August 25, 2020

The Importance of & Keys to Effective Open Enrollment Communication

Communication is so important in today’s increasingly remote work environment because it’s easy for information to get lost or misinterpreted in the digital landscape. Employees often don’t fully understand their benefits options and, as a result, they tend to keep the benefits they had the year before, even though those benefits might not be the best for their changing life circumstances. This can have a negative impact on your organization’s bottom line and plan’s efficiency, as well as employees’ physical and financial health and job satisfaction.

Fortunately, this can be addressed with thoughtful, well-planned communication.

1. Determine what content to communicate.

You likely won’t have time to go over every detail of every benefit, so what are the key things that employees need and want to know? Topics that must be covered include:

  • Changes to the benefit plan from last year
  • Benefits options (what they are, how to compare them, how to select)
  • Available tools (e.g., online decision-making tool, cost estimators)
  • Benefits terminology
  • Key dates (e.g., deadline to enroll, benefits effective date)
  • How to utilize the online enrollment portal
  • Sources of support (e.g., teams messaging app to create a “virtual office”)
  • Information sources (e.g., virtual enrollment meetings, webinar, online portal)

2. Choose your channels wisely.

The most successful communication strategies leverage the strength of multiple channels. As you think about each channel in your mix, ask yourself . . . What is the end goal of this channel? What should it accomplish? How should it be accomplished? When you’re intentional about how you’re using media, you’ll drive better results.

It’s also likely you have an incredibly diverse workforce, with up to five generations working side by side. When you’re determining which communication channels to use, be sure you consider your demographics’ preferences and use multiple channels to reach all segments of your population. To determine which channels are best, work with your team to establish norms for what kind of information should be posted/shared and where.

Check out these digital open enrollment communication methods to help you implement a multi-channel plan will effectively reach all of your employees.

3. Select the right technology.

Since we know technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s important to remember that purchasing technology with the assumption that it will solve all of your problems is usually the wrong mindset. In order to select the right tools, start by identifying what you want that technology to do and what problems it should solve. Next, consider a combination of tech tools that can solve for different issues, such as educating employees, enrolling in benefits, sharing information, managing projects, messaging employees and more.

Getting employees informed, engaged and enrolled in their benefits can seem like an insurmountable challenge. If you want to put your health plan and employees on the path to success, your team will need to be more thoughtful, organized and deliberate in your open enrollment communications.

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