Open enrollment is an important time for your health benefits plan, but employees are rarely excited about it. For them, open enrollment means a long meeting to discuss complex materials, much of which doesn’t apply to them. Many would rather continue working through the afternoon instead of pausing for an open enrollment meeting.
But these meetings are valuable. For workers who frequently rely on one of your health plans, open enrollment is an opportunity to ensure they have the best protection for themselves and their families. For workers who don’t use one of your health plans often, this is a chance to better understand what is available to them—if they pay attention.
To ensure all employees receive the information they need, take a thoughtful, personal approach to open enrollment. By reaching your workforce in a way they want to be reached, you and your advisors can provide high-value insights that resonate with employees.
Mastering Open Enrollment
A successful open enrollment requires a personal touch that makes your employees feel valued before, during, and after enrollment meetings. Here are a few strategies you and your advisors can implement:
1. Meet how employees are most comfortable. This step is especially important as we try to accommodate employees’ preferred communication channels. We’ve seen many businesses turn to Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams to provide face-to-face interactions when employees are outside of the office. In fact, I recently held an entire open enrollment session through a Zoom call.
2. Keep groups small. Regardless of whether you meet remotely or in-person, keep your groups small. In the same meeting I mentioned above, we kept each call to 15 employees or fewer. One of the biggest benefits here is that people are more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups than they are in large ones. Questions are critical because they create opportunities to dive deep into plan details, and they help advisors deliver greater value to each individual employee.
3. Create opportunities for engagement. We know better than anyone else that employees don’t enjoy open enrollment. Work with your advisor to find ways to keep the content engaging. On our side, we provide PDFs (for online meetings), printouts (for in-person meetings), and share anecdotes from past experiences. You know your workforce better than anyone else. If you think there’s a better method to engage your workers so that they are receptive to the information, share your ideas so that your advisor can modify their presentation for your employees. When employees are engaged and understand the plan details, they unlock better health outcomes because they know how to use the plan properly.
Value for Employees
Although most employees dread open enrollment, it shouldn’t be a tedious, confusing experience. By following a thoughtful strategy that adds personal touches, open enrollment can be a positive event that helps to deliver better health outcomes to employees.