For many U.S. employers, open enrollment (OE) season is right around the corner. According to experts from Benefitfocus, (NASDAQ: BNFT), a cloud-based benefits administration technology company committed to helping customers and the people they serve get the most out of their health care and benefit programs, preparation is key to ensuring a successful enrollment.
“Benefits are a critical piece to ensuring individuals have access to the care they need to get and stay healthy. However, for many people, open enrollment has become an annual ‘check the box’ exercise, with the average person spending less than 10 minutes on the process,” said Tim Sand, Executive Vice President of Customer Operations at Benefitfocus. “Benefits managers can take several steps prior to open enrollment that will not only ensure a return on their benefits investments, but also increase the likelihood their employees will make more informed decisions on how they choose and use their benefits.”
These steps include:
- Leveraging data and feedback – Tap into past data and feedback – both formal and informal – for insights on last year’s enrollment window. By understanding what went well and what didn’t, you can build on past successes and avoid potential pitfalls.
- Communicating early (and often) – Use a multi-channel approach to reach employees and let them know OE is approaching. A “Save the Date” email and/or postcard mailed to employees’ homes is a great way to kick it off, followed by a drip of reminder emails, employee internet ads and verbal departmental reminders.
- Being clear and concise – Employees are already overwhelmed with too many choices and too much information. Be explicit with what you need people to do, from watching an OE video to completing the benefits enrollment process. In addition, make it easy for them by breaking instructions down into digestible “how-to” steps that include relevant links and contact information if they need assistance.
- Boosting (and branding!) the fun factor – Explore creative ways to meet employees where they’re at with OE engagement opportunities they’ll enjoy, such as incorporating QR codes or elements of gamification into the campaign. Consider branding the benefits experience and leveraging a common theme that can be repurposed every year to make it familiar and actionable.
- Making it personal – Consumers, especially online, have come to expect a personalized experience – why should expectations of their employee benefits experience be any different? Make sure you have accurate contact information for your employees and ask them how they prefer to be contacted about benefits, whether it’s via mobile, email, etc., and craft your communications plan accordingly.
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