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5 Ways HR Can Create a More Engaging Open Enrollment Meeting

5 Ways HR Can Create a More Engaging Open Enrollment Meeting

Open enrollment is perhaps one of the more stressful times of the year for employees. When feeling the weight of end-of-the-year projects, benefits selection can seem like one more hurdle, especially if employees are stressed about making the correct selections. One way to ensure your employees remain stress-free is by hosting a thorough and engaging open enrollment meeting. 

Take a look at our five-step guide below so that you can create a better, more engaging open enrollment for your employees this year. 

 

Refresher: What Is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is a defined period of time when employees can enroll in employer-sponsored plans or update their current benefit selections.

Open enrollment is the only time—aside from a qualifying special enrollment period—when employees can update their elections for employer-sponsored benefits, such as a health insurance plan. 

Open enrollment dates are not required to be a certain length of time or to occur during a particular month. Still, for most organizations, this period occurs once a year during Q4. The actual time frame, however, may differ from one organization to the next.

 

Why Are Open Enrollment Meetings So Important?

Open enrollment meetings ensure all employees have access to the information needed to enroll in their benefits. If open enrollment goes poorly, it can negatively impact business and harm company morale. Culture is crucial in the modern workplace; if threatened, it can spell trouble for an organization. 

Be mindful of how you arrange your meeting. It may seem like an event to check off the list once a year, but actually, it can play a big part in the success of your organization the following year, including your retention rates. There are plenty of ways things can go wrong when planning for this meeting, so take the correct steps to ensure you remain prepared. 

 

5 Steps to a More Engaging Open Enrollment Meeting:

1. Plan ahead.

          1. When planning your meeting, you must consider all the content to be included. Typically employers will offer one open enrollment meeting annually, so it is crucial employees be given everything they need in that meeting. This can include pamphlets, documentation, presentations, and virtual options which may require filming equipment. With so many moving parts, careful preparation is a requirement.

          2. Be sure you educate yourself when preparing for the meeting. In order to establish a more engaging open enrollment, you need to be able to clearly express your benefits to employees and answer the majority of the questions they will have. 

2. Communication is key.

          1. A recent survey found that almost three-quarters of employees want help selecting the best plan for their individual needs, and over half feel they cannot take advantage of everything their benefits offer. This should be a huge concern for employers, as benefits closely impact retention. If employers are not capitalizing on their benefits offerings, they risk losing top talent to more supportive organizations.

          2. Meetings should include pamphlets, visuals, and a copy or transcript of the meeting for employees who have questions that arise later on. This gives employees several ways of attaining information they may need when signing up. 
          3. Encourage employees to sign up early so that if they have concerns that HR can address, there is enough time to communicate that information. 

3. Remain open to new tech solutions and benefits.

          1. Technology and benefit selections are constantly changing. As technology and HRIS systems improve, opportunities for smoother open enrollment processes also improve. Making enrollment easier will be a big hit with your employees, who may experience uncertainty when signing up for benefits. Employers should seek out new technological solutions that can provide a smooth enrollment and increase engagement. If changes are made, be sure to discuss them upfront and inform employees ahead of time that there will be new features. 

          2. Employers should look for ways to update their benefits. As some benefits become more attractive, others become less so. Finding the sweet spot between what employees want and what is financially achievable can be challenging, so employers must spend time determining which benefits to offer and then thoroughly outline all changes, updates, and revisions to the benefits plan during the open enrollment meeting. Once you have determined which benefits to introduce or update, present this information to employees as clearly as possible and allow time for questions.

4. Provide resources for employees.

          1. Employers won't always have all the answers, and the amount of information involved in the open enrollment process can be overwhelming. Be sure to provide employees with pamphlets discussing the different enrollment options. 

          2. After the meeting, distribute website links and URLs to ensure employees can access the plan's webpage for additional questions. Pamphlets should discuss what each plan covers, most importantly, what it doesn’t cover and how the plans differ from one another. 

5. Ask for employee feedback.

          1. Perhaps the most important way to achieve a successful and engaging open enrollment is to seek feedback from your employees. Ask them what they liked and did not like about enrollment the year prior. Find out what benefits they are most excited about and which ones they don’t fully understand. 

Your employees are what determine whether your organization is successful or not. A smooth open enrollment is a simple way to boost employee morale and foster a positive culture among your team. Be an organization that employees want to be a part of by making open enrollment seamless year after year. 

 

Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with open enrollment and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news

  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance

  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit

  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics

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