How to Motivate Employees During OE…When You Only Offer One Plan

Mark Rader Open Enrollment Communication

one plan“What’s the point of reviewing my benefits again this year when there’s only one thing to choose?”

If you’re an employee at a company offering only one plan, this is a fair question. And if you’re a benefits professional at that same company, it’s your job to come up with an answer that convinces that employee it’s worth 5-10 minutes of their time to take a fresh look at their options this year…and every year.

Q: So how do you get busy and dubious employees out of default mode and more engaged in the enrollment process?

A: You make sure you answer the question WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) in your communications to them. Which requires thinking through what exactly WOULD be in it for your employees and then finding a way to appeal to those fears and desires with targeted messaging.

Specifically, here are three great WIIFM messages you might consider:

1. “Plan details change year to year. Double check your benefits selections this year to make sure there are no surprises come the new year.”

The deductible and premium amounts connected to a particular plan aren’t static. They change over time. Employees who don’t take note of the adjustments might feel caught off guard once they start using health care. Knowledge, as they say, is power.

2. “Make sure you contribute the right amount to your FSA (or HSA) this year.”

A lot of employees over- or under-estimate how much FSA money they’re going to need during a calendar year, especially the first time they sign up. As a result, many find themselves either buying 3 unnecessary pairs of Prada glasses with money they need to spend or lose come December (or March)…or paying more out of pocket than they needed to for health care services.

No need for that to happen this year, though, if they take 3 minutes to review how close they were to the mark last year, and tweak accordingly.

3. “Any life changes in store this year? If so, you absolutely should re-evaluate your FSA or HSA contributions.”

Employees (especially those who are eager to just check a box and be done with it) often wrongly assume their health care needs this year are going to be pretty much last year.

Simply mentioning a few real-life scenarios that would change a person’s approach to setting aside tax-free money can be just the thing to wake up employees and get them thinking specifically about next year…and making more thoughtful choices.

Specifically, don’t be shy about asking these kinds of questions in emails, posters, etc.:

“Anybody in your household changing medications? Got kids that might need braces this year? Are you getting married or having a baby in the new year? If so, it’s extra important that you take a little time to revisit your plan and get it right.”


Like this post? If so, check out a few other posts and eBooks about open enrollment communication you might like:

The Ultimate Open Enrollment Communication Playbook (eBook)

10 Fun Songs to Help You Survive Open Enrollment

6 Tips for Communicating Benefits to Millennials (eBook)

Beating Benefits Bewilderment (eBook)