Open enrollment can feel like the Super Bowl of employee benefits. During these months, employers highlight their investment in their people, their culture and their overall organization. Employees view this time of year with similar interests.
They are excited and sometimes anxious to see the changes for the upcoming year and are curious to understand what it all means to them and their families. Here are a few ways benefits educators can create a solid game plan and drive excitement and appreciation within the workforce.
Know Your Audience
The workforce is changing rapidly in both generational segmentation as well as more virtual/multi-location alignment. Reaching a diverse population means understanding what they value and how they receive information.
A strong millennial population reacts more favorably to multimedia and guided communications. Think: the Amazon or Netflix experience for employee benefits. Recommended for you, based on your preferences, case studies highlighting a similarly situated member of their generation; all great ways to reach this audience.
GenX and Baby Boomers that have been part of the workforce and benefits purchasing space for longer may react more favorably to traditional methods of communication such as Benefit Guides and formal presentations. For remote employees, offering virtual meetings and flexible schedules ensures they do not feel left out of the process.
Deliver open enrollment communications in bite-size pieces over a period of time. Building the hype around your commercial/halftime performance is key. By providing employees with advance notification of not only the process to participate in open enrollment, but some of the areas to be highlighted creates engagement and excitement. Also, remember that the opportunity to educate and engage does not end at the policy anniversary. Creating a campaign that reaches employees with valuable and relevant educational updates throughout the year empowers consumers to engage in the program.
Who Are Your Influencers?
Advertisers have used celebrities to carry their message to market and drive success. Similarly, as educators, we should seek out our own influencers within our employee population. Having employee advocates and influencers within the workforce provides peer-level support and credibility to your programs. Ideas, such as using testimonials about the programs, peer-led conversations about specific offerings, or even a committee to serve as a liaison to decision-makers, can drive appreciation and success within an employee benefit suite.
Lose the Lingo
Often we lose our audience by assuming everyone speaks insurance. The use of jargon, acronyms, and lack of definition of key terms can alienate members. Remember that most employees think about insurance once a year. Our job as educators is to ensure they understand what they are purchasing and that they receive the best possible coverage for their needs. This means providing situational explanations, clear definitions of what key terms mean, and how to determine what they truly need. People place more value in decisions made with thorough understanding and comprehension than not.
Use Your Resources
Engaging employees in the open enrollment process should not be labor-intensive for you or them. Employees should be given a clear path to tools and solutions to enable them to make their decisions. Using technology? Ensure it is easy to find from a single landing page and available in multimedia forms… even our grandparents are using smartphones now! Your carrier partners have created huge repositories of information that are available to you as a customer. Don’t recreate the wheel when it has already been built. Don’t be afraid to call in the expert. Utilizing the knowledge and expertise from your benefits consultant and other partners ensures that employees feel educated and empowered to make their plan decisions.