Communication is key to a successful open enrollment.
Each year, most employers will hold an event referred to as “open enrollment.” Open enrollment is a scheduled period of time prior to the start of the company’s new Employee Benefits Plan Year. During open enrollment, employees can make changes to their benefits elections without the requirement of a qualifying event (i.e.: marriage, divorce, birth of a child). Open enrollment can be an extremely positive and rewarding experience for a company and its employees and with the support and guidance of an employee benefits consultant, a successful one. Here are some ways to improve your employee experience during open enrollment.
Why is open enrollment important to both the employer and the employee?
Employers will evaluate their employee benefits package and will often make changes to their current benefits and add new benefit options. Educating and informing employees about their options is an important part of open enrollment.
To make the open enrollment process as smooth as possible, here are 5 ways employers can educate and communicate to their employees effectively.
- Schedule and communicate enrollment meetings well in advance to ensure that there is ample time for employees to adjust their schedule to attend as well as to have sufficient time to review their benefit options prior to enrollment.
- In addition to scheduling onsite employee benefit meetings, consider scheduling a webinar to accommodate those employees who are unable to attend the onsite meetings and/or for employees who work remotely or in satellite offices.
- Post a recording of the employee benefit meeting on your company Intranet.
- Provide electronic versions of the benefits materials by sending via email to employees or by posting to either the company Intranet or within a BenAdmin system (if applicable).
- Clearly communicate to employees the deadline for making benefit elections. Giving employees a deadline will increase the success of a smooth renewal process with carriers, thus ensuring that ID cards and member facing materials from carriers arrive prior to the start of the new plan year and that payroll deductions have been set up in a timely manner.
Technology is changing the open enrollment process, both how communication is handled as well as tools available to employees.
In a recent SHRM article, my colleague Shelley McLean, a senior client executive at OneDigital Charlotte, talks about how employers should think out of the box when it comes to their benefits communication stating,
“Employers need to send creative messaging to meet the employees where they are. Evolve their benefits communication plan to keep up with the times.”
Technology plays an increasingly important role in how employees access their information and make choices during open enrollment. A growing number of tools can now be accessed through mobile apps. For example, many employers offer the ability for employees to elect their benefits during open enrollment via an online Benefit Administration (BenAdmin) system.