Open enrollment is a great way to send your employees to sleep and yet is critical to their well being. It's a period during which a health insurance company or HMO is statutorily required to accept applicants without regard to health history. For a company, that's much scarier, as you've got to get ten, or fifty, or even thousands of people to get their documents signed and filed with your HR department. If they don't? They might not have the benefits they need to live well. This is a problem for any company of any size with any kind of benefits. If they miss it, it's both their fault and yours; you've got to keep them on task. Here's what you need to know.

Start Early

GuideSpark, an employee education firm using customized multimedia to train employees, released a 21-page report on open enrollment that makes a clear point from their research; 86% of HR employees say that benefits play a significant role in the decision to stay with a company. Problematically, the subjects are complex, with 63% of HR leaders' pain points being around explaining complex questions. That's why you need to start at least 12 weeks before executing an open enrollment plan to get your company on board.

Treat Your Open Enrollment Like A Government Marketing Campaign

Think of your employees as citizens of your company that need to know the importance of something that isn't as fun or interesting as what's on TV. The ADP Research Institute found that 80% of large and midsized company HR decision makers think it's very important for employees to understand their benefit options, yet believe only 60% of their employees have that level of understanding. Your only choice is to plan an aggressive, rhythmic campaign to get employees to both engage with the message (you want your benefits? This all needs to get done, and here's what it means). This can mean using internal communication channels such as Yammer or Slack, email newsletters or even paper documents.

Make The Message Easy To Consume

A study in 2014 found that 50% of millennials don't completely understand their benefits, with the majority of all employers wanting to spend barely any time learning about them. The result? Find the path of least resistance. Millennials love video on mobile devices and that's an excellent way to hold their attention. Companies like Avanoo, for example, have creates short, 3-minute employee training videos using well-known experts in varying categories to help customers like Kaiser Permanente engage their employees quickly and effectively, instead of throwing a pile of paper or emails at them.

Appeal To Their Emotions Positively and Negatively

It's easy to say "this is important" to an employee, but show them with quick, emotionally-engaging content that has real-life facts. They'll be far more engaged in the process if they understand, for example, that a single appendectomy (removing an inflamed appendix) can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that it's important that they get their healthcare through the company organized. If scare tactics aren't your thing, there's also the raw benefit of numbers. For example, Future Advisor (a company that will, for a small fee, automatically and intelligently control and invest your retirement funds) not only has a fairly comprehensive content section about hard-to-digest concepts, but lets users sign up for free to see what they have to invest (and the literal cash they'll make) for starting early in retirement. This is especially important for millennials that don't realize that even a small amount of money a month can make them significantly richer than someone that waited even a year.

Published on: Jul 16, 2015
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