Open enrollment communication best practices

By Higginbotham on October 12 , 2017

Communicating employee benefits

Your company offers great benefits, but do your employees know this? If employees are unaware of all the benefits available, or if they lack the resources needed to select the plans that best suit them, the company’s efforts will go unnoticed and unappreciated. Help your employees and boost workplace satisfaction by optimizing your open enrollment communication strategies.

Appeal to Different Learning Styles.

The best way to absorb new information varies from individual to individual – and when it comes to understanding complex benefits packages, there’s a lot of information to take in.

Help everyone by providing information in multiple formats:

  • Use visual materials, including charts and infographics. Many people absorb information best when it’s presented in a visual format.
  • Host discussions and meetings. Encourage employees to ask questions.
  • Supply written materials. People will want to read through long documents on their own.
  • Provide videos and webinars. These materials can help increase engagement.

Go High and Low Tech.

Also, try to include both high-tech and low-tech options. Some people like to handle important matters in person, but others appreciate the convenience of doing everything online. If possible, give your employees the choice.

For your tech savvy employees, provide electronic documents and online tools. Reminders can be sent via email and text message. For your more traditional employees, provide paper copies for important documents. Reminders can be given using posters and memos.

Create and Follow a Communication Timeline.

Open enrollment should not take anyone by surprise. A clear timeline is essential for both HR and employees.  Employees should be informed of what’s coming before open enrollment even starts. Information should be provided as early as possible so no one feels rushed.

Once open enrollment begins, employees should receive reminders. Events and meetings should also be held to provide important information. No one wants to miss out on receiving benefits because information was submitted too late. Deadlines should be made 100 percent clear.   

Teach Employees to Be Smart Health Care Consumers.

Many people don’t know how to assess, manage or use their benefits. For example, they don’t know that if you’re having a knee surgery, you can shop for a doctor and request prices up front, just as you would shop for a contractor to paint your house.

Give them pointers to help them choose the best health plan for their situation. Encourage them to make a list of their expected/planned treatment needs for the coming year and to compare how each health plan option would cover those needs. Remind them to check provider networks for their doctors. Consider hosting a brown bag lunch series to teach them how to be smart benefit consumers.

Remember Why Benefits Matter.

Benefits are important because they affect people’s lives. When discussing benefits, take the human element into account. Communications should help employees understand how benefits will help them personally. Avoid jargon and provide clear explanations of technical terms so employees better understand their coverage options.

Need help? Learn more about Higginbotham’s employee benefit communications services and contact our team.


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