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7 Steps to Successfully Prepare for Open Enrollment 2021

7 Steps to Successfully Prepare for Open Enrollment 2021

With Q4 just around the corner, open enrollment is rapidly approaching for many employers. Use the seven key steps in this essential guide to prep for your company’s open enrollment period.


Review: What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is the timeframe when employees are permitted to update their elections to employer-sponsored benefits.

Aside from qualifying events—which trigger special enrollment periods (SEP)—this period is the only time in which workers are permitted to adjust or update important benefits like healthcare coverage and voluntary life insurance.


7 Steps to Prepare for 2021 Open Enrollment

Employers and HR professionals saw their fair share of challenges in 2020. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, entire industries were shut down—at least temporarily—and countless teams transitioned to long-term remote work. Companies around the nation were forced to transform almost overnight to keep employees and customers safe from sickness—and to stay in business. 

Many of these concerns are still present and may not be resolved before open enrollment begins. When preparing for your 2021 benefits package, HR should work with brokers to take a proactive approach that considers challenges teams may face in the coming year. 

Use the following steps to prepare for 2021 open enrollment

  1. Develop a Strategic Schedule: Planning ahead can help ensure a smooth open enrollment, happier clients, and a more relaxing holiday season. Use this strategic schedule to ensure you’re up to speed and ready to hit the ground running when November arrives.
  2. Communicate Early (and Often): Set a few communication-based goals heading into open enrollment. The sooner you reach out to staff with information about open enrollment and benefits administration—including when the process begins and how it works—the better chance you have at improving employee engagement and readiness. 
  3. Ask Your Broker Questions: Is your broker right for your organization? Use this list of 10 questions to learn more about the process of open enrollment and how prepared your current broker is for benefits administration. 
  4. Prepare to Answer Questions: Employees will look to you and your broker to answer important benefits questions. Review 10 common open enrollment questions to prepare accordingly. 
  5. Go Online: With work-from-home now the norm for many teams across the country, there’s no better time than now to shift your open enrollment process online. Not to mention that adopting an HRIS like BerniePortal can save time, reduce errors, expand offerings, and increase employee satisfaction. 
  6. Consider New Benefits: Time and again, stellar employee benefits have proven to be a great tool for employers looking to boost recruitment and retention rates. Consider including these six popular benefits in your 2021 package.
  7. Build on Your Culture: Is your benefits package reflective of your company’s culture? Use an HRIS to build and sustain organizational culture by selecting benefits that demonstrate your organization’s values and vision.


How Else Can You Prepare?

Take a comprehensive digital education course. BernieU’s The Ultimate Guide to Benefits Administration and Open Enrollment teaches everything HR pros need to know about open enrollment, from how the process works to digital software solutions and how benefits administration can boost retention and recruitment. 

Even better, the program is free to access and has been approved for 1.00 HR (General) recertification credit hours toward aPHR™, aPHRi™, PHR®, PHRca®, SPHR®, GPHR®, PHRi™, and SPHRi™ recertification through HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®).

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