Click to read Ceridian's article on boosting engagement during open enrollment. Do your employees dread open enrollment? It’s time for a new strategy. Explore ways to engage employees during open enrollment and beyond.  




Open Enrollment Makeover: 4 Ways to Boost Engagement


  Discover 4 tips for boosting engagement during open enrollment.

A recent benefits survey found that Americans prefer bathing suit season, back-to-school season and tax season to open enrollment. It’s a universal truth: choosing benefits each year can be an arduous and stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be.

HR departments have an opportunity – and some would argue a responsibility – to provide the information, tools and resources employees need to make wise benefit decisions. With the right strategy and communications plan, HR can transform open enrollment in a way that helps employees and the company as a whole.

“It’s time for organizations to change the perception of open enrollment. By reassessing benefits annually, employees can determine if their elections align with their current personal situation or if they need to make a change. Creating an effective benefits communication strategy where employees understand their options is key. Organizations need a strategy that is engaging, insightful and helpful,” said Anita Magnuson, Vice President of Compensation, Benefits & Payroll at Ceridian. 

Benefits by the numbers

Everyone knows it’s important to make the right benefits choices, but for many people, annual open enrollment can be daunting if not outright overwhelming. And in the universal juggling act of life, the benefits ball is one that’s likely to be dropped.

Aflac’s benefit survey found that 77 percent of employees spend 60 minutes or less preparing for and selecting benefits, and nearly half (46 percent) spend 30 minutes or less. This troubling statistic reinforces the need to offer employees better resources to assist in making educated benefit decisions.

4 ways to build engagement with benefits

While benefits decisions happen once a year, they can have a ripple effect on employee engagement and overall happiness. Studies show that employees who don’t have the coverage they need or who are worried about the cost of health care are less productive at work, which in turn decreases their overall engagement. In contrast, Metlife reports that employees who feel very satisfied with their benefits are almost four times more likely to be very satisfied with their jobs.

As an influencer of employee engagement, open enrollment should be a strategic HR initiative. And a key component of this initiative is a communications plan that outlines the strategy behind your open enrollment activities.

Read on for four tips to help you develop a strategy for ensuring that your open enrollment and benefits information is actually read by employees.

  1. Make it easy to understand and act on
    The average individual has a limited (at best) understanding of benefits “speak,” and may struggle to understand concepts that seem straightforward to an HR professional. According to Employee Benefit News, just 14 percent of Americans can correctly define co-pay, co-insurance, deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.

    Introduce benefits information in bite-sized pieces that use everyday language, not HR jargon. Break down each to-do into small, manageable steps – communicating each step one at a time and with clear and simple instructions and examples.

  2. Make it personal
    While people’s life circumstances and health priorities can change each year, Employee Benefits News reports that 90 percent of employees keep the same benefits year after year. Encourage employees to closely evaluate their benefit options by catering materials and communications to employee demographics. The benefits important to a 20-year-old just starting out will be very different than what’s important to a 30-year-old who’s starting a family, and so on.

  3. Offer information in multiple ways
    The next generation of workers expects to receive information, including benefits communications, on their mobile device. Don’t fall into the trap of delivering benefits information through only one vehicle. Instead, customize your benefits communications to how your workforce population wants to receive it – whether via print, email, video, web-based tools or mobile apps. Keep in mind that employees want to have access to their benefits information 24/7, so they can easily absorb, share and take action on it when and where it’s most convenient for them.

  4. Develop a year-round communications plan
    Sixty-five percent of employees surveyed as part of the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report say their companies have only communicated benefits options two times or less over the past year. Extend your benefits communications beyond the fall and build a plan to regularly deliver bite-sized pieces of information throughout the year.

    Don’t just focus on medical insurance – include information about 401(k)s, HSAs, life insurance and other benefits. These communications will help employees address questions as they come up and help keep your benefits program top-of-mind.