This article has been written by Frank Mengert. Frank Mengert continues to find success by spotting opportunities where others see nothing. As the founder and CEO of ebm, a leading provider of employee benefits solutions. Frank has built the business by bridging the gap between insurance and technology driven solutions for brokers, consultants, carriers, and employers nationwide.

Open enrollment periods are an important part of allowing employees to make important changes to their benefits coverage options.

However, this time of year isn’t just about selecting the right benefits options. It’s also a great chance to increase employee engagement and help them better understand and appreciate all of the healthcare and financial support options provided to them through the organization.

Communicate Early and Frequently During the Process

One of the best ways to make sure your employees are actively engaged during open enrollment periods is through proactive communication. Waiting until the last minute to remind staff about what’s required of them during the process won’t help to simplify or streamline their participation.

The best approach to open enrollment planning is to have a well-structured communication plan in place. This can include sending regular emails throughout the year that mention any key dates and reminders about upcoming enrollment periods. This gives you an opportunity to relay any important information regarding the process as well as clearly outline deadlines that may be fast approaching.

Scheduling team meetings and adding open enrollment discussions as an agenda item is another way to keep open enrollment periods a priority for the organization. HR teams can also work with department heads to provide an overview of important topics related to the process so they’re able to work with their employees directly in the event they need more direction after formal discussions.

Personalize Your Level of Support

One thing organizations will want to avoid is treating open enrollment periods as a static process with a rigid format that employees need to adapt to. In order to encourage more engagement, HR teams should understand that all employees are unique in their understanding of the open enrollment process or how to choose their benefits coverage options.

It’s important for organizations to look for opportunities where they can incorporate more personalized strategies when it comes to supporting open enrollment activities for employees. This often includes leveraging automated solutions that remind employees about upcoming cutoff dates so they feel more comfortable with meeting certain deadlines or enrollment requirements.

While most internal HR teams are well-suited to answer any specific questions from employees about their benefits offerings, it may be beneficial to also work with outside benefits specialists who can help to offload some of this workload. This can be very helpful when employees have very specific inquiries regarding their coverage options or need more information to help them make the right selections when navigating more comprehensive healthcare plans.

When businesses recognize that not all employees have the same aptitude for open enrollment procedures as others, it helps them to create a more personalized approach to supporting their staff.

Provide Enough Educational Resources

During open enrollment periods, certain employees may already have a good understanding of what they need to complete, while other employees may get more easily confused or need more guidance through each step.

Organizations should consider providing a variety of educational resources that employees can access on-demand to ensure that employees feel more confident in their decisions. These resources can help to explain certain nuances associated with more complicated benefits packages as well as potentially highlight certain advantages or disadvantages of the different options they have.

Deciding on benefits choices can take up a lot of time for employees, especially for more comprehensive coverage options. To streamline this process, businesses can introduce decision support tools that simplify complex concepts and clearly outline eligibility criteria, coverage options, and the necessary steps to enroll. They can also use interactive tools like benefits coverage calculators that help employees project potential premium costs and medical expense savings.

Another way companies can provide helpful resources to their employees is by creating explainer videos that help to break down the open enrollment process into smaller, more digestible sections. Most people are visual learners, and creating a more interactive explanation of the steps employees need to navigate will help them complete the requirements without feeling like they’re missing any critical part of the process.

Incorporate Gamification or Incentives

Although open enrollment processes are necessary for all organisations that offer benefits packages to their employees, the truth is, that not all employees place the same level of importance on this process as HR teams. One way to get all employees engaged in the process is by incorporating certain forms of gamification or incentivising their involvement.

Gamification is used in a variety of industries to help turn less-exciting administrative tasks into a fun and engaging exercise. When it comes to benefits administration, there are a number of different strategies that businesses can use to liven up the process.

For example, organizations could make it so that employees earn digital badges or points for completing certain open enrollment activities within a certain time frame. This can create a healthy competitive spirit in wanting to be one of the first ones to complete certain steps during open enrollment periods or when answering certain questions related to their understanding of their benefits coverage.

In certain situations, incentives could also be a great motivator for employees when participating in open enrollment. For employees who meet certain deadlines, organizations could offer gift cards or additional time off that could be raffled off to a select group of all employees based on how quickly and accurately they complete the procedures.

By incorporating these elements, organizations can transform open enrollment into a more enjoyable and rewarding experience, ultimately leading to increased participation, a better understanding of benefits, and higher employee satisfaction.

Make Your Open Enrollment Period More Engaging

Open enrollment periods don’t need to be a boring annual exercise. Instead, by following the strategies discussed, organizations can increase the engagement their employees have in the process while helping to demonstrate the company’s commitment to providing employees with the most complete and relevant benefits offerings.