Preparing for a Successful Open Enrollment

Every year, organizations go through the open enrollment process, which can sometimes turn frantic for administrators and employees. However, open enrollment can offer a great opportunity to evaluate the current plan and make changes according to the needs of both the organization and the employees. Organizations should prepare as far in advance as possible for open enrollment week. In conjunction with the survey mentioned in last month’s article “Benefits àla Carte”, here are our suggestions for a successful open enrollment.

1) Communicate with brokers: Communicate throughout the year with health insurance brokers regarding shifts in your organization (e.g. change in employee demographics or new remote workers). If you're looking for a financial wellness program or an additional life insurance policy, consider the broker a partner who can connect you with resources and solutions. At least three months before open enrollment begins, schedule meetings/phone calls with brokers – this will allow you enough time to pivot.

2) Develop a schedule for meetings/deadlines and set expectations with stakeholders (e.g. the CFO, CEO, HR Manager, Executive Director, and brokers) as to when decisions will be expected to be made.

4) Send “Save the Date” announcements to all employees. We suggest 30 days and 15 days in advance, and then twice a week up until the week of open enrollment. Some organizations make these announcements via platforms like HRIS, intranet, HCM, or even via text message or Twitter.

5) Prepare all necessary documents for open enrollment week, which should include a benefits guide. If you are using a self-service system for open enrollment, prepare a step by step guide for those that may need support in navigating the system.

During open enrollment week, organizations should use multiple ways to engage with employees. Here are some suggestions:

1) Make open enrollment week fun by adding incentives. For example, give away prizes to employees who complete their open enrollment forms on the first day.

2) "Lunch and Learns" are a great opportunity for employees to learn from each other’s questions. Additionally, offer employees some personal time with the broker after the session. Make sure to provide a healthy lunch and/or snack.

3) Offer webinars to reach employees who are away during open enrollment week or who work remotely, using web-based meeting tools, like GTM or Zoom. You may want to offer separate webinars on different topics, e.g. to communicate a major change in a health plan options or to introduce a new life insurance plan.

4) Send out a reminder o n the l ast day of open enrollment. Tell employees to reach out if there are any problems or questions before the end of day.


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