Originally published 6/29/21, Updated on 5/12/23
Just as most of us prefer reading a smart person’s summary of something complicated rather than the complicated thing itself, most employees want you to give them the quick hits when it comes to their benefits. And that’s especially relevant when you’re sending open enrollment emails to employees.
With so much to cover, it can be tempting to send a novel in email form that covers absolutely everything about open enrollment. But that’s what your benefits guide is for. Your emails should only be one short piece of your open enrollment communications, and highlight the most important pieces of information.
So here are six ways to improve your open enrollment emails to employees (plus a handy template):
How to improve your emails to employees about open enrollment:
1. Write the way you talk
Need to explain something complicated about your company’s benefits offerings? Don’t just recycle the language your insurance company uses. Do your very best to translate any and all legalese or jargon. Have you heard of the phrase “Explain it to me like I’m a five-year-old”? That applies here.
- Not great: “Beyond the basic benefit, both individual and spouse buy-up options are available.”
- Way better: “The company is going to buy some life insurance for you. If you want, you can buy extra for you and your partner.”
2. Use the word ‘you’
“You” truly is a powerful word. When we see it on the page, we think: ‘Hey, they’re talking to me!’ And we perk up.
So instead of talking about your employees in the third person, address them directly. For example, instead of writing “All employees without dependents need to fill out this form,” write “If you don’t have any dependents, you need to fill out this form.”
3. Break up information into easy-to-scan sections
Your email could contain the most well-written and helpful content in the history of benefits communication, but if you’ve laid out the information in a dense block of text, most employees are going to bail before finishing it. (Notice how we use headers, paragraph breaks, and bullet points in this blog post—it all helps with readability!)
So don’t skimp on white space, use headers to separate information by topic, and bullet out any lists (more on that next).
4. Be strategic about your bullet points
Bullet points help give your audiences’ eyes a break—but you probably know that already. Bullet points should:
- Be concise.
- Help break up text and visuals.
- Give an overview or preview of what’s coming.
See what we did there?
5. Be as concise as possible
Nobody sets out be long-winded or overly wordy on purpose, but it can happen to the best of us.
So, every time you draft an important email to send to your company, schedule 5-10 minutes of editing time. If time allows, step away from the email for a few hours, then edit. (Giving yourself an afternoon or a day away from a piece of content can do wonders for the editing process).
Remove anything repetitive. Ask yourself if you could link to your benefits guide for more details. Challenge yourself to cut at least 5 unnecessary words. Lastly, run the email past a colleague for a second read, to see if you’ve hit the mark.
6. Use humanizing examples and storytelling
Give your content a human face. For instance, explain how the new plan will affect a fictional guy named Joe—a high-volume health care user—versus how it will affect a fictional woman named Josie—a woman who uses very little.
Ask employees if they’re willing to give a testimonial about how a certain program helped them. Then put their smiling face beside their testimony.
ALEX uses clear examples, visualizations, and behavioral science to explain benefits to your employees.Learn more
Open enrollment announcement email template
Yes, it will sound better coming from you—but sometimes, you just need to copy-paste. Here’s an open enrollment announcement email template to use if you’re short on time:
Subject Line: It’s time for open enrollment!
Today marks the start of our benefits open enrollment period. As a reminder, this is the one time of year when you can make changes to your health insurance plans. If you’ve had or plan to have any health or financial changes, this is also a good time to review your current benefits and make sure they’re still the best option for you.
The deadline to enroll in benefits is <DATE>. Those who do not enroll by this date will not receive benefits for the coming calendar year.
A few things you should know:
<ADD 3-5 IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS HERE.>
- Ex: We’re working with a new dental claims administrator this year
- Ex: We’ve added a second vision plan
- Ex: We’ve made changes to how we’re going to distribute the 401(k) match this year
- Ex: We’ve created an Employee Relief Fund
Need more info?
- <COMPANY NAME> Benefits guide: <LINK>
- Open enrollment FAQs: <LINK>
- Open enrollment cheat sheet: <LINK>
And finally, enroll here: <LINK>
Questions? Email us at <EMAIL> or set up a time to talk.