As summer winds down, many HR department printers heat up. That’s when the open enrollment posters, brochures, and info sheets you’ve spent all summer creating are finally ready for employee eyes.
But there’s just one problem: they don’t read it.
Despite the fact that open enrollment is the one time of year employees can make the important choices about their benefits and their future, few bother to actually learn about their options. But you can change that. Here are six tips you can use to increase awareness about open enrollment and decrease those panicked calls as it winds down.
- Step away from the send button– less is more, especially when it comes to information flooding employee inboxes. The New York Times reported that corporate employees send and receive an average of 105 emails per day. With that kind of volume, it’s easy for an internal email to get lost in the Outlook shuffle, especially when it’s competing against client demands and vendor invoices. But don’t delete that office-wide distribution list just yet. Instead, consider sending a calendar invitation and see tip #2.
- Take it to the people– A global survey shows that 67 percent of workers say their organization would be more productive if their superiors communicated more often by personal discussion. For many large and dispersed organizations however, fireside chats just aren’t an option. Granted, we may be a little biased, but video conferencing is an easy way to make everyone feel like they’re in the same room and get your message across to a captive audience.
- You gotta keep em separated- For these meetings, we recommend segmenting your employee base by departments. When it’s a department-wide event, it’s big enough to feel important but small enough for employees to feel as though their absence will be noted. After all, when your boss asks if you’re going to the 3PM benefits meeting it’s hard to say no. Plus, with a smaller group of close colleagues in the room, people will feel more comfortable asking questions which is critical for their overall comprehension.
- Market the magic- We know, you’re in HR, not marketing. But when trying to generate buzz, you should follow the tactics your colleagues down the hall employ so well. There’s a reason marketing professionals rely on campaigns, a coordinated series of promotional steps, rather than random, disparate messages. Try and unite your communication around a central theme that’s easy to understand. Just imagine it: your engaged employees casually mention the importance of open enrollment at the water cooler. Suddenly, their less-aware coworkers jump on the open enrollment bandwagon. Marketers call this viral growth, but you just call it awesome.
- Make it matter– Your employees are busy people, balancing their career with their personal life. Any messaging you craft needs to speak directly to their needs so they actually listen. The good news? Open enrollment is the one place their professional and personal worlds collide so its easy to make it matter for your employees. You can’t understate the importance of these choices from their wallet to their waistline so just shoot it to them straight.
- Dont disappoint– The best way to get your employees to devour all of your open enrollment information? Tell them something exciting, or at the very least, not depressing. With rising deductibles and premiums, you need a proverbial pot of gold at the end of your benefits rainbow to entice employee attention. Just make sure giving away this pot of gold carries a long-term ROI or you’ll have to cut benefits even more next year. Whether you implement an exciting value-based benefit design wellness program or just a really easy to use telehealth solution, highlight the shiny new stuff as the headline when you message to the masses.
So those are our six tips. Got any others? What works for you to get employees excited, or at least engaged, around open enrollment? Share in the comments!
In the meantime, download our free Open Enrollment Promotional Plan to get your employees on the Benefits Bandwagon.