Originally published 7/20/21, Updated on 6/28/22
“Repositioning” has helped companies large and small step into a new era, driving consumers to think about their product or brand in a new way. But it’s not just for larger corporations, your HR team can do the same when it comes to open enrollment.
As healthcare costs rise with no end in sight, it’s no longer enough to think of open enrollment as the one time a year when employees can choose their benefits. Instead, it’s an integral season that can help your team members plan for their futures, save money, and build wealth.
That’s why we’re challenging you to reframe open enrollment as an annual financial check-up!
Here are three messages you can use to provide financial guidance and help your employees see open enrollment as their annual financial check-up:
1. Open enrollment is when employees can decide how they’ll spend (and save) their money pre-paycheck.
Your employees probably don’t think twice about checking the batteries in their smoke detectors or scheduling their yearly physical with their primary care physician. But what about the term “annual financial check-up” makes folks run for the hills?
For one, benefits and finances are stressful and confusing. More than half of employees (52%) are stressed out by their benefits. And 46% are doubtful that their healthcare plans give them enough coverage at the right cost. What’s more, 56% of people aren’t taking advantage of the benefits they do have.
So, rather than dig into the complicated weeds, employees just keep enrolling in the same health plan over and over again because it’s easier. (91%, to be exact, stick with the same health plan each year).
Depressing stats, we know! But you can turn it around!
Use this time to remind your people, that if a health plan isn’t working for them, they can switch. If they’re confused about benefits—now’s the time to learn more. If they want to figure out how to save money on healthcare, you can help!
Open enrollment is the perfect opportunity for employees to save themselves (and your company) money by making smarter benefits decisions.
How can you get this message across?
- Focus on communicating the pre-paycheck benefits of a 401K or HSA. Both of these accounts help employees save money, plus invest so it’s worth more later.
- Use a benefits engagement software to send out targeted communications with financial guidance. (Hint hint: ALEX can help here).
- Meet employees where they spend time, like on their phones. Send push notifications via a mobile app like ALEX Connect, to remind folks it’s time for a financial wellness check-up.
2. Open enrollment is when employees can make sure next year’s benefits fit their new needs.
A lot can change in a year. Maybe an employee is planning to have a baby. Perhaps they know they have surgery coming up. Retirement could be looming. Whatever their change in circumstance is, their current medical plan might not be the best financial option for next year.
Ideally, your employees have access to a benefits engagement tool to help walk them through the costs and benefits of each of their options, based on anticipated care and needs. But at the very least, thoughtful messaging can remind them to consider how their big life changes might affect their benefits, and offer financial guidance on options to consider.
3. Open enrollment is when employees can take stock of all their financial goals and obligations, benefits-related or otherwise.
A financial check-up is a perfect time for employees to assess their overall financial situation. For example, do they have an emergency fund for surprise bills? Are they not yet contributing to their 401(k) but want to? Are they trying to save money for a house? What about credit card debt or student loans?
Remember, the desire for knowledge and understanding is there! 81% of employees would like to feel confident that they’re making benefit choices that lead to the best care at the lowest cost.
Here’s how you can help with their high-level financial wellness check-up:
- Provide financial guidance around which problems to tackle first and how to create both short- and long-term goals.
- Outline all benefits that can impact finances, not just healthcare and retirement. For instance, do you offer wellness reimbursements? Do you have a childcare FSA? Think of any and all offerings that can save them money!
- Consider providing fiscal responsibility resources like personal finance podcasts or savings-building apps. By looking beyond benefits-related decisions, you can make the financial check-up feel meaningful and personally relevant to employees.
Empower your employees to complete an annual financial check-up 💸
Rebranding open enrollment may take some time and effort, but it will be well worth it in the end. Let’s change the perception that open enrollment is a dreaded obligation and instead frame it as a financial wellness check-up plus an opportunity to save money and build wealth. This seemingly minor twist on an age-old challenge (i.e., engagement in open enrollment) helps motivate people to participate in critical decisions.