How to Build an Effective Open Enrollment Communication Plan

August 30, 2018

Chatty co-workers, office noise, cell phones, social media, children … we’re surrounded by distractions, both at work and outside of it. It’s no surprise that most people only retain a fraction of the information shared with them.

Open enrollment season is an opportunity for you to set yourself and your employees up for a smooth benefits plan year. So what’s the best way to reach your audience and help them remember the information they need to know? We’ve compiled a few questions to help you get started with open enrollment communication ideas. (And you can also download our Open Enrollment To-Do Checklist below for tips on what you can do to prepare before you communicate to your employees.)   

Open enrollment communication plan

What are the demographics of your employees?

No two people are the same, so it’s important to have a multipronged communication approach to target different parts of your employee population. The most effective method can depend on the age of your employees, too. For example:

Tailoring the delivery of your open enrollment communication will help you make sure your message resonates.

How have your employees responded to previous communication?

It’s always a good idea to look back before looking ahead. Take a look at previous companywide campaigns, such as internal initiatives or the previous year’s open enrollment. Did your employees respond favorably to the way your message was delivered? If not, ask for feedback to find out why.

When working on this year’s open enrollment, take notes on what went well and what didn’t with your communication method so you’ll have notes readily available next time.

What types of meetings are most efficient and effective for your employees?  

There are a few factors to consider when trying to balance your employees’ daily work with open enrollment meetings. Offering multiple small-group meetings that employees can sign up to attend is especially effective if it’s difficult to mobilize your entire workforce at once. And because telecommuting has become increasingly popular, make materials available, such as handouts or videos, for employees who aren’t regularly in the office or are unable to attend an in-person meeting. You can also hold meetings via a video conference or record a live meeting for employees to play on demand when they have time.

What can you do to build a year-long communication plan?

Open enrollment is just the first step. Now that you have your employees engaged, the goal should be to keep them engaged. You can do this with a regular email campaign where you:  

  • Provide timely notifications of key deadlines. For example, you can remind your employees near the end of their plan year to spend their Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars due to the IRS’ use-or-lose.
  • Share tips for their plans. Did you know that more than half of HSA participants are unaware they can invest their funds? Tips like these will help your employees get the most from their plans, which will encourage participation in future years.
  • Inform them of industry news, such as contribution limits for the next plan year.

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