How to Engage Your Employees in Open Enrollment

Debra Auerbach

A competitive benefits package can entice new talent to an organization or keep top talent from leaving. Yet, with open enrollment season in full swing, employers may be missing a prime opportunity to engage with their employees about benefits – and in turn, employees may miss reaping the benefits their company offers.

According to new CareerBuilder research, almost 1 in 10 employees have missed open enrollment for benefits at a company. The industries with the most employees who have missed enrollment are leisure and hospitality (17 percent), sales (14 percent) and retail (10 percent).

When asked what, if anything, resulted from missing open enrollment, 38 percent said loss of coverage, while 14 percent said loss of money. 

What Does This Mean For You?

Don’t keep your employees in the dark when it comes to the benefits you provide. Here are some ways you can engage employees during open enrollment season:

Communicate, communicate, communicate: Twelve percent of employees surveyed said they were not aware of all of the benefits their company has to offer, while 23 percent said they don’t fully understand all of the benefits provided by their organization. It’s crucial that you build an effective, multi-phased communications plan that begins well in advance of open enrollment and continues throughout the season to make sure it doesn’t drop of anyone’s radar. For instance, you may want to send an email to kick off enrollment, then schedule a webinar, and then hold an in-person “open house” where any final questions can be answered before the deadline. 

Consider all audiences: According to the survey, 26 percent of employees who said they missed open enrollment were between the ages of 18 to 34. When communicating about open enrollment, consider the methods different generations of employees may be most comfortable with – and use a variety of approaches. For instance, perhaps you give employees the chance to opt in to receive text message reminders, and you also conduct desk drops with a printed hand out of the enrollment information.

Make the information digestible: Just the thought of open enrollment is overwhelming to many employees, so don’t overcomplicate it with too many confusing details. Share only the information employees need to make informed decisions, and do so as simply as possible, via checklists and charts that provide key benefits details and specific action items.

Use tools that help you help your employees: Benefit enrollment is complex, and so in order to alleviate some of those complexities, consider investing in software that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. That way, your time is freed up to help navigate employees through the process and ensure they’re not only enrolling – but doing so with a full understanding of the benefits available to them.   

 Learn more about how technology can empower your human capital management strategy

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