The Keys To A Successful Open Enrollment

Staff article
September 1, 2022

Open Enrollment. Perhaps there are no two words that human resources directors dread more. However, it absolutely does not have to be like that. There are ways that will not only make sure your open enrollment is success, but surprisingly even enjoyable! We’re here to lay out the essentials to open enrollment and making sure your staff is satisfied with their benefits.

It may seem obvious, but first thing is first, plan!

It’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to plan and it can never be too early. We aim to have our open enrollment meeting the first week of the month before your effective date.  This gives your staff time to absorb the benefits and formulate any questions they may have. We want to make sure that your employees are taking full advantage of the benefits at their disposal. When open enrollment is rushed and employees don’t have the opportunity to properly review their benefits, they could end up picking the plan that isn’t best for them. That won’t be any good for morale or building trust with your employees.

Another obvious step? Have an open enrollment meeting!

You’d be surprised how many companies skip this very step. This is the most important starting point for educating your staff on their benefits. There should always be a presentation to your employees that goes over the plans in details. It was recently reported that over 80% of employees at fortune 100 companies picked the wrong plan, costing them upwards toward $2,032 a year.  By having an employee benefits meeting, you are giving your staff direct access to your agent, so they can have clarity. What good is a great benefits package if your employees cannot utilize it to its full potential due to lack of education? Making sure every staff member understands the details of the plan and ensuring they pick what’s best for them should be a top priority. While an in-person meeting works best, zoom meetings can still be effective. We like to record videos going over a group’s benefits. That way HR directors have a resource they can send to any new employees as well as anyone who might have missed the open enrollment meeting.

Survey your employees to see what benefits matter to them & benchmark your plan!

Providing employee benefits to your staff should always be about meeting their needs. In that spirit, your open enrollment could be helped by providing your staff with surveys that help you determine what benefits are most important to them. It could also help you determine what new benefits you should be offering to retain and recruit employees. Insight from your employees should always be welcome as it keeps them feeling appreciated, improving the overall culture of the organization.

Another advantage to taking your time with your open enrollment is the opportunity to shop your employee benefits. The insurance market is constantly changing with new plan designs being created every year. Shopping your insurance ensures you are truly offering the best benefits to your employees. Renewing your same policy every year without exploring alternatives would a disservice to your staff.

It’s also important to benchmark your current plan prior to open enrollment.  What types of benefits are your contemporaries offering their employees? Is it better than your offerings? Amid the great resignation, with demand for talent at a high, it’s crucial to have a competitive benefits package. You must take any advantage you can when it comes to recruitment & staff retention. Just last year 47 million Americans quit their jobs, an average of 3.9 million per month. () 74% of employees said they were likely to leave their current employer for better financial benefits. After the pandemic and a period of reflection, people’s priorities have changed. Employee benefits are at the top of their list.

Why work harder when you can work smarter? Use technology to assist with open enrollment.

Your biggest friend in open enrollment will be technology. There are few things more frustrating than chasing down employees for paper application while trying to decipher handwriting. Even worse if you have remote employees and you are sending pdfs for signatures. But benefits administration systems can streamline processes, making your life way easier.

With a benefits administration system in place, you can have all the following streamlined and in one place

-Generate e-mails to invite employees to open enrolment

-Employees can go in the system and input all their information. This allows for less of a margin of error.

-The portal can send periodical reminders to those who have yet to fill out their paperwork throughout open enrollment.

-One destination for your employees to access all benefits related documentation and links.

-Once you add a new employee to your payroll, it will automatically start the process once they are eligible for open enrollment.

We find that technological integration is crucial to open enrollment. That’s why we provide this service to all our clients, so they can focus on the tasks that drive revenue and growth. Having one platform where all your benefits information is accessible to your employees isn’t just a perk, it’s a necessity. It will make you and your employees experience smoother.

Finally, you can make open enrollment fun!

That might seem unlikely, but we we’ve seen it done and encourage it. We ourselves try to make our presentations personable and accessible. A lot of our clients turn open enrollment into a lunch and learn.  It makes absorbing the amount of information presented more palpable and turns an open enrollment meeting into a time to promote job culture and wellness. We also have some clients who include questions or a game throughout the meeting and raffle off gift cards for whomever answered the most questions correctly. Some clients even like to turn open enrollment into a whole day and offer wellness classes, such as yoga or meditation. The options are endless, and utilizing surveys we mentioned earlier might help you get a better idea of what would make open enrollment meetings more enjoyable for your staff.

But what about post open enrollment? What if questions arise when the employees use the policy? Open enrollment is important, but we find it’s just as important to support a client’s staff throughout the year. That’s why we put together our concierge team, which provides both administrative support and claims support.  The hassle of dealing with carriers shouldn’t fall on your employees, hampering their productivity. We want to be helpful well beyond open enrollment. That is only the foundation for our year long commitments.

At Financial Designs we understand that open enrollment can be more than stressful. That’s why we’ve provided you with this formula in order to maximize your experience. During a great resignation, the employee experience is at all time importance. Employees want to know that their contributions are being valued and that their needs are acknowledged. A successful open enrollment, with education at the forefront, will show your employees that you understand their worth.

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