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Open Enrollment Marketing Crash Course – Tip #1 – Begin with the End in Mind

Bob Armour Benefits Communication, Open Enrollment Communication Tips

open enrollment communications

There’s an old adage that goes something like this:

When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

Well, that’s not the road you want to be on for your open enrollment. To avoid this, and with a tip of the cap to Stephen Covey, before you do anything – before you lay out your communications calendar or nail down when your company meetings will be – do these two things:

  • Determine your goals and what success will look like; and
  • Write your goals down, share them with your team and your boss, and keep them visible for everyone. You might even have some fun by posting them around your office or work space, and plotting your performance against them.

These goals will become your anchor points and benchmarks for all of your meetings before, during and after open enrollment, and they’ll help you focus your team on what’s important and enable you to communicate efficiently with your boss.

Goals: Hard? Soft? Or Both?

Your goals can be hard or soft or likely a combination of both.

Hard goals are typically numbers-based. For example, hard goals could be:

  • the number of people who sign up for a new benefit plan;
  • the net change in people enrolled in, or dollars contributed to, an HSA or FSA; and/or
  • the number of calls from colleagues to you or your team or a call center.

Soft goals are often anchored in results from surveys to measure things like levels of satisfaction, expectations or understanding. Answers to questions like ‘How well do you feel like you understand your benefits after going through the selection process?’ or ‘How satisfied were you with the level of communication for this year’s benefits enrollment process?’ are all potential soft goals to go after. These can also be used year after year to understand if you’re going forward (or backward).

There are tons of easy-to-implement online survey tools you can use to track these soft goals. Three good (and free!) online survey tools are: Survey Monkey, Typeform or Google Forms.

Make your goals as specific – and targeted – as possible

If you can do it (and if it’s important), break up your goals and apply them to a particular audience or employee group that’s important to your business, or maybe to a new program you’re launching.

Perhaps you’re trying to get more engagement/registrations from an audience that doesn’t have easy access to a computer, or a group that works mostly from home, or maybe even an audience that skews to a certain age group. You’ll likely have unique tactics to drive these outcomes, so you’ll need to track how effective you are at reaching these goals. (In fact, going back to our original post in this series, I would guess that one of the reasons to have Paul McCartney at Lollapalooza was based on a goal to increase the number of older attendees. Just guessin’ 🙂 ).

Two final things about data and goals

  1. Data is knowledge. With data and goals, you can benchmark how you’re really doing. If you don’t have data, you’ll be subject to anecdotes, impressions and that old saying about ‘any road will get you there.’ One bad anecdote or impression may be misinterpreted as a damning statement about your whole program. It’s better to have a full and complete picture, and data can give you that.
  2. Be selective with your goals. You’ll be tempted to have a bunch of goals. Deny this temptation. You don’t want to create a boatload of work tracking a bunch of different numbers that may only be marginally important and could distract your team. Focus on the few goals that really matter, specifically those that relate to your primary business goal(s) and the satisfaction of your colleagues.

Bottom Line: The goals that you choose will drive everything in your campaign, from your messaging to your tactics to what you may do next year. Choose a selective and meaningful set, publicize them and track your progress against them.

When all’s done, hopefully you’ll be like Colbert when you’ve achieved your goals —

colbert-dancing open enrollment communications