Open enrollment can be a stressful time for individuals throughout the organization, particularly for HR teams that are being tasked with multiplying their daily tasks for an extended period of time. Successful open enrollment renewals begin with clear communication throughout the process — from benefits teams to HR departments through to individuals within the organization. Creating a positive environment that allows your teams to quickly and efficiently complete open enrollment tasks minimizes the frustration and lost productivity that can be found during this crucial period of the year. Here’s how you can help ensure that your employees and HR teams view their open enrollment process in a positive light this year.

Follow-Up Throughout the Year

The months leading up to the formal open enrollment session are often full of other activities that may take precedence. This can leave HR departments and benefits professionals scrambling to ensure that they have all of the tools and information in place to help lead their teams. When you create a clear and open communication program that helps drip information to staff members throughout the year, they are less likely to feel overwhelmed with the tasks that must be completed all at once.

Make Yourself Available for Questions Before Open Enrollment

Are you scrambling to respond to all of the voice mail messages, phone calls and emails that you’re receiving? It’s vital that you create a time to work with employees before their enrollment period opens. This helps ensure that your staff has the time needed to pull together questions or concerns that you can quickly address. Whether this means setting a bi-weekly followup with key team leads or just a quick note to your core contacts once a month, reminding staff that you’re available when you need them in the months leading up to the benefits enrollment period helps team members stay positive as they engage with staff throughout the busy season for renewals.

Provide Quick Responses (Even When You Don’t Have the Answer!)

No one expects you to immediately have the answer to every question that comes your way. What’s important is that you let your staff know that even if you don’t have the answer, that you are diligently working on their problem. We would all love to be able to shoot off a response to even the toughest questions in a matter of minutes. Not only does that take one to-do off of your list, but it helps show your constituents that you’re engaged with meeting their needs. During a time when you either don’t have a few moments to create an in-depth reply or simply don’t know the answer, don’t leave your staff members hanging! It’s courteous to drop them a quick note or call to let them know that you need to research the question further to provide a reasonable answer.

 

 

Offer Ongoing Education and Highly Usable Tools

Educating your staff about the intricacies of open enrollment is not a one-time process, but should be an ongoing opportunity to touch base. Benefits enrollment options can change dramatically each year, and there are always new tools being developed to help streamline your employee benefits renewal process. Whether this includes new online tools that will require training for the HR staff or updated worksheets that will help staff members estimate their annual costs, creating and distributing these highly usable tools puts your team in a positive light with your employees and senior leadership. This is especially important in the current landscape, with coronavirus fears running through organizations and ongoing concerns about rising medical costs. Being able to offer educational opportunities for your staff helps reinforce the idea that your benefits team is available when needed, providing adequate support and information for your various employee groups.

When you’re ready to learn more about how to create a straightforward and simple online process for open enrollment, contact the professionals at ESIS by calling 916-248-4777. Our professionals are always available to help answer your toughest questions and we take pride in offering intuitive tools to help improve enrollment processes and communication throughout the year. You can always download our complimentary PDF: Open Enrollment Checklist. This valuable tool offers insight and information that helps you stay on top of the steps needed for open enrollment.