Open Enrollment Tips for HR: How To Do It Effectively

Susan Craig
Susan Craig has 8 years of experience as an educator and psychology-focused writer. In addition, she is a contributor to Mimeo.

Every year, when the open enrollment period is about to begin, companies need to be ready to present employees with all of the available benefit options. HR professionals should be prepared to elaborate on options and explain them using relatable terminology. So how can your team ensure a smooth open enrollment season? Let’s make it clear.

Communicate More and Educate 

Patience is your friend. Even if you think that you’ve given your best presentation, there is always an employee who is “just curious” about what open enrollment is. Think outside the box to deliver the information to your staff. Use as many channels as possible. Send emails, message in chats, share educational materials on your social networks, print benefits guides and send mailers, and post bulletins. You need to make sure that your employees understand their choices. Consider using real-life examples so your employees can relate to the ways they can utilize these benefits.

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Establish Clear Deadlines

Health insurance is not an on-the-spot decision. You need to give your employees an adequate amount of time so they can make their desired selections. Usually, this takes from 2 to 4 weeks. This is enough time for employees to familiarize themselves with plans and changes. Remember to communicate with employees to make sure they’re moving along in their decision-making process and that they will submit their selections on time. It is a good idea to encourage them to submit everything by a defined deadline. 

Hold Q&A Sessions

Maintaining an open communication channel is vital for your corporation. Organize Q&A sessions where employees can ask additional questions and get clarification. Be sure you’re always available to help them. Remember that there might be an employee who needs a one-on-one piece of advice. In general, it’s up to you as to how you communicate with your employees. Online conference or email message support is best during the COVID pandemic.

Immerse Yourself in Their Environment

Since open enrollment involves benefits for employees, you need to understand and prioritize what matters to them the most when choosing the benefits that the company will offer. Also, make sure to educate employees about the primary purpose of health and life insurance and all of the complexities that the decision-making process involves. For most workers, unfortunately, life insurance doesn’t feel like a benefit. This is mainly due to the rising insurance costs that are often unaffordable for some. Employees need to feel like you have their back and want the best for them.

Less is More

A responsible HR department will try to deliver all of the necessary materials to provide employees with a full package of information about open enrollment and medical insurance at once. There is nothing wrong with that. But remember that this kind of information should be clearly delivered to employees in any sphere. No matter their role, whether that’s an English tutor, manager, or IT specialist, employees need to be acutely aware of what benefits they will receive after open enrollment. Try to find a balance between communicating too much or too little about benefits; you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse employees. Redirect employees to the places where they can find more details about benefits when they ask you for further information.

Conclusion

The open enrollment period is a regular part of every company’s operations. Most employees won’t break into a cold sweat when hearing the words “open enrollment,” especially when HR specialists understand what open enrollment entails and are prepared to provide necessary information. By following these 5 tips, you, a knowledgeable HR professional, can manage to make the open enrollment period successful for your company and its employees. 

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