Open Enrollment

Happy Insurance Awareness Day (Let's Talk Open Enrollment)!

Happy National Insurance Awareness Day (June 28) to all who celebrate! While the origins of this particular, er, holiday are unclear, it’s one we can certainly get behind. Frankly, for many busy HR departments, open enrollment periods tend to sneak up on them every autumn. Now is the time to plan a smooth, successful open enrollment period—before things get hectic. 

And, let’s face it, having a competitive employee benefits package matters more than ever. According to a Pew Research survey, 23% of employees have actually quit a job due to inadequate benefits, and another 20% said it was a contributing factor.    

At the same time, research also shows—rather perplexingly—that little more than half of employees truly understand their benefits. And that workers only spend an average of 18 minutes enrolling in benefits (as opposed to four hours for choosing a new smartphone).   
Obviously, the better your people understand their benefits, the better decisions they’ll make—and the more they’ll value their employee benefits package. Let us help you help them do just that!  

5 Ways to Optimize Your Next Open Enrollment

Want to kickstart your employee benefits renewal process? These five tips will get you off to a great start. 

1. Review Last Year’s Open Enrollment

Chances are, last year’s open enrollment is still fairly fresh in your mind. Or, even better, perhaps your team collected feedback at its conclusion. Either way, now is the time to apply that hard-earned information to this year’s planning process.

So, were employees pleased with their benefit options? Confused over renewing benefits online? Did too many people wait until the last minute to submit their enrollment? The goal here is to pinpoint where you can make improvements, while leveraging all of last year’s successes.

2. Review and Update Your Benefits Offerings 

You may already be assessing your current benefit plans with your advisors and/or carriers. Now is the time to evaluate the performance of each of your benefit plans, review their renewal costs, and look for ways to keep your employee benefits package competitive. For example, are there voluntary benefits you can add to enhance your offerings, without increasing costs on your end?

3. Ask Employees for Their Input

When you ask employees to weigh in on their benefits—what they like, dislike, and want—you accomplish several things at once:

  • You gain insight into what benefits your employees value most, so you can better meet their needs.
  • You empower your employees by making them feel heard and valued.
  • You call attention to your upcoming open enrollment, so they’re engaged with it.

Obviously, you can’t give everyone everything that they want. But every conversation is an opportunity to encourage employees to become more benefits-savvy. 

4. Plan a Multichannel Communication Strategy

When it comes to open enrollment, you really can’t overcommunicate. A comprehensive communication strategy includes multiple channels: email, intranet, newsletters, employee meetings, texts, one-on-ones…you name it.

And if you manage a remote or hybrid workforce, be sure to develop a comprehensive virtual communication strategy, complete with online info sessions and benefit fairs. Make sure every employee knows their benefit options, deadlines, and required actions. Be sure to call attention to any changes or additions to your current offerings. 

5. Help Employees Make Informed Decisions

You can help employees make informed decisions by offering educational resources, such as benefit guides, FAQs, webinars, and personal consults. (Don’t assume your employees understand insurance terminology; keep it simple and always define any jargon you use.)

If additional decision-support tools or calculators are available to you, by all means, offer them to your employees.

In addition, consider steering clear of a “passive” benefits renewal process—i.e., one that automatically renews employees in their current plan unless they choose otherwise. Requiring employees to actively choose each benefit option will incentivize them to learn more about their choices, and ultimately make informed decisions, rather than easy ones.

So, in honor of National Insurance Awareness Day, take the first step toward planning your benefits renewals—even if it’s simply by scheduling your first benefits team meeting. And, of course, keep in mind: if you’re a Namely client, you have more benefits renewal solutions at your disposal, like our online Enrollment Wizard and benefits advisors. Learn more about Namely’s benefit solutions here.   

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