Fall is officially here, and you know what that means…football, leaf-peeping, pumpkin spice lattes, and, of course, open enrollment! As you know, this is a time of year that can be very stressful for communications and HR teams. Why does everyone wait until the last minute to change their benefits? Didn’t they get the emails? Didn’t they see the signs posted in the breakrooms, hallways, and elevators?! UGH!
While it may feel like a losing battle, today on ICTV we’ll discuss how preparing for Open Enrollment and shifting your communication strategy can make a big difference.
Know this: 78 percent of workers say employer-provided health insurance influences their choice to stay at their current job. But ONLY 19% of employees understand their benefits! With a gap like that #OpenEnrollment is a critical time of year for your organization. So what can you do?
1) Get the message in front of ALL employees! This means your office staff, frontline workers and remote teams too. Do you have a channel that reaches everyone – keep in mind, not every employee has a company email address…And do you have a plan to confirm the information was received? If you’re using word of mouth communications and signage, the effectiveness is hard to quantify.
2) Make benefit info easy to access and understand! Don’t assume everyone knows how to update or enroll. Create simple materials that show employees “what’s in it for me.” Hold a webinar or Q&A session, for your younger audience, create short videos to answer the questions that you know everyone will have. And most importantly, make sure that these trainings are available to ALL employees.
3) Communicate early and often. There will always be those employees who enroll right away…and then those who wait until the last hour of the last day. Start communicating about open enrollment one month in advance and schedule regular reminders, increasing your cadence as the deadline approaches.
It’s often said, “what gets measured, improves.” Calculate last year’s enrollment rate. Then set an ambitious goal for this year, and look for that improvement!
Finally, recognize that Open Enrollment is a team effort. This is an excellent opportunity for HR and Comms to work together and be creative for the common good of all your peers.
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