Fun, Engaging Ways to Boost Employee Participation in Voluntary Benefits During Open Enrollment

Press Release from SwellSpace

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been searching for ways to increase employee participation in voluntary benefits during open enrollment. You’ve been doing a lot of googling and seeing the same recommendations in every article: communicate early, use multiple channels, engage leadership support…

But you already know all of that, don’t you? You’re a smart, experienced HR pro, and this isn’t your first OE. So, how can you go beyond the boilerplate suggestions and do something that will actually engage your employees, something they’ll (gasp) enjoy?

We got you. In this blog post, we'll explore 5 fun, engaging strategies HR professionals can employ to significantly enhance participation in voluntary benefits during open enrollment. 

1. Gamify the Process

Play has a ton of great benefits for our physical and mental health, including helping us feel more supported, be more physically active, and have more life satisfaction. Sounds a lot like the outcome we want from voluntary benefits, right? So let’s inject some play into our benefits communication strategy to help employees feel less stressed and make better decisions for their health and wellbeing.

  • Benefits Bingo: Create a Benefits Bingo card with various benefit options. Employees can check off each option as they learn about it. Offer small rewards or incentives for completing the bingo card, such as gift cards or extra vacation days.
  • Leaderboards: Implement a leaderboard system where employees earn points for completing different open enrollment tasks, like watching informational videos or attending webinars. Recognize and reward top performers.

2. Benefit Lunch and Learns

The best audience is a captive audience, and few things grab employees’ attention like free food. If you decide to implement this strategy, make sure to focus on the second point below: make it interactive. It’s easy to zone out when we’re being talked at. Better yet, double up on strategies and play benefits bingo during your lunch and learn. You can give positive outcomes from specific voluntary benefits and your employees have to match that outcome with the correct benefit on their card. Winners get dessert! 

  • Food for Thought: Partner with local restaurants or caterers to provide lunch during benefit information sessions. Employees can enjoy a meal while learning about their options.
  • Interactive Discussions: Create an interactive atmosphere where employees can ask questions, discuss benefit choices, and even engage in friendly debates about which options are best for different life stages.

3. Creative Communication

At SwellSpace, we love to geek out on benefits. (Don’t get us started on pet insurance!) But we know not everyone nerds out on OE like we do, so below are a few ways you can turn benefits communication from a chore into a fun experience that hits every learning style.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Organize a virtual scavenger hunt related to benefits information. Employees must explore different resources, websites, or documents to find answers and earn rewards.
  • Visual Storytelling: Replace traditional benefits booklets with visually engaging websites like SwellSpace, illustrated narratives, or infographics that convey important information in a fun and accessible way.
  • Benefits Escape Room: Turn a room in the office into a fun learning experience by creating a time-based puzzle all centered around voluntary benefits.

4. Peer Nudges and Challenges

When we think of “peer pressure” our mind usually goes to the negative effects that can cause people to try to fit in and can lead to low self-confidence and self-esteem. But there’s also positive peer pressure.

Positive peer pressure can inspire us and create community and foster a positive work culture. The ideas below harness that positive influence to create beneficial outcomes for your employees.

  • Benefit Challenges: Encourage employees to challenge their colleagues to explore and enroll in voluntary benefits. The competitive spirit can motivate participation.
  • Peer-to-Peer Reminders: Implement a buddy system where employees remind each other about open enrollment deadlines and the importance of exploring voluntary benefits.
  • Employee Testimonials: Encourage employees who have benefited from voluntary benefits to share their stories. These firsthand accounts can be powerful motivators for others to explore these options.

5. Immersive Workshops

The best way to understand the true impact of benefits is to imagine the situations in which you need them the most. These next two strategies help employees place themselves in those exact situations and are extremely effective, but they also come with some risk. 

You’ll want to be aware of employees’ potential emotional reactions to sensitive subjects and experiences. Consider using these for voluntary benefit options that empower employees, like tuition reimbursement.

  • Role-Playing Workshops: Organize role-playing sessions where employees can step into hypothetical scenarios to better understand how different benefits work in real-life situations.
  • Scenario-Based Decision Games: Create scenario-based decision-making games that require employees to make benefit choices and see the consequences of their decisions.

Boosting participation in voluntary benefits during open enrollment requires innovative thinking and a willingness to try unconventional approaches. By gamifying the process, leveraging peer influence and storytelling, hosting benefit lunch and learns, using creative communication methods, implementing peer challenges, and offering immersive workshops, HR professionals can make open enrollment an exciting and engaging event that employees eagerly anticipate. Ultimately, these creative strategies not only increase participation but also enhance employee satisfaction and the overall value of the benefits package.

Companies Mentioned in this Press Release:
Business Categories Mentioned in this Press Release: