There’s no way around it: Your employees get a ton of emails every day. They don’t read all of them, and they delete most of them. (Or they let them pile up in their Inbox. But that’s a topic for another day.)

One of the great tidbits we heard from HR leaders at our recent Engage 2022 event was that you should think about your open enrollment emails the same way you think about marketing emails. You need to grab employee’s attention with catchy headlines, include clear takeaways and calls to action, make your points quickly. Your benefits guide and benefits presentation include all of the nitty-gritty details, so you shouldn’t try to cover all that ground in an email. Here are a few tips for what you should cover (and how you should cover it).

16. Write the way you talk. Pretend you’re explaining your benefits offerings to a friend, and not another HR professional. Scrap industry jargon like buy-up options, co-insurance, or drug formulary when writing your open enrollment emails, and put things in terms that are much easier to understand.

17. Use the word you. You’ll notice that we’ve been saying you throughout this guide. Why? It makes the content more relatable and approachable – and that’s critical when you’re talking about benefits. Using you also makes it sound like you’re addressing employees directly, which increases the likelihood that they’ll take action if you ask them to.

18. Break it into sections. As with your benefits guide and your benefits presentation, your benefits emails shouldn’t be long blocks of text. That said, visuals and graphics can make an email hard to read, especially if employees are on a mobile device. Instead, use headers to separate information by topic. Short sentences and paragraphs are a plus, too.

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19. Be as concise as possible. Have we said this before, too? (But didn’t we also say it’s a good idea to repeat important points?) Before you hit Send, take the time to reread and edit your email; time permitting, have a colleague give it a look. Remove any words or phrases that are unnecessary or repetitive. Remember, the guide and presentation are there to provide the details; the goal of the email is to get employees to take action.

20. Use bullet points strategically. Lists are a great way to break up text, but a long list can be just as ineffective as a long paragraph. Readers are most likely to recall the first and last points in a list, so keep that in mind as you put a list in order. And if a list is too long, think about making it more than one list – or think about what information should be covered in another email, saved for your presentation, or included in a benefits “cheat sheet” (which we’ll get to in a minute).

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