In the middle of Open Enrollment (OE) or just getting ready to start? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
From chasing employees to complete their enrollment to fielding complex questions about the minutiae of your benefits plan, it is not surprising that OE is often considered the most challenging time of year.
Here’s the good news: It is possible to make it through benefits enrollment unscathed. Check out these three tips for a successful open enrollment.
1. Monitor the right enrollment metrics in real time
Gathering data from open enrollment involves much more than knowing how many employees participate in your benefits program or what percentage of the workforce that figure represents. By also examining metrics such as how long it takes employees to complete the enrollment process, the plans they choose and what kinds of questions you receive, you can develop a more comprehensive picture of how open enrollment is unfolding.
2. Pick a channel for communication (and stick with it)
Questions are inevitable. Beyond in-person sessions, where your team or a third-party representative walks employees through their coverage, providing a clear process for employees to find the answers they’re looking can help reduce stress for HR and your employees. When it comes to open enrollment, you can’t really over-communicate, but you can create confusion if there are different conversations happening across too many channels. Centralizing assistance to a single email address, HR staff member or employee portal can help employees know exactly where to go and what to do when they have questions.
3. Stay energized even when employees aren’t
It’s time to face a difficult truth: According to a survey from Harris Poll and Jellyvision, 1 in 5 employees admit they ignore open enrollment correspondence. It doesn’t matter if it’s because they forget, don’t have time or simply don’t care. If they do not engage in Open Enrollment, they could lose existing coverage, pay for coverage they don’t need or miss out on benefits that could be really useful to them.
Don’t lose hope, but it may be a good idea to abandon approaches that haven’t worked before. Apart from emailing and alerting managers, you could consider providing employees who are putting off their enrollment with benefits information they can take home to review when it is most convenient for them. [NOTE: The same poll found that two-thirds of employees respond to this method.]
HCM technology during open enrollment
Open Enrollment also showcases how important it is to manage benefits administration through online portals, especially, as the Society for Human Resource Management pointed out, if your organization is adding new coverage options or making any other significant changes. An HCM platform that includes self-service and a communications portal facilitates the distribution of information about you benefits program, allowing your employees to make the most informed decision possible. Moving Open Enrollment online streamlines the entire process, saving HR and your employees valuable time. And it allows you to capture data to provide insight into enrollment trends and patterns.