In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how HR professionals can better plan for the open enrollment period. With most companies right smack in the middle of Open Enrollment, let’s take a look at how to improve employee engagement during this time.

High engagement is critical to increasing employees’ use of the benefits plans and packages your company offers. Unfortunately, it seems many organizations are struggling to get their talent to pay attention.

A survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans found that 80 percent of companies find that their employees do not open or read open enrollment materials. Yikes! Luckily, there are ways to fix this.

Here are some tips for improving employee engagement during open enrollment:
Communicate open enrollment information to meet multiple learning styles

Everyone learns differently, and the way you communicate benefits information before and during open enrollment should reflect that, as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) advises. Present information in ways that will appeal to auditory learners (videos, podcasts, meetings), visual learners (videos, graphics-heavy images) and hands-on learners (interactive online tools, worksheets). Using different channels, tools and platforms to communicate details about benefits will ensure they resonate with a larger group of people and make the materials more engaging.

Make open enrollment and learning as easy as possible

When things are easy, people are more inclined to do them, whether that’s cleaning the house, planning a vacation or enrolling in health insurance. A comprehensive online HR platform or intranet can facilitate a streamlined enrollment process. Here you can store all forms, brochures, videos and other materials that employees need to learn about available benefits, make an informed decision and conveniently enroll themselves and their families.

“A comprehensive online HR platform can facilitate a streamlined enrollment process.”

Have some fun

Combing through details about a retirement plan may not be the most exciting activity in the world, so sprinkle some fun into the open enrollment period to help get employees interested and motivated. Free food at benefits workshops, meetings held outside and gifts like table games, coffee mugs and calendars can help boost engagement. You can even offer prizes as incentives for employees to fill out forms and attend informational workshops.

Be transparent

One of the best things you can do to improve employee interaction during open enrollment is be transparent. As SHRM notes, employees will be able to see through any “sugarcoating” of bad news, so if deductibles have gone up, be straight about it. Highlight the specific benefits of the plans and perks available in real, tangible terms. Tell employees clearly and concisely how much they can save by switching to a particular plan, how much of a discount they can get on their commutes and the retirement funds they can accrue through their 401(k). In all benefits communications, keep things clear, concise and to the point, which helps employees know you value their time while relaying the advantages available to them.

A successful open enrollment period requires employees to be engaged – with these tips, you can boost interaction and reach your coverage goals.