Open Enrollment is a critical time when employees must choose their annual benefit options for the coming year. The available benefits may have changed from the previous year, the employee’s life situation may be different now (think of marital status, dependents, or changes to their health), and employees often struggle to understand their options and which benefits might be best for them and their families.
While Consumer-Directed Benefits (CDBs), such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), play an important role in making healthcare and dependent care more affordable, employees don’t always recognize the potential cost savings opportunities of CDBs and may not be familiar with how such benefit plans work. Therefore, it’s important for employers to put some planning into Open Enrollment to help educate employees about the options available, keep current participants engaged, and encourage additional employees to take advantage of these valuable benefits.
Here are six steps to generate measurable enrollment success:
1) Set Goals: This is an important step that is often overlooked. Whether you want to drive enrollment for new programs, boost awareness for existing offerings, or target employees who’ve yet to enroll, you should document your goals to create a structure for your campaign and metrics by which to measure success. According to WageWorks’ client, Desta Millner, HR Manager with Capella University, “Aiming for a certain enrollment percentage will motivate you to think more strategically about what’s needed to achieve those numbers.” To learn more about how to identify focus areas to help maximize benefit participation, check out our on-demand Webinar, “The Math of Open Enrollment.”
2) Understand Your Audience: In order to steer clear of a one-size-fits all enrollment campaign, you want to craft messaging and materials that are geared to various sub-groups, such as: employees who consistently re-enroll, eligible employees who’ve yet to enroll, and those who were once enrolled but chose not to re-enroll. Plus, you want to take into consideration individual preferences for receiving benefits information (via online methods, print, in-person session, etc.) and communications frequency.
3) Audit Past Efforts: “You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” This saying certainly holds true with Open Enrollment. Your past enrollment results can reveal quite a bit about what has worked well and areas where you can improve. Did certain communications generate bigger results? Did others fall flat? You may be surprised by some of the results.
4) Develop and Refine Key Messages: Open Enrollment can be a confusing and stressful time for your employees. We recommend messaging that is short and simple—providing just the basics around what the program is, what’s in it for employees, how it works, and how to enroll. It’s important to stress convenience, ease-of-use, and the potential savings, and not let those key messages get buried by unnecessary, long-winded details.
5) Select the Right Channels: In order to reach the broadest number of employees, you want to take advantage of a variety of communications channels. Tune into our on-demand Webinar, “Choosing the Right Mix”, for tips on how to select the right methods and determine the most effective timing. Plus, be sure to take advantage of our ready-made collateral pieces and communications, including flyers, posters, emails, videos, and more – available for immediate download on our website.
6) Create Your Campaigns: Once you know who you’re targeting, which communications channels you’ll use, how often you’ll communicate, and with what messages, it’s time for the fun part – executing on your plan. Don’t forget to include information about what employees should do when they have questions and to track your results.
To help you build a comprehensive plan, access our Open Enrollment Kit. Get started on your Open Enrollment planning today.