|November 2023 Volume 21, Number 11
Seven Open Enrollment Tips for Communi-cating Benefits
This year’s open enrollment period presents some unique challenges for employers looking to effectively communicate benefits options to employees. With rising healthcare costs, high inflation, a hybrid workforce split between office and remote settings, and workers facing mounting financial pressures, it is more important than ever for organizations to get open enrolment right.
1. Talk and Listen to Employees
Human resources leaders emphasize the importance of understanding employees’ needs and concerns prior to and during open enrollment. Conducting listening sessions and surveys can provide insights into the types of benefits employees hope to see offered or expanded. This allows employers to tailor communications and focus areas accordingly.
2. Embrace Technology While Maintaining a Personal Touch
Digital communication reigns supreme in reaching today’s dispersed workforce. Virtual benefits fairs, online enrollment platforms, video calls, and messaging apps like Slack allow employees to access information easily on their own time.
3. Highlight the Value of Voluntary Benefits
The popularity of voluntary benefits like hospital indemnity, critical illness, and accident insurance continues to grow. With household budgets squeezed by inflation, these supplementary policies provide financial protections against unexpected healthcare costs.
4. Discuss Rising Healthcare Costs
Being transparent about increasing medical premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses builds trust and understanding. Employees deserve to know if they will pay more or take on additional cost-sharing responsibilities.
5. Explain How Savings Accounts Work
Many employees do not fully grasp how flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) function. Enrollment season provides the perfect opportunity to explain how these accounts can be used tax-free for copays, prescriptions, dental, vision, and more.
6. Promote All Benefit Offerings, Not Just Enrollment Items
While open enrollment revolves around selecting medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, and tax-advantaged accounts, it’s also an excellent time to spotlight other benefits. For example, use this time to direct employees to mental health resources, wellness programs, employee assistance plans, and more.
7. Set Goals and Benchmarks for Measuring Success
HR experts emphasize defining what makes for a successful open enrollment at the outset. Is enrollment mandatory or optional? What percentage of employees must participate to meet objectives? Establish metrics early to gauge progress regularly.