The open enrollment process is designed to make things easier for HR departments. However, when not managed properly it can lead to utter chaos. Whether you just introduced an open enrollment process for employee benefits or want to improve your current enrollment process, here are some basic steps to make it easier for you and your employees.
Have a Plan
Have everything thought out and ready to go. This includes:
- Ensuring all relevant materials such as instructions, benefits pamphlets, etc. are readily available and up to date
- Creating a marketing plan that communicates the how’s, when’s, whys and where’s of the enrollment process to employees
- A distribution date for your support materials
- A designated team or representative to answer questions about the process
- Determining if you need to schedule department meetings, prepare a webinar or even hold a benefit fair to introduce the benefits process
- Working with your benefit partners to ensure both sides have everything they need for open enrollment
These steps will provide your team, the benefits provider(s), and staff with the information they need to succeed.
Introduce New Benefits
Introduce new additions or changes well in advance. This might include:
- A new wellness program
- The necessity for all employees to be enrolled in a certain benefit such as long-term leave coverage
- The option to auto-renew an existing benefit program
- The discontinuation of unpopular benefits
Pointing out new options and changes allows people to make informed decisions while avoiding time consuming corrections.
Set Goals and Measure
Your HR team should set goals and determine how they can measure success. By tracking the process each year, you can look for issues and make improvements. Some examples of goals include:
- A percentage by which you wish to increase enrollment in the health plan
- A percentage of employees you wish to participate in a retirement plan
- An increase in participating in wellness programs to reduce health care costs
However, you might also want to make improvements in the amount of money budgeted to benefit enrollment. This could include reducing the cost of printed materials by providing more information online. You should also look for ways to reduce calls and emails to your HR team by providing clearer instructions or by using user-friendly software.
When you set goals and measure your progress, you can look for opportunities to improve communication. Some areas to help reduce demand on your team might include:
- Mandatory training videos on the benefit enrollment process
- Pre-meetings or seminars for staff to receive instruction
- FAQs available on enrollment screens to avoid errors
- Surveys to look for employee suggestions for improvements in the process
Every improvement you make in communication decreases the risk for high demand on your team once enrollment opens. Your communication should answer the following questions:
- Why one needs coverage?
- Which features suit each person’s needs?
- What value does the program provide?
Answering these questions ahead of time improves the efficiency of the open enrollment process.
Train HR Staff
All your efforts are for not if your staff doesn’t understand available coverage or how the system works. Anyone involved in the open enrollment process in your department must have a working knowledge of your system and all benefits available. This makes it easier when they interact and provide guidance to employees.
Using the latest open benefit enrollment technology is a must. It makes enrollment easier, while also improving benefit administration. Online enrollment allows employees to enroll when it is convenient (within any set deadlines of course) so they are more likely to participate. It also reduces demand on your team.
Meet Employee Needs
A valuable benefits package differentiates your company from the competition. This is the best way to attract top-level talent in hand with a competitive salary. Your employee surveys will collect important feedback to use during the decision-making process. You also need to ensure any complexities related to your organization are addressed such as Workers Compensation.
Your goal is to leverage experience to come up with the most attractive benefits package for your team. For example, a younger team might put emphasis on something like wellness programs or pet insurance, while those who already have kids will be more interested in dental and visual health care packages. What makes sense to your team makes sense to your organization.
Embrace Changing Benefit Trends
A last step to consider is welcoming the acceptance of new trends. In hand with health care reform challenges, some examples of modern benefits might include:
- Volunteering initiatives
- Mentorship programs
- Tuition reimbursement
- Charitable donation opportunities
Modern benefit trends such as these continue to attract a higher quality workforce.
These steps will improve your open enrollment process for employee benefits.
About The Author
Ingrid is the Content Marketing Manager at Paypro, managing both inbound and outbound marketing initiatives for the company. She has 15+ years’ of extensive marketing communications experience, leveraging brand awareness and strategic partnerships to increase sales revenue for a diverse group of B2B brands.