How to manage open enrollment during open enrollment

Are you an HR professional in the middle of your open enrollment? Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don't worry, you're not the only one.

Whether they're hunting down employees who haven't submitted their paperwork or fielding complex questions about the minutiae of their companies' benefits plans, many human resources departments consider open enrollment the most challenging time of year.

Here's the good news: It is possible to make it through open 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 the number of health-plan participants or what percentage of the workforce that figure represents. By also examining metrics such as how long employees take to submit their insurance paperwork after it first becomes available to them, the plans they choose and average completion time of digital forms, you can develop a much more comprehensive picture of how open enrollment is unfolding.

2. Pick a channel for communication (and stick with it)

Questions will inevitably arise. Beyond in-person sessions, where your team or a third-party representative walks employees through their coverage, is there one clear way for employees to find the answers they're looking for? When it comes to open enrollment, there's no such thing as overcommunication, but there is such a thing as too many different conversations happening across too many different channels. Centralize coverage assistance down to a single email address, HR staff member or employee portal so workers always know exactly what to do when they're feeling out to sea.

Sometimes it takes a little extra to engage employees about open enrollment.Sometimes it takes a little extra to engage employees about open enrollment.

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 whether it's because they forget or 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 things that could be really useful to them.

Don't lose hope, but it may be a good idea to abandon the approaches that haven't worked before. Apart from emailing and alerting their managers, you could also provide any late enrollers with benefits information they can take home, maybe to their partners, and mull over outside of working hours. (The same poll found that two-thirds of employees respond to this method.)

HCM technology during open enrollment

Open enrollment also showcases just 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.

Workers should be able to locate any essential information about particular plans during open enrollment, then make the most informed decision possible based on what they find – which is exactly what PeopleStrategy eHCM offers. Meanwhile, HR leaders can track enrollment trends and note both successes and failures so that any mistakes that are made won't be repeated next year.