Wait a minute, open enrollment is more than the 2 weeks per year where we are sent approximately 15,000 reminder emails and reprimanded if we don’t log in and take action? Unpopular response, YES!
Imagine if we showed the same importance to benefit offerings all year long as we do during those 2 weeks of open enrollment. What would happen if employees were educated that open enrollment is all year long?
Employees would be more informed. They would know more about what benefits are offered and what is available to them when they enroll and utilize them.
Employees would utilize the benefits in a way that is helpful and possibly even preventative.
Employees might talk to each other about the benefit offerings, and then they would ask more questions throughout the year.
It would allow you, as the benefits administrator, to have more time to gather information and share it with the team over the course of the year.
Creating a sense of importance around benefits doesn’t happen in 2 weeks. It happens over time. Here are some ways you can engage your team as it relates to benefits.
Schedule a monthly email about a benefit offering. Add a personal story about how you have used that benefit offering. Attach a document with information regarding the benefit offering you are showcasing. PRO TIP: Save these emails. Employees will ask questions about benefit offerings throughout the year, what a time saver if you have these emails saved in a place that is easily accessible.
Host lunch and learns about benefits throughout the year. Have people bring their lunch, have a “get to know you” activity on the ready so it’s more than just benefits. Cover a topic during the lunch and learn about a benefit offering – or just host a Q&A session. People don’t know a lot about benefits, give them the opportunity to write down questions they might have and drop them in a box for you to answer later. Giving employees multiple avenues of communication helps make sure you can provide value. PRO TIP: Collect all the questions asked during the lunch and learn and create an email about them. If one person is asking the question, likely other people have the question as well.
Invite your broker to come talk about the benefits being offered. You don’t have to know everything. Find a broker that can work alongside you in the benefit offerings. If you don’t have a broker that will act as a partner, find a new one. They are supposed to “be in the know” – so give them the stage. Create an event that employees want to attend and invite the broker to be the host. PRO TIP: This event can be virtual as well. It’s okay if you can’t host it in person. Virtual is just as impactful.
Survey the team about what is most important to them, wayyyy before open enrollment. Learn about what employees want as it relates to benefits. Then, when it comes time to review and renew your benefit offerings, you can make decisions around the needs/wants of the employees. This also allows conversations around benefits to be more fluid, given the fact that you have the information directly from the employees.
Company benefits deserve attention all year round, not just during open enrollment. Make it a priority and see if it makes a difference in your open enrollment participation and in your company culture.