Even if employees need to pay 100 percent for voluntary products, they can still be attractive offerings if the benefit plans help employees save money or enable them to achieve their work-life balance goals.
- Keep it simple: While each company’s communication style may vary (based on culture, employee demographics, open enrollment themes, etc.), it’s important to make plan information as simple as possible. Of course, employers should also look for ways to deliver communications that are dynamic and interactive. In the end, it’s critical that employees feel comfortable, educated, and equipped to make knowledgeable decisions regarding their benefit plan choices.
- Put information in a centralized location: While there is certainly value in highlighting the online resources that are provided by each individual carrier, employers should also maintain as much plan information as possible in one, centralized location. This can often be done via an online, employee benefits portal. There, employers can post benefit summary documents, rates, forms, carrier contact information, and more. Not only does this approach make things easier for employees, but it also makes the company appear more in control of the information.
- Customize benefits and information resources to the life stages of your employees: By customizing your benefits and communications to your population, you can increase employee satisfaction without increasing your spending. Employees may have an easier time selecting the benefits that are best suited for them and their families. To support this need, employers may create bundled benefit communication packages that are tailored towards different age groups and other key demographics.
Additional Open Enrollment Support
I hope that you find these suggestions helpful. At CBG Benefits, our team is equipped to help you identify the right benefit plan designs, communication strategies, and technology tools that will enable you to achieve your goals during your next open enrollment period. Please contact us at 781-759-1222 or send an email to info@CBGBenefits.com to learn more today.