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It's always in-season to talk to your employees about their benefits package, or to prospective new employees about the "perks" they can receive by working for your company. But open enrollment comes only once a year, and that is the time when your workers will be most interested in hearing about all the benefits you have to offer them.
You can't afford to let open enrollment slip by without taking this opportunity to focus on employee education. Here are some helpful principles to keep in mind as you seek to educate your staff and increase benefits engagement and utilization for the year ahead:
1. Use multiple means of communication.
Don't rely on a single line of communication and don't use only one format. Combine enrollment meetings, Q&A sessions, handouts, emails, website content, and more into a multifaceted approach. And use a combination of videos, printed materials, and live presentations to accommodate every learning style.
2. Connect Benefits With Real Employee Needs
Showcase all of your offered benefits and help employees to connect the dots and see how each benefit would benefit them. As employees consider their options, give them some quantifiable examples. Calculate, for example, how much they could save through a commuter program, how health club membership can make health and wellness endeavors easier, and how life, health, or disability insurance would work in specific scenarios.
3. Promote Customization of Benefits
Not only should you give examples to help people see which benefits they should select to best meet their needs, but also educate your staff on how to customize a particular benefit to their situation. If you offer multiple levels of insurance coverage, show the cost-to-value progression of each stage. If you offer a pension plan with multiple set-ups, show what the effect of higher/lower contributions would ultimately be.
4. Keep Enrollment As Fast and Simple As Possible
The amount of information that circulates during open enrollment can be quite overwhelming. But if the process seems too complicated or too slow, that can discourage people from signing up. It's best to highlight a basic outline of information that everyone needs to know and then make deeper information readily available to those who show interest.
5. See What Information Your Providers Are Offering
Besides developing your own materials, you should also find out if your providers have any online tutorials, video presentations, or booklets you can use. And even ask if an "expert" can be a guest speaker at one of your workshops or in the main open enrollment meeting.
6. Provide for Feedback Channels
You want to know what your employees think of your offered benefits and of the way you are presenting them during open enrollment. Allow time for answering questions and taking in feedback, whether online, in a feedback box, or in person. End with a survey asking for input on how well open enrollment was handled this year.
7. Give Employees Time to "Digest" and Decide
Start your educational efforts early enough that you give employees plenty of time to take it all in and come to a decision. You don't want to just rush them through the process without allowing time to really understand which benefits they would benefit most from.
By taking the time to formulate an effective employee education plan during open enrollment, using these 7 principles and more, you can expect to significantly improve benefits enrollment.
To learn more or for professional consulting services to boost benefits enrollment, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting today.