4 Tips for improving communication during open enrollment
By: Jennie Overton
Open enrollment season is upon us. For HR teams, open enrollment can be stressful, overwhelming and make for very long days (and nights). For employees, it’s a time that can make them feel confused and anxious. Open communication during the enrollment period can help streamline the process — enabling effective communication to increase participation in important benefits and resources.
Communication also plays a role in employees feeling valued and less burned out. Limeade Research shows that when employees feel they have received adequate information they are nearly 3x less likely to feel burned out and nearly twice as likely to feel engaged at work. This is especially important in today’s labor market. Benefits can be a valuable tool for employers to retain talent. In fact, four in ten say their benefits make them more likely to stay in their current job.
“The number one thing that we hear is when the benefits offerings are good, employees feel secure and cared for and are more likely to stay than they are to leave. [A third-party consulting firm we engaged] found that our employees feel that we are doing well in the well-being arena, and that is a reason to stay. It makes a big difference.”
Seniorbenefits analyst, conglomerate
A 2022 study found 60 percent of employees felt employer communications were ineffective. With so many employees working remotely in some capacity, it’s more important than ever to make sure your communication is effective, and you are reaching all your employees wherever their workplace might be.
4 tips to improve your communication during open enrollment:
Share important changes early. Speak plainly with your employees about upcoming changes to benefits. Your employees want to know their options and they want to know if there are significant changes coming to their existing plans. These changes not only affect your employees but often their families and finances as well, so they need time to understand the impact of the changes. Providing employees with all the information they need up front allows them to make the best decision for their benefit plan but also prevents you from receiving an influx of questions during the busy open enrollment season.
Make the information accessible. Open enrollment usually consists of technical language which employees can find confusing. Translate benefits terminology into easy-to-consume information and make it accessible. Consider hosting webinars or lunch-and-learns to review the process and show employees how to enroll in their benefits. Create materials with instructions on open enrollment and provide office hours for employees to come with questions. Get creative with short videos, interactive lessons, or infographics. These different formats can make the information more engaging and keep your employees interested.
Consider your communication tools. It’s important to meet your employees where they are whether it’s in the office, in a warehouse, at home, or on the road. Employees are already inundated with emails and communications that aren’t always relevant to them so it’s important to break through the noise and provide a personalized experience. With communication functionality built directly into the Limeade Well-Being solution, you can easily create and publish content and target communications to specific groups. You can even notify employees when it’s time to enroll in their benefits, promote your informational sessions and materials, and provide easy access to specific benefits, programs, or resources. By leveraging a mobile app, employees can access the information wherever they are, whenever they want. Effective communications that increase employee’s utilization of those resources meets your goal of streamlining the process and your employees need to receive relevant information, at the right time, in a way that’s easy for them.
Listen to feedback. Open enrollment should be a two-way conversation throughout the entire process. Your employees want to feel valued and cared for and therefore, want to be heard. Provide an opportunity for employees to voice their opinion on the open enrollment process and benefit options. Paying attention to what works and what doesn’t work will make for a better open enrollment season the following year. How do they feel about the changes? How do they feel about the process? What went well and what could be improved? You can gather feedback by using pulse surveys before, during and after open enrollment. Whether you send a survey, engage one-on-one or discuss during a meeting, really listen to what your employees have to say and show how you’re acting on the feedback.
Communication is a crucial piece of the employee experience – especially during open enrollment. Companies need to be able to reach all employees, keep them updated with vital information, listen to their feedback and make it easy for them to find and use essential company benefits and resources.
Limeade can help enable seamless communication about benefits to your employees. This ultimately reduces your stress, drives employee awareness and increases participation in your benefits and leaves your employees feeling cared for by you and your organization. Happy open enrollment!
Additional open enrollment resources
7 ways to stay sane during open enrollment In working with a variety of awesome clients (and as a growing company ourselves), we’ve picked up some tips for making this time of year less frantic and more productive.
Your open enrollment announcement can help beyond benefits. Get it right, and you can reach a huge percentage of your workforce with a message that calms their fears and reminds them why they want to work for your organization. It’s so much more than an obligation that comes with offering mandatory benefits. It’s an opening to encourage employee retention alongside benefit participation.