Benefits are an important part of the employee compensation package, and open enrollment season creates the chance to create a positive employee experience. Before this year's open enrollment period, learn some new ways to strategically manage the process. It can help improve employee satisfaction and provide an important opportunity to educate workers about the value of the benefits you offer them. A well-managed process may also reduce stress on your HR team and help ensure that you meet vendors' deadlines. Let's take a look at some tips and strategies you can use to make this year's open enrollment period a success.
Provide as Much Lead Time as Possible
One common complaint among employees is that their company doesn't provide enough time to select benefits. The selection process often includes coordinating with spouses and running different calculations to determine which plans and options are best for a family. That's why it's important to provide as much lead time as possible between when you are first sharing information about the benefits and the deadline for enrollment. Consider sending regular reminders to employees during that interval to keep the upcoming deadline on the radar. By providing more time, companies can help ensure that staff has the time to review documents, explore their options, and ask any questions about available programs.
Multi-Channel Communications Support Open Enrollment
A multi-channel communications plan can be critical to a successful open enrollment. Employees like to access information in different ways. Work with vendors to find out if your company can leverage certain materials to improve employee communications. Consider mailing information to the employee's contact address, sending details by email, and making it available online on a microsite or your company's internal network. Sharing information in different formats can also help explain key details to employees who learn in different ways. For example, some vendors are now providing plan overview videos or benefits comparison charts that may make it easier for employees to digest a large amount of detailed information. Offer different options that empower your employees to learn in ways that they feel comfortable.
Keep in mind that businesses must also adhere to Affordable Care Act regulations that refer to the distribution of electronic summaries of benefits and coverage (SBCs), their availability, and when SBCs and related materials need to be provided.
Prioritize Info Sessions or HR Team Office Hours
While it's important to provide information to employees in a range of formats, it's helpful to also ensure that staff and vendor representatives are available to answer questions. Successful companies often approach this in three different ways. The first method is to bring in plan representatives to make presentations. The second is to have HR management present benefits overview sessions to educate the workforce and answer questions. Finally, you can allow employees to connect with a knowledgeable member of your HR team by email or phone during the open enrollment period in order to answer your staff's specific questions.
Open enrollment is a critical time for companies to support their employees and help communicate the value of their benefits plans. Offering a range of benefits information in different formats, providing HR staff to answer questions, and developing a timeline that allows plenty of time for planning may help your business conduct a successful open enrollment period this year.