Take the Stress Out of Open Enrollment: 5 Essential Tips for HR Pros to Simplify OE
Much like recruitment cycles and performance reviews, benefits analysis is a key component of HR’s many functions. Open enrollment—the period employees can change or renew their benefits plans—is an annual (and often stressful and overwhelming) occurrence for People Leaders.
The world of benefits administration is ever-changing, and HR teams are often bogged down by employee inquiries that send them on quests to navigate through the complicated healthcare system, pulling them away from other pressing responsibilities.
Furthermore, HR pros care deeply for their employees’ well-being, and the pressure to provide the best possible healthcare advice can compound open enrollment stress. There are, however, strategies to make open enrollment less overwhelming for both HR teams and the employees they support. From communication strategies to AI tools, here are the five best practices we recommend to take the stress out of open enrollment.
Communicate early and often
When it comes to open enrollment, there are seemingly endless questions to field, forms to fill out, and deadlines to meet that consume most of HR’s time. While tasks needed to support open enrollment are unavoidable, you can dodge bottlenecks and streamline your processes with some preparation. By being strategic with early and frequent employee communication, HR leaders can get ahead of the curve and help prep their employees for the coming open enrollment period.
Begin prepping folks as early as three months before open enrollment by sending brief reminders, sharing resources such as educational videos and FAQs, and highlighting relevant deadlines to engage employees early on in the process.
In addition to getting a head start, send regular reminders to keep the subject top of mind and avoid deadline creep. Consider scheduling weekly email reminders or hosting bi-weekly office hours to reduce the volume of last-minute inquiries as open enrollment deadlines approach.
Diversify your communication approach
When communicating about employee benefits, HR Leaders consistently highlight the various choices offered by their organization’s program(s). It can be a lot of information, and not every employee will absorb it at the same rate or in the same format.
Increase engagement and cater to your workforce’s diverse learning and communication styles by offering a variety of delivery methods and adding visual or interactive components to your messages, such as TikTok-style videos, surveys, infographics, and checklists.
In addition to emails, messaging programs like Slack, in-person or virtual meetings, office hours, benefits fairs, lunch and learns, and webinars are all impactful ways to get the necessary information to employees. All this equals additional work for HR teams, but the best way to boost engagement is to provide multiple avenues for employees to get open enrollment help.
Utilizing interactive tech like Healthee’s proprietary Plan Comparison Tool can help people leaders diversify their communication, allow employees to explore personalized plan comparisons, get on-demand answers to their benefits questions, and make information simple to digest while relieving HR from needing to reinvent the wheel.
And don’t forget to follow Healthee on your favorite social media platform for helpful content you can pass on to your employees!
Educate your employees with what they need to know
Navigating healthcare benefits is confusing, and many employees are in the dark about where to start and what to consider when choosing a plan. And benefits can be deeply personal, addressing personal subjects like parenthood and long-term health. Employers and employees alike want more personalized, private, and engaging open enrollment communication strategies to close the education gaps in benefits enrollment.
Comprehensive, easy-to-understand open enrollment communications and support tools like benefits guides, comparison charts, and benefits calculators highlight what employees need to know the most.
If you’re strapped for time and resources, simply let employees know what has changed in your benefits offerings and emphasize what’s going to impact them. For most employees, making decisions is all about comparing what worked and what didn’t work for them in the past, so highlighting these key points is crucial for them to be informed.
While HR professionals are experts in many areas, they often lack the bandwidth and desire to become experts in an industry as complex as healthcare, which can make educating employees particularly cumbersome.
Fortunately, there are resources available to support HR in educating employees. Healthee’s proprietary Plan Comparison Tool offers straightforward guidance, educating employees on the best plan options for their unique needs, taking work off HR’s plate, and arming employees with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed benefits decisions.
Outsource and streamline your work
Part of being a strong leader is knowing what to delegate and when to enlist the help of others. HR leaders are no strangers to the pressures of advising employees. Open enrollment is a particularly critical time filled with these responsibilities, but there’s no need for HR professionals to become benefits experts on top of everything else.
Relieve the pressure of advising employees on plan options and answering healthcare questions outside your wheelhouse by partnering with experts who can provide your employees with the best possible guidance. Healthee offers comprehensive education around the benefits offered to employees and provides on-demand support so folks can go right to the source with their benefits questions—and HR can focus on what they love and do best.
Measure your metrics for next year
Once you’ve made it through open enrollment, take the time to reflect and evaluate what worked and what didn’t. By measuring employee enrollment, engagement with communication channels, and program participation, you can track the success of your open enrollment efforts. This data allows teams to fine-tune enrollment strategy for the following year and share results with senior management.
Human Resources is often on the front lines of employee relations. With various roles and competing priorities, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and burned out, especially during open enrollment. It’s essential to get strategic about managing your workload and utilizing all the tools available to help you support your employees.
Book your free demo with Healthee today to learn how you can leverage Healthee’s powerful AI tool to liberate HR teams from time-consuming health insurance questions and empower employees with the knowledge they need to have a successful open enrollment!
Want more in-depth tips on how and when to communicate with employees, or want to see our AI-powered Plan Comparison Tool in action? Fill out the form below for a copy of our open enrollment webinar, Closing the Door on Open Enrollment Stress, for actionable tips to help you and your employees make the most of this period.
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