|

6 Tips on Conducting an OE Post-Mortem That Gets Results (and Doesn’t End in Tears)

Dawn Burke Benefits Communication

I totally get it. The last thing you’re in the mood to do once open enrollment is finally over is…think a little more about open enrollment.

A 10-hour nap would be nice. Maybe a large glass of champagne. A post-mortem where you talk about what went well, and what could have better if…yeah, not so much.

Here’s the thing, though: if you don’t take an hour or two to hold a thoughtful review, your team is missing out on a huge opportunity to integrate important OE insights into all your benefits communications next year.

So. If you don’t have some time blocked out on your team calendar for a touch base, consider doing that right now. And if you want the experience to be as painless and productive as possible (as opposed to disorganized and “judge-y”) consider following these six tips:

#1. Conduct the post-mortem within a few weeks of your event

Your team can’t assess what they can’t remember. This seems like a no-brainer, but you all know the day after open enrollment ends, there will be new fires to put out. So, ideally before open enrollment even starts, pick a day post-event and block out your participants’ schedules.

#2. Get feedback from people beyond your HR team

Even if you sent a poll to your employees asking for feedback on how open enrollment went (and I’d recommend trying that, by the way), ask a few employees to participate in your post-mortem meeting. Doing so will help you get out of your own heads and give you a better idea of what the experience was like for people don’t live and breathe benefits every day.

#3. Have someone outside of your benefits or HR team facilitate the post mortem

This is a big one. If you don’t bring in an objective third party to help moderate the session, you run the risk of glossing over important items and letting groupthink and/or over-talkers taking over the session. Not having an outside facilitator is a little like asking Dr. Frankenstein to assess how well he did building his own Monster. (Sorry, Doc, but NOT GREAT.) Also, an outside facilitator–and this could be a fellow employee outside your department–will help keep conversations from getting heated, eliminate finger pointing and make sure the meeting stays on a positive track.

#4. Be sure to include a thorough review of your OE benefits communications

This is so critical you may consider having a separate post-mortem dedicated only to your communications. How well you communicate benefits changes, enrollment, deadlines and costs is central to OE success. This post mortem should include someone from marketing, employees who received the communications, and perhaps even your brokers or communication technology vendors.

#5. Stay constructive

Digging into ‘what went wrong’ is hard. I don’t care how in touch you are with yourself, criticism (even well-intended ‘constructive feedback’) can feel like a threat and hurt your ego. To help avoid defensive responses all around:

  • Remind everyone of the common goals everyone is collectively trying to achieve.
  • Leaders, model the correct meeting behavior. This is not the time for you to get defensive yourself.
  • Praise candor and courageous feedback. When someone steps out on a limb, praise them. However, remember that courageous comments should never be cruel.

#6. Share what you discovered with the company

Make sure to close the loop on the meeting and share your findings and what you intend to do as a result. It’ll show your workforce that you really do listen to them, and motivate more employees to raise their hands in the future.


Can’t wait to dig into more ALEX stuff until then? Check out:

The ALEX Open Enrollment Communication Resource Center
6 Memes About Open Enrollment That’ll Make You Smile (blog post)
Transforming Boring Benefits Emails (an ALEX tutorial video)