Sure, it’s only early June, but rest assured – open enrollment, which typically begins on November 1, will be here before you know it. The most feasible way to go about planning and executing a successful open enrollment process for your business is to begin well in advance. Adopting a well-organized, multi-phase plan and executing open enrollment with the help of comprehensive, end-to-end HCM software will be much more successful than rushing to pull it all together at the last minute.

Follow these best practices to ensure benefits enrollment and renewal goes as smoothly as possible:

The month-to-month approach: Early steps

While you don’t have to handle all of your preparatory steps for open enrollment far in advance of the big day, it is wise to tackle certain tasks as far out as five or even six months before you launch. This far ahead, you should be most focused on the bigger picture – looking at your current benefit offerings. Be honest with yourself about how much the plan costs in relation to the services it provides your workforce, as well as employees’ sense of satisfaction (or lack thereof) with the plan.

As you gradually move closer to your open enrollment date, you can start looking at more granular concerns:

  • Is your organization offering benefits equivalent to or better than competing firms in your industry?
  • Do other insurers sell superior packages without an unfathomable uptick in annual costs?
  • How are your employees specifically using the offerings in their benefits packages?

These are all questions your broker should be prepared to help you answer.

Finalizing your benefits choices

With about 90 days to go until open enrollment, you should have identified the provider you will use as well as the combination of insurance plans your company will offer. If you’re changing carriers, plans or technology, you’ll also need to start mapping out the transition.

When you’re two months away from open enrollment, make sure you are communicating with HR team members and all employees about any changes they should expect. Whether you are introducing a new carrier, adding or eliminating specific plans or moving to an online open enrollment platform, you need to make sure the entire organization is fully prepared. If you are implementing new technology, make sure you start at least three months in advance so you have adequate time for testing.

By following this slow and steady path, you greatly increase your chances of a cool, calm and collected open enrollment period.

For more comprehensive detail on stress-free benefits renewal, be sure to review the new month-to-month checklist from PeopleStrategy!