Over the past two weeks on this site, we’ve done a deep dive into open enrollment for 2020. This week, we’re going to close out our investigation of open enrollment by detailing how you and your employees can get the most out of open enrollment in 2020. So, keep reading to learn the seven methods your organization can use to maximize the effectiveness of this year’s open enrollment.
Seven Methods to Make the Most of Your Open Enrollment
We’ve already covered the 20 trends you need to know, as well as what to include on your 2020 open enrollment checklist. Now, we’ll detail the seven methods your firm can use to make the most of your 2020 open enrollment.
1. Emphasize Employee Education
The first method to maximize the effectiveness of your open enrollment is to emphasize employee education. According to a recent survey by Maestro Health, 35 percent of employees have little to no understanding of their healthcare coverage. Similarly, 62 percent feel their employer doesn’t serve as a resource for healthcare-related questions.
This study demonstrates how many employees feel un- or undereducated about their benefits. But employee education is imperative for employee engagement with their benefits plan. Research by Unum found there’s a strong, positive correlation between the quality of benefits education and employee receives and their perception of their employee benefits package.
It’s important to note; when developing your employee education plan, you should generate multiple methods of communication to match the various employee types and demographics within your organization. You should never use a one-size-fits-all approach to employee education. Maintain flexibility in your education plan and make sure you can adjust it to fit the needs of your various employees.
2. Maximize Your Communication
As stated above, it’s vital you maximize the effectiveness of your communications to subsequently maximize your employee education plan. To maximize your communications, you must first determine how, when, where, and why your employees utilize the communication pieces they access. Your HR team or benefits manager must understand the various learning styles of your staff.
Companies need to include both physical and digital communications when educating employees about their open enrollment to match various learning styles. For example, older employees likely favor physical materials, whereas younger members are likely to support digital communications. The more you’re able to match communication type with learning style, the more effective your communications will be.
3. Get Feedback
One of the most important steps you can take to ensure your open enrollment is the best it can be is to get employee feedback. Use surveys to determine your employees’ needs and desires for their benefits plan. These surveys will allow your HR team/benefit manager to pinpoint how to best communicate with various employee groups based on their needs.
Additionally, as part of your feedback gathering process, make sure you are asking employees about not only what they want to know but what they don’t know at all. Some questions you should ask, according to SHRM, include:
- What questions do you have?
- How can I make this information more digestible for you?
- How can I help you customize offerings to fit your needs?
4. Follow Up
The next method to maximize the effectiveness of your open enrollment is to follow up with your employees. Your company’s follow up with staff is just as important as your original communication. After your initial open enrollment meeting(s), make sure you follow up with staff to debrief and answer any subsequent questions they may have.
Your employee’s sense of satisfaction and support are paramount toward their engagement with your benefits plan. And the best way to follow up with your employees is to use feedback to meet your employees’ needs. As previously mentioned, it’s vital you encourage your employees to ask questions and provide feedback throughout the open enrollment process.
5. Review Selections
Emphasize to all employees the importance of reviewing both this year’s open enrollment materials, and which selections they made in the previous year. Employees should take at least 30 minutes to review all open enrollment material, review any plan changes, and consider how any personal changes may affect what kind of coverage they elect.
Your employees need to take the time to decide what elections they want carefully, and any further questions they may have. Subsequently, make sure you empower employees to ask these questions. And, ensure your HR team or benefit manager is available for employees, to answer any open enrollment questions they may have.
6. Consider Financial Goals
Whether your employees realize it or not, it’s essential they keep their financial goals in mind when making their benefits election decisions. Each employee should take some time to evaluate their financial goals and determine how different benefits can help them meet these goals.
It’s imperative your HR team or benefit manager, can inform staff how their employee benefits can play a critical role in their financial goals. Some of the benefits that can protect employees from financial stress may be uncomfortable or embarrassing to think about.
For example, if an employee has been setting aside money for a significant purchase, they may want to purchase accident or critical illness insurance. These forms of coverage provide employees with lump-sum payments to help them offset out-of-pocket medical expenses. This money protects employees from dipping into their savings, in the case of a serious illness or injury.
But, because of the severe nature of these potential events, your employees may be hesitant to breach the subject. So, make sure your HR team or benefit manager is prepared to explain how these benefits can protect employees now and in the future.
7. Remind Employees You’re There to Help
The final method your organization should take to maximize the effectiveness of your open enrollment process is to remind employees you’re there as a resource. Your employees should know you aren’t there just in case, but actually, want to answer any questions they may have.
So, clearly communicate the 2020 open enrollment resources you’ve created and make sure employees know you’re there to support them in any way they may need. Plus, you should actively encourage your staff to ask any questions they have or to seek out these enrollment resources. The better your employees understand their benefits, the more likely they are to value them.
If you’ve been reading The Olson Group’s blog, you should now know 2020 trends, a 2020 checklist, and seven methods you can use to get the most out of your 2020 open enrollment period. Use the seven practices above to maximize the effectiveness of your 2020 open enrollment.