How to Reach Your Hardest-to-Reach Employees During Open Enrollment: 7 Smart Tips

Mark Rader Open Enrollment Communication Tips

message in a bottle copyDo you have a lot of employees who don’t have a work computer? Or a lot desk workers who don’t really pay attention to their email or your intranet? Or…are you simply looking for some new ideas on how to make your workforce wake the heck up and smell the benefits communication this year?

If so, we’d recommend you take a gander at the following 7 ideas on how to successfully engage hard-to-reach employees about their benefits (and specifically a benefits decision support tool like ALEX) before and during open enrollment.


#1. Hold recurring ‘office hours’ to answer benefits questions

Want to make employees feel more supported? Set aside a few hours every week in the weeks before and during open enrollment, during which you’ll answer their benefits questions. Put a recurring invite on the calendars of all your employees, and have tablets or laptops with your online benefits decision support tool on hand when they show up. And bring snacks. The good kind.

#2. Make a big splash at your benefits fair with flashy content

If you hold a benefits fair at your workplace, get some eyeballs on your messaging by going big with visual content. (If you’re an ALEX client, you might create an ALEX standee (a free, print-ready file is on ALEX Central) and make it a focal point of the fair, and play the ALEX highlights video on a loop as well.)

#3. Bring tablet computers to the job site for easy access

A number of our customers with large non-desk employee populations have had great success getting those employees to use ALEX by simply bringing tablet computers to the job site–and the same approach can be used for any online benefits decision support tool. If you and your team aren’t able to be present while the tablets are made available, make sure there’s someone on the ground who can get employees started with the conversation (or print out the simplest of instructions) so it’s impossible for employees to not know what to do.

#4. Strategically put up posters, fliers, and table tents

Print assets like posters, fliers, and table tents can be remarkably effective at grabbing the attention of non-desk employees. Break rooms, cafeterias, and parking structures are great locations to target, and a strategically positioned flier next to a time card machine, office copier, or water cooler can work wonders.

#5. Provide talking points to managers to share during team meetings

Your company’s managers have more regular contact with their teams than you do. So don’t be shy about enlisting their help in getting your message across. Email them a handful of important talking points to pass along, and make sure to be explicit about when and how you’d suggest they share the information. The less thinking they have to do, the more likely they are to follow through.

#6. Send reminder postcards to the home

Not only is an eye-catching postcard a clever (and effective) way to grab your employees’ attention, it’s a way to get your online benefits decision support tool on the radar of that employee’s partner, in the event he or she is the real benefits decision maker. Psst: ALEX customers, ALEX Central has a bunch of templates you can easily use, but if you want to build a postcard from scratch, make sure to:

• Put the company logo nice and big on both sides

• Use an eye-catching, surprising image (i.e. not standard-issue stock art)

• Make clear what employees will gain from using ALEX, and provide a URL

#7. Hire a third-party vendor to text info to your employees

Your non-desk employees may not be on a computer throughout the day, but chances are they have a cell phone they check a lot. So look into texting important reminders in addition to–or instead of–emailing them. If you don’t want to do the heavy lifting yourself, consider bringing on a third-party vendor like Trumpia, MailUP, Mozeo, or Twilio.

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Other resources you might enjoy include:,

A helpful list of June/July open enrollment planning tips

How to NOT Use Humor in Your Benefits Communications: What I Learned (a blog post by Tim Sackett)

6 Tips for Communicating Benefits to Millennials (our brand-new eBook)