Open enrollment can feel like a daunting task for employers—involving thorough planning and effective communication strategies to make sure employees are up to speed on what benefits will be offered to them each year.
From my experience, most employees don't understand what benefits they have and how they work until they suffer from an illness or injury. Once an employee experiences an illness or injury they often have more out of pocket medical expenses than expected. This can lead to employees feeling they should have better benefits offerings for the amount of money taken from their paychecks each payday.
Any investment made to improve your employee's benefits understanding is a wise investment. By designing an open enrollment strategy and process that can be evaluated and improved upon, you can transform a time of year that typically causes frustration and involves long hours of work, into an opportunity to educate and connect with your employees providing useful information about their benefits.
When you can communicate the benefits and the value of the benefits package you offer employees in a way that is transparent, clear and straightforward, the return on investment is invaluable.
If you are a business owner or member of the human resource team, having an open enrollment process will significantly contribute to retaining and attracting talent.
So how do you get there? Let's look at 3 trends that are helping employers during open enrollment.
Make it Personal
Engaging Your Employees in Health Costs
Using technology typically in the form of cloud-based software used to be cutting edge but now has become the norm. According to one study, 9 out of 10 of employers are using a technology solution to make managing benefits more streamlined. Today’s workforce is becoming younger with the millennial generation taking over the Baby Boomers—who are steadily exiting the workforce. The desire for employees to be able to access benefits information easily and on demand will continue to grow, making benefits administration technology a must-have. Don't forget to consider if the technology tool you are using can evolve with your process and if not, consider an upgrade.
The old way of communicating benefits doesn't work anymore. An open enrollment driven by paper forms and miscommunication can create headaches and missing information. It is crucial that employees understand their benefits, making one-on-one counseling an effective approach that results in more engaged employees during enrollment season. Using technology to track employee engagement during open enrollment is key to measure how deep of an understanding your employees have in the benefits they are being offered.
There is never a better time than Open Enrollment to help employees understand how to get the most out of their health plan, get healthy and stay healthy. Find out what tools and educational materials you have access to from your insurance partners and make it easy to get in your employees hands year round. Have your employees pullout their smart phones during open enrollment meeting and download the apps from your insurance carriers and wellness partners. Maybe even team up with your marketing team to create an email and marketing campaign for year round education and engagement.
It is fair to say that not every one of these trends is a fit for every employer, but the need to have an effective open enrollment plan is a necessity for an employer who wants to be an employer of choice. Processes and strategies make sure that the money invested in any part of the employee benefits budget is invested wisely.
At OneDigital we enable employers to be strategic with their employee benefits offerings, working alongside business owners and HR professionals to help you be an employer of choice. Reach out to your OneDigital consultant to find clarity and peace of mind in your plan.