10/25/21- SHRM- TLB

6 Steps to an Exceptionally Successful Open Enrollment

Press Release from Questis

Open enrollment doesn’t have to be a stressful time of year for businesses. An exceptionally successful open enrollment season starts at the employer and includes a clear flow of communication, ongoing support, and a comprehensive understanding of benefits costs. Below are six steps to ensuring you have a successful open enrollment this year.

1. Simplify Benefits Information
More than half of employees wish they had more clear information about their benefits. When employer benefits communications are easy to understand, employees are 99% more likely to feel appreciated and 41% more likely to be productive. Try communicating benefits clearly and explaining any industry lingo that could potentially be unclear or confusing to employees.

2. Provide A Clear Employer Cost and Employee Contribution Analysis
Whether you offer an Emergency Savings or 401(k) match, employees have the potential to gain a lot financially, both directly and indirectly. By making this connection clear, they will be more motivated to leverage the benefits you’ve worked hard to provide. Lay it all out there so they understand the full cost of the package and how much they will contribute.

3. Expand Benefits Communication Beyond Open Enrollment
It’s no mystery as to why employees feel overwhelmed during open enrollment when their employer hands out a text-heavy benefits document, cramming a full year of communication into a single week. An open flow of communication throughout the year can help with employee engagement and experience. You might even consider sprinkling in non-traditional benefits off-cycle to increase adoption and awareness. This will take some of the pressure off of your already busy season and make your employees feel supported all year round.

4. Provide Personalized, Unbiased Support
Guidance from your company’s broker can be extremely helpful for employees during benefits selection and support from a financial coach who understands their holistic situation gives employees the confidence to make the right decision. Consider offering a holistic financial wellness solution with dedicated financial coaches to guide your employees through these complicated decisions. It could be a huge benefit for the HR function of your organization by alleviating the number of financial questions.

5. Take an Employee-First Approach
When employees have the opportunity to grasp the full picture of your benefits offering, they can identify how those benefits work together to meet their unique situation. Grouping like benefits by their functional role helps individuals obtain that holistic view. Metlife’s 2021 Employee Benefit Trends Study(page 32) provides a great example of how to organize benefits into the appropriate categories. Taking this employee-first approach will empower employees with more choices and a more holistic wellness solution.

6. Survey Your Employees
Surveying your employees can help you adjust your company benefits to better attract and retain talent. Many companies are beginning to run yearly (or more!) surveys to get a better understanding of their employees’ needs and experience. Soliciting this feedback helps employees to feel heard and helps to improve your benefits package year over year. A win-win for everyone.

To sum it up, a successful open enrollment should look something like this…

For Employees: Employees should have a clear understanding of how benefits work, how they complement each other, and how they apply to their own personal situation and life goals. They should feel confident in making their benefits decisions and have support when questions arise. As a result, employees will be more productive and loyal to their employer and have a better experience overall.

For HR: Human Resources has an easy, step-by-step plan for communicating and rolling out their company benefits package. They have support in answering questions, soliciting feedback, and improving their processes for upcoming years. Following these six steps will help this open enrollment season to be the most stress-free yet. Plus, a happier and healthier workforce means less attrition, more productivity, and lower healthcare costs. The ultimate result? HR becomes the open enrollment hero.