As you may have guessed, open enrollment is a BIG topic around here. And being a benefits pro, we don’t have to tell you twice—I’m sure you’ve had just about as many late nights as we have during this time of year.
We prepare for months to ensure our team members comprehend our new and existing healthcare and benefits offerings. We create marketing, messaging, benefits guides, presentations and webinars—all so employees understand and properly use their healthcare options.
At Jellyvision, one of our main goals is to help you empower your people to participate in (and maybe even enjoy??) open enrollment. As such, we’ve created a lot of valuable, fun, and juicy resources over the years to guide your open enrollment process. To make it easy-peasy to access them all in one place, we’ve collected them here: in our Ultimate Open Enrollment Communication Playbook.
Let’s dive in!
Table of contents
- The Perfect Open Enrollment Communications Timeline
- Back to the Future: What 2021 Taught Us About What to Expect for This Year’s Open Enrollment
- 6 Must-Have Tools for a Successful Virtual Open Enrollment
- Open Enrollment Communication Templates to Steal in 2022
- Why You Should Pitch Open Enrollment as Your Employees’ Annual Financial Check-Up
- How to Nail Your Open Enrollment Presentation: A Guide for HR Teams
- 9 Tips for an Engaging, Readable, Not-Boring Benefits Guide
- 7 Ways to Help Your Disengaged Employees Make Informed Healthcare Decisions During Open Enrollment
- The Post-Open Enrollment Survey Every HR Team Should Send
The Perfect Open Enrollment Communications Timeline
Open enrollment is a marathon, not a sprint. Just like any long-term, large operation, it requires weeks of preparation and planning.
That’s exactly why we’ve put together the perfect open enrollment communications timeline—recently updated for 2022!
This timeline includes five easy steps to kick off your planning and strategy session, as well as a detailed outline of the 12 weeks leading up to open enrollment.
Each year, open enrollment gives us its own unique twists and turns. In 2022, that may mean communicating with hybrid teams, dealing with cost increases, or bolstering access to mental-health benefits. We know about the ebbs and flows. That’s why we’ve included tips in our open enrollment timeline on how to be agile in your approach and reaching employees where they live.
Back to the Future: What 2021 Taught us About What to Expect for This Year’s Open Enrollment
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again—one of the best ways to plan is by looking back at the previous year’s lessons. And that’s never been more true for benefits pros than during the tumultuous few years we’ve had. For instance, some studies estimate that COVID-19 sped up digital transformation in the workplace by six years. That’s a lot of advancement and change in a short period!
So, we’ve rounded up insights gleaned from these unique times that apply to this year’s open enrollment. The link below will give you the full report, but here are the highlights:
- Selection stress: Picking and using benefits is stressful; half (52%) of employees agree. How to fix it? Better benefits education—20% want more info and help in this area.
- Mental health conundrum: While employers understand the need for more mental health resources and benefits, their team members aren’t aware of increased support options available.
- Soaring costs: Both employers and employees know about rising healthcare costs. This means we need to spend more time and effort explaining how to best utilize plans, minimize costs, and become better healthcare consumers.
- Let’s get digital: Virtual open enrollment and tech tools are no longer optional. Whether your team is remote, hybrid, or in-office, they still want digital resources to guide them through open enrollment.
6 Must-Have Tools for a Successful Virtual Open Enrollment
As we’ve mentioned, virtual processes are here to stay. While some physical or in-person practices need to remain, a mostly digital approach can help you limit HR costs and better reach your team members this year.
Here are six essential tools for a successful virtual open enrollment:
- Email campaigns: Our inboxes are our lives. As such, emails are the communication bedrock to a successful virtual open enrollment.
- Text campaigns: Your employees check their phones 160 times a day. So meet them where they are—with quick, actionable texts that drive employees to open enrollment resources that will help them make smarter benefits decisions.
- Virtual benefits guide: Work on digitizing this long-form piece of content to expand access to employees (as well as save on the cost of printing/mailing).
- Open enrollment software: You can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t sit down with each employee every time they have a benefits question. Tools like ALEX can help you eliminate benefits confusion, drive smarter decision-making, and reduce healthcare costs—for your employees and your company.
- Benefits webinar: To inform all (or most) of your company at once, host a webinar to discuss open enrollment. Record this session and have it available for employees to reference later.
- Digital marketing materials: Refreshing your open enrollment marketing materials goes a long way in catching the attention of your employees. ALEX Central is a great one-stop shop for open enrollment communication templates: like intranet ads, posters, one-pagers and more to help you communicate your benefits offerings this open enrollment.
For more guidance (and handy templates!), hop over to our blog post, Six Must-Have Tools for a Successful Virtual Open Enrollment.Read now
Open Enrollment Communication Templates to Steal in 2022
We’re big believers in working smarter, not harder. That’s why we created a complete set of open enrollment communication templates that you can download, fill in the blanks, and send to your employees. You’ll get:
- A fill-in-the-blank email campaign
- Postcard templates to send out to WFH team members
- Sample open enrollment presentation slides
- And more!
Why You Should Pitch Open Enrollment as Your Employees’ Annual Financial Check-Up
Too often, employees think of open enrollment as a dreaded burden instead of seeing it for what it can be—an opportunity for a financial check-up.
A high-level review of salary, benefits, and retirement programs is a task that’s easy to push to the back burner. But open enrollment can provide an annual reminder for your employees to prioritize their financial wellness and education. For example, with a little bit of time, they can save money with a new or updated health plan, utilize an HSA to leverage their savings, or optimize 401(k) and other retirement options.
But finances are scary and daunting. When you throw confusing health insurance plans into the mix—it can be a lost cause. So it can be tricky to convince your employees that it’s time to review their finances.
Here’s how to convince your employees that open enrollment is a great time for a financial check-up.Read more
How to Nail Your Open Enrollment Presentation: A Guide for HR Teams
Ah, the open enrollment PowerPoint template. A tool you look at every year and try to spice up, so it’s not a snooze fest for your team members. In reality, how exciting can presentations be, especially when they’re filled with technical healthcare information?
While it certainly can’t rival Coachella-level excitement, you can definitely use a few tricks and tips to make your company-wide open enrollment presentation a bit more engaging.
Starting from scratch? Download our sample presentation slides in ALEX Central to get started on your open enrollment PowerPoint deck.
9 Tips for an Engaging, Readable, Not-Boring Benefits Guide
We’ve already touched on the all-important open enrollment tool—the benefits guide. This long and essential document outlines all the ins and outs of open enrollment and healthcare plan changes for the upcoming year.
And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Our recent survey found that nearly all (91%) of employees agree that understanding their benefits package is essential. (They just need help to remember this guide is a key part of that understanding).
Here’s an in-depth look at creating an in-depth tool: an engaging, readable, not-boring benefits guide.Read on
7 Ways to Help Your Disengaged Employees Make Informed Healthcare Decisions During Open Enrollment
It may seem like a strange metaphor, but open enrollment is a lot like swimming in open water. You’re not confined to lanes in a pool. Suddenly, you have the ability to swim in any direction, wherever you want. It can be an exhilarating feeling, but it can also be scary and overwhelming.
So while our HR community might find it exciting to have a sea of options, employees may disengage or worse, choose blindly and move on. In fact, 52% of employees agree that choosing a health plan is stressful, and nearly half (46%) are doubtful they’ve selected a medical benefits plan that delivers coverage at the lowest cost. In addition, 91% of employees choose the same health plan each year—yikes!
However, benefits pros(that’s you!) can help employees re-engage this open enrollment. This season is a golden opportunity to provide employee guidance, support their health and financial wellness, quell some of those financial worries, and help them make more informed healthcare decisions.
What will it take? Not a whole lot. With a combination of the right messaging via the right channels and an open enrollment software, you’ll be well on your way to helping employees check-in and choose the right plans.
The Post-Open Enrollment Survey Every HR Team Should Send
Open enrollment is done—rejoice! 🎉 But before you close the book on that chapter until next year, it’s important to have a post-mortem to debrief on successes and failures. A post-open enrollment survey, for instance, can gather invaluable feedback while it’s still fresh in the minds of your team.
We’ve outlined a set of best practices for sending your survey, based on over a decade of experience working with HR teams on their post-open enrollment reporting.
This open enrollment season is yours for the taking
Open enrollment is an important time for your employees and your company as a whole. You invest thousands (if not millions) of dollars into your benefits offerings, and want to make sure your ROI is strong. The key to unlocking that is education, understanding, engagement, and utilization.
The more informed your team members are, the more money you’ll both save in the long-term. Not to mention, you’ll have healthier, happier employees. That’s the whole point right? To improve and enhance the lives of your people?
Use our open enrollment communications playbook to enhance your strategy and empower your employees to take advantage of this critical time.
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