With the country slowly starting to open back up, company leaders are considering how to evolve to meet the moment, whether that means re-thinking company strategies or adjusting operational processes to ensure the safety of employees and customers.

No matter what adjustments your company makes, one thing is certain. In the coming months, your employees will continue to need support when it comes to mental, physical and financial health. Now is the time to start planning for how you’ll bring employees back to work safely, and what additional tools and resources you’ll offer to best care for your team. 

We recently spoke with several Jellyvision customers, including several Fortune 500 companies, about how COVID-19 has impacted their business, how they’re supporting their employees right now, and how prepared they’re feeling for open enrollment this year. Here’s what they had to say.

Cutting costs and bringing back furloughed employees are front of mind

Of the companies we spoke with, 30% had to furlough employees due to COVID-19’s impact, while 22% faced layoffs. Some are already in discussions about how to bring furloughed employees back to work, while balancing reduced budgets and looking for creative ways to cut costs. That might mean reducing 401(k) employer matches, enforcing a hiring freeze, or cutting salaries.

Cost-cutting measures taken by customers

A tip from Kelly Dean, CPO of Jellyvision: 

If you’re bringing furloughed employees back to work, be clear about what that looks like. What added safety measures are you putting in place? Will there be any salary or benefits changes? Will certain departments have reduced budgets? Set expectations clearly, and give employees an outlet to ask questions. 

Employers are communicating more with their employees

Immediately following the nation’s stay-at-home orders, employers found creative ways to increase communication with employees during a time of general confusion and unease. Most employers we spoke with quickly spun up online resource centers where employees could get questions answered, and gain a better understanding of the most helpful benefits available to them during this uncertain time.

Now that the immediate chaos of learning to work remotely has passed, employers are focused on continuing to communicate effectively. That could take the form of offering new resources and benefits that weren’t available to employees before, offering more frequent company-wide updates, or having more engaging conversations with employees about what’s most stressful to them right now. 

A tip from Kelly Dean, CPO of Jellyvision: 

Do the research to learn what your employees’ biggest personal finance and benefits concerns are right now. (We got you started here!) Understanding differences in financial stress levels and behaviors can help you make smarter decisions about which benefits plans are right for your organization, and can help you provide the support employees need right now.

Telemedicine and mental health resources are a big focus

When asked which employee support resources are getting the most focus right now, employers told us that they’re promoting telemedicine most frequently. Sixty percent said they’re making it a priority, and many are offering telemedicine for free to employees and expanding who’s eligible to use the program for a limited period of time. 

Mental health services are also a major focus as employees are looking for ways to cope with stress and uncertainty, along with dependent care resources for those who are caring for children or elderly parents in quarantine. 

Areas of Focus for Supporting Employees During COVID

A tip from Kelly Dean, CPO of Jellyvision: 

Don’t wait for open enrollment to let employees know what benefits are available to them. Now is a good time to remind employees regularly about how to take advantage of resources and perks. Put together a regular email series with benefits reminders, and save time for HR updates in all-team meetings. (ALEX is always there to answer employee questions, too!)

The time to prep for open enrollment is now

Although 87% of customers told us that they’ve started planning for open enrollment, we’re hearing that many of them are in the early stages of planning or only just starting to think through their virtual communications strategies. There’s also still a huge need for the right tools to help companies execute open enrollment, especially virtually.

The main open enrollment goal for most companies is ensuring employees select the right benefits. Because in-person meetings with employees are all but impossible right now, virtual tools like ALEX are helping companies communicate effectively and support their employees. 

Have you already started planning for OE? 

A tip from Kelly Dean, CPO of Jellyvision: 

Much of the workforce will likely still be remote this fall, which means your tried-and-true open enrollment strategies won’t work this year. Coming up with a whole new approach may feel daunting, but don’t worry. Lots of employers have been using virtual open enrollment tactics for years because they’ve found it to be more efficient than communicating in-person. Download our Virtual Open Enrollment Playbook to start building your strategy.

As the economy continues to evolve and we start developing a vision for a post-COVID world, a strong focus on employee wellness will be paramount to ensuring lasting company success—and a full recovery starts now. Preparation and planning will be the key to a strong return for your company, and it’s never too early to get started. Take a note from these real-life HR teams who are doing the work (and we’re always here to help too!)

Join 22,000+ HR pros who receive monthly employee benefits insights, straight to their inbox.