With many employees completing their open enrollment for the first time in an entirely virtual setting, the primary focus for members of our Client Advisory Board this fall was how to better understand, manage, and guide constituents for a successful open enrollment.
Benefits are not always easy for everyone to understand, so it is important to guide individuals and share the necessary information to make the process simple and less confusing. Our CAB members shared some of their best practices on what has worked well during Open Enrollment for their business and ways to better prepare this year. We discussed the following themes:
Linda McMinn, Corporate Manager at Sanderson Farms, shared that their company encourages employees that want to make changes to their benefits plans, to reach out to their local HR office for further training and assistance. Annual open enrollment announcements are sent out each year along with their paycheck, to alert employees of any changes in premiums and benefits offerings that may occur. Alice Hilton, HR Product Manager, Innovative Business Solutions, shared that her team makes sure to have consistent communication with customers each week and to keep track of where they are in the process. The most crucial step being the follow-up stage, she states, “It’s also a chance for us to up-sell technology that we think would help their process in the future.”
Providing Resources Through Multiple Channels
Your strategies of communicating employee benefits during open enrollment are a key component to making sure individuals are retaining the correct information they need to know. Erin Talbot, VP of Human Resources at Diamonds Direct, noted that their company strives to educate their employees through live webinars, training videos, benefits guides, and other resources about benefits. Erin Talbot stated, “Use as many methods as possible to get the message out - that's what we’ve seen work.”
Setting a Clear Plan
With every open enrollment, comes a series of challenges, especially in a virtual environment. Will your open enrollment be held in an entirely virtual setting, in-person, or a mix of both? Set a clear plan on how your team will proceed throughout COVID to eliminate unnecessary confusion or setbacks that may delay your open enrollment process. David Peasall, VP of Benefits and Human Resources at FrankCrum, shared the best way for challenges to decrease is to better communicate expectations and needs between parties, “When we can be highly thorough with our communications, we can minimize issues.”
Informing all Stakeholders About the Enrollment Process
Erin Talbot, Diamonds Direct, mentioned one of the biggest challenges her team faces is dealing with people who wait until the last minute to enroll, causing delays in the process. To avoid these issues, it is crucial that all stakeholders are able to answer any questions about open enrollment dates and deadlines, benefits effective date, and other related information.
Leveraging the Right Technology
When it comes to choosing a reliable technology solution to make open enrollment easier, David Peasall, FrankCrum, noted “The EverythingBenefits system is easy for our employees to set client benefit programs, contributions schemes, etc. The EverythingBenefits team has a high sense of urgency and high skillset to solve issues and particular needs as they arise making them an excellent business partner.” Alice Hilton, Innovative Business Solutions, shared “EverythingBenefits technology has been superior,” allowing their team to be successful during open enrollment and beyond with the help of Benefits Reconciliation, Carrier Connectivity, COBRA Administration, and other solutions.
Want to learn more about our Client Advisory Board or interested in participating? Download our Charter or contact us with any comments or questions. We look forward to sharing more ideas from our Client Advisory Board!