Open enrollment season can sometimes fall flat with your employees. Communicating tactical information, while necessary, can feel like you’re sitting through an inescapable lecture on how to watch paint dry.
Throughout my career, I have collaborated with benefits teams to introduce and implement a new way of thinking about open enrollment. For a campaign that affects your entire workforce, isn’t this something that should require significant time and resources? I promise you – open enrollment can be playful and engaging. Here is my top five list to make the most of your annual event and have a little fun along the way.
1. Make it a Team Effort
Communications is synonymous with collaboration. I have always found that my projects were enhanced with a proper brainstorming session and diverse ideas were welcome at the table. While it’s good to have a person in charge of organizing open enrollment campaigns, you never know the creative geniuses you have in your midst. From fresh ideas to necessary tasks, each member of a team can successfully contribute to the finished product that employees see every year.
2. Relate to Your Audience with a Fun Theme
While we can all identify with the term “open enrollment,” there’s nothing better than putting a fun spin on the whole process. In the past, I’ve introduced countless employees to themes like board games, music concerts, comic books, a restaurant menu and more. With something everyone can relate to, it makes pertinent information a little more bearable and employee engagement increase.
3. Gain Knowledge for a Successful Campaign
You don’t need a formal focus group to gain insight into what your employees want to know. Prior to the planning phase of Open Enrollment, I connect with employees to ask how I could make a campaign more impactful. What confuses them about enrolling in benefits? Did they know about employee perks? What information do they need to make knowledgeable decisions? A survey is standard, but there’s nothing more effective than asking a few questions during daily encounters.
4. Tailor Your Message
The needs of every employee range from the age group they’re in, to the life situation in which they find themselves. This means that segmenting the information your employees require will be more beneficial for your team. Remember – it’s not one-size-fits-all. You’re not going to make it perfect for every employee but ways to segment could include how they are signing up for benefits (e.g. Employee-only, Employee + Spouse, etc.) or a multi-generational approach to educate those who are starting their career to those planning retirement.
5. Engage in Multiple Ways
In the same way different groups are addressed, different mediums need to be used as well. Nowadays, it seems that no two people prefer to receive information the same way. With this being the case, it’s important to expand the way in which we communicate benefits to employees. Targeted email campaigns, an intranet, and printed materials are just a few to add to the list. Even in the digital age, there is an appreciation for printed guides delivered right to your doorstep.
Open Enrollment continues to be an afterthought at some companies, but when you think about your goals to attract and retain employees, this is a campaign that affects every team member. Giving your organization easy-to-understand information, a fun and engaging theme, and even a contest to sweeten the deal can be an example of a winning culture.