A business open enrollment period is often a stressful and hectic time for most organizations. There’s a lot to do and relatively little time to get it done. In this article, you will discover a few fundamental problems you can easily avoid, making your open enrollment period a success.

Not having a plan

The number one thing to avoid is not having an open enrollment plan. Having the worst plan will still get you farther than not having a plan at all. So, what should be part of your plan?

Firstly, you must identify what you hope to achieve with your benefits offering. Is it just meeting the minimum requirements, or maybe it’s tough to find good employees in your industry, so attracting talent might be your objective. Whatever your goal is make sure that you keep your objectives top of mind when making your benefits plan selection.

Secondly, shop around to find the best package or communicate your goals and parameters to your broker, so they can keep your objective in mind when finding the right plan for your business.

Thirdly construct a project timeline that includes important deadlines and registration milestones. You can use your milestones to measure your progress. It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of your plan if you can’t measure against a benchmark.

Fourthly, develop a communications strategy to engage your employees. Your communications plan should include the channels you will use to disperse information and a communication timeline. The timeline should consist of an outline of when you will be sending out communications and the type of communication that will be sent out.

Not gleaning insights from last year’s open enrollment

Don’t re-invent the wheel; learn from your experience. Take a moment to review your last open enrollment campaign. Ask yourself what worked well last time and what didn’t? Use any insights revealed through your analyses to improve what didn’t work or synthesize new solutions. Another way to take advantage of last years’ experience is to create an FAQ document from last year’s questions. This will help you preemptively answer your employees’ questions and help you anticipate the types of questions you can expect to receive.

Not communicating

Like with most significant projects of any kind, communication is paramount. Send your employees frequent reminders of important dates and don’t send walls of text. The key to communicating complex messaging is to break down information into small, easily digestible bits of information. What this means in practice is to make documents easy to read and make it simple to compare plans. You can break down large walls of text into chunks of information that lead the reader through the material. If time allows, you can drip the information to your employees. This will make the information less intimidating and having new information in every communication makes the process more engaging.

Another critical element to keep in mind is not to limit yourself to one type of information medium. Explore different ways to package information. A simple example is to record presentations and make the recordings convenient for your employees to access on their time. An alternative medium you can explore is one on one communication. If your organization is too large for this to be practical, you can try holding small group presentations.

When delivering your messages, make sure to make it convenient for your employees to attain the information. This means exploring different communication channels. You can use text messaging, internal social media, in-person events, or interactive live streams.

Having clear and consistent communication with your employees will go a long way to making you open enrollment a success.

Not giving employees multiple opportunities to ask questions

Not giving your employees multiple opportunities to get their questions answered is a sure-fire way to guarantee that they will put off signing up for their benefits. A few simple ways to give your employees ample time to have their questions answered is to have open office hours. People are more likely to ask for help if they know that they are not imposing. A more structured way to answer your employees’ questions is to schedule individual Q&A sessions after a presentation. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to explained nuances of the health plans, you can always reach out to your broker or your health benefits vendor. They will be happy to hold a presentation for your employees and send you the latest information materials.

Not Double-checking employee information

A big step you can take to minimize problems down the line is to double and triple-check information on forms. A simple date of birth error or misspelled name can create big problems down the line. These problems aren’t quick and easy to solve either, and they will often require you to navigate through layers and layers of bureaucracy to get to a solution.

List of the most common errors:

  • Spelling
  • SS Number correct
  • Addresses
  • Signature
  • Date
  • Correct names
  • DOB
  • DOH
  • Plan group number(s)

Your companies open enrollment period is a time to engage with your employees. To learn more about what’s important to them and to show them that you are invested in them. This is also a time to look inward into the organization to identify key hurdles that need to be solved. Use this opportunity to implement a creative benefits solution to get passed those hurdles. This is your moment to establish yourself as a leader in your industry and a preferred employer in your community. If you’re having trouble with your open enrollment, you can always contact us for assistance.

If you are a business owner and you have questions about how to handle the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic,
please feel free to reach out to us here.