5 tips for Open Enrollment

Marcy Lehman
September 1, 2020

As your benefit team prepares for 2021 Open Enrollment, have you considered how you will deliver this important information to employees?

To get your message heard, look for ways to improve your employee’s experience and make their lives easier. Here are five tips for communicating benefits amidst today’s health, economic and social crises:

1.  Change the story to add value. Instead of an upbeat or factual tone and key messages focused on next year’s changes and costs (the what), use a measured tone and key messages that tell a broader story of value and support (the what + why). Review all images to avoid potential tone-deafness. At ROC, we draw on story science and our TAANSA ℠ method to craft stories that speak to all employees.

2.  Embrace all aspects of employee well-being. Broaden the content to show your company cares by incorporating benefits, resources and information that supports an employee’s physical, mental, financial, and social well-being. Partner across HR to bring program content together.

3.  Keep it personal, even when in-person communication can’t happen. Shift from in-person events (road shows and benefit fairs) to digital tools that emulate a personal experience and keep your employees safe and healthy. For example, host a virtual benefits fair via Zoom; embed chat technology into existing websites; create YouTube style videos featuring members of your leadership team for the whole workforce.

4.  Shift traditional communications to interactive digital experiences. Go digital with technology that employees can access at home and work: interactive videos, Open Enrollment microsites with persona-based content, text messages, and interactive tools like decision-making apps. We’ve helped our clients ignite their own digital transformation – checkout how the Art Institute of Chicago went digital during the pandemic for their spring enrollment, and how Schneider Electric has adopted digital tools.

5.  Address your employees’ concerns and anxieties as they adapt to a new environment. Move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to communications. Reach out to employees via virtual interviews, focus groups, polls or surveys to identify fresh insights that capture top-of-mind issues affecting your workforce this fall.

We know the stakes are high for this year’s Open Enrollment – it’s a valuable touchpoint for companies to speak to employees, and employees are eager for the information they need to keep their families safe and healthy. Let us know if you need help crafting a story for your enrollment communications, we’d love to help.

Marcy Lehman
Managing Director
Marcy Lehman has 25 years of experience in employee communications and change management with special expertise in web strategy and usability.