Put your ear to the ground. Hear that rumble in the distance? It’s Open Enrollment, and it’s quickly bearing down on all of us like an angry stampede.

Though the rumble of Open Enrollment sounds the same for everyone, its challenges vary from company to company. Maybe you’re trying to launch a new plan. Or your premiums have gone up and you have to explain this to your employees. Or you’re trying to break the debilitating inertia of “Last Year’s Choice” Syndrome. Or maybe you’re just trying to communicate better with hard to reach employees. Or you want your employees to just better understand their benefits. Or who knows? The list of challenges can go on and on.

Well, we feel your pain, and we’re here to help you conquer your specific challenges so that you can show Open Enrollment who’s the boss. (That would be you, just in case you were wondering). Below are some of our most popular resources for you to use to set your open enrollment communication strategy, all free for you to download or access. Let us know what you think of these and if there are other challenges that we can help you solve.

Best of luck with Open Enrollment this year!

1) The Ultimate Open Enrollment Communication Playbook

A jam packed, 46 page eBook that’s chock full of messaging and open enrollment communication strategy, tactics, tips and templates, including:

• A suggested 16-week communication schedule
• 12 super-handy checklists and templates
• 5 proven tips on creating more engaging messaging
• 7 out-of-the-box communication ideas you’ve probably never thought of
• Links to a boatload of other helpful ALEX eBooks, webinars, and blog posts

Oh, and three delish benefits-themed cocktail (or mocktail) recipes…for the post-OE party you deserve!

Bonus: What does Lollapalooza have to do with Effective Open Enrollment Communication? More than you think. Read our recent post here.

2) “Delivering Benefits Bad News” eBook

Unfortunately it’s not always lollipops and sunshine with benefits communication, and sometimes you have to deliver bad news. This eBook, co-authored by our pal Tim Sackett from Fistful of Talent, will give you immediately useful advice and tactics for how to communicate difficult and unpleasant information to your coworkers – without being ostracized by them. You’ll learn:

  • Why you need to give your fellow benefits team members time to be upset before delivering news of changes to their colleagues;
  • Why to avoid the “Bad News Sandwich”
  • Tactics to help manage upset colleagues in live meetings.

And as a bonus you’ll get a sample communication plan that walks you through what you should do and say up to 180 days prior to open enrollment.

3) “Avoid the Benefits Sleepwalkers!” eBook

Ever get the feeling that your employees are hard to motivate and barely conscious when it comes to choosing their benefits and that they’re potentially making poor decisions for themselves and their families? You’re not alone – sometimes it feels like the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us during open enrollment.

This “Avoid the Benefits Sleepwalkers” eBook will show you:

  • Why people choose the same-old, same-old over and over again
  • Why some people hate when you take away a plan option
  • Why making a decision can be hard
  • What you can do to get your employees to wake up and break out of their ruts

Bonus: A few months ago we wrote a blog post on how you can help people make decisions better and easier called “The Secret to Rockin’ Benefits Communication? KISS.” It will further help you wake up your benefits sleepwalkers (and it has lots of references to the awesome classic rock band KISS. For real).

4) “Beating Benefits Bewilderment” eBook

Looking to communicate benefits info without confusing your employees? This is the eBook for you. Inside you’ll find 15 ways to improve your communication (and reduce all that “insurance-y” jargon) during open enrollment or when you’re onboarding new employees. You’ll learn how to:

  • Embrace that employees don’t want to be benefits nerds – they just want to make a confident choice and then be on with their lives
  • Use plain English and humor where appropriate instead of gobbledygook and disclaimers
  • Incorporate an employee benefit decision tool
  • Write plan names that will be remembered
  • Summarize all your benefits on a single page (believe it or not)

5) “How to Introduce CDHPs in Three Easy Steps” eBook

Congratulations, you’re launching a new CDHP! Now the work really begins. Driving awareness, understanding and adoption of anything new is a challenge. It’s particularly hard in something like health insurance, as most people aren’t experts, don’t want to become experts and generally want to run away from the topic. This eBook will help you blast through all of this, and you’ll learn:

  • The #1 thing your employees want to know
  • How to introduce and talk about HSAs and HRAs
  • And how to introduce wellness and preventive care plans and features

6) “Five Tips for Using Humor in Benefits Communication” eBook

Humor can be a great tool to put people at ease, help them learn and keep them actively engaged in an activity–even an activity like communicating benefits. However, it’s sort of like frosting: you can’t use just any kind for any cake, and there’s a limit to how much you should use it.

This eBook, maybe our most popular eBook, will help you:

  • Find the right kind of humor for your audience;
  • Figure out when to use humor and when not to use it; and
  • Make sure that humor doesn’t get in the way of your message.

Bonus: We also did a webinar on this topic a few months ago. And it’s pretty funny too.

New! Bonus Material!

7) 3 Secrets to Creating the Most Engaging Open Enrollment Ever

Ever wonder how marketing and advertising people go about creating motivating and action-driving messaging? Ever wonder if you could use these tactics for Open Enrollment? Well, wonder no more because this ebook solves these mysteries. In this ebook, you’ll learn the 3 fundamental principles behind an effective messaging campaign as well as 12 fundamental ways to use this messaging to reach your employees. This ebook also comes with three checklists based on your company’s budget that show you what to serve up when. Download it here.

8) How to Make Concise Benefits Slides

Does making Powerpoint slides and presentations make your skin crawl? Ever feel like no one is paying attention to the slides you make? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Communicating via a presentation deck is an art and a science. In this short video, our main man Justyn shows you how to turn a poorly presented slide into one that is way, way better. Check it out here. You can use this to create great Open Enrollment slides. And if you like this video, check out all his tips on being a better communicator here. You’ll be entertained AND better off for it. We promise.

***Updated Resources***

Three Ways to Motivate Employees to Engage During Open Enrollment…When You Only Offer One Plan

Five Free (or Cheap) Ways to Get the Word Out This Open Enrollment

7 Super-Simple Ways to Improve Your Open Enrollment Emails in 2015 (Writing Tips for Non-Writers)

5 Surprising Tips for Creating More Engaging OE Messaging