The kids are back in school. There’s a chill in the air. The days are getting shorter. All these things can only mean one thing-it’s nearly open enrollment time. The annual open enrollment period is one of the most stressful times of the year for HR departments.
Your staff spends months researching and crafting benefit plans and then figuring out how to effectively communicate it all to employees, only to have hiccup after hiccup. Your company’s employees aren’t looking forward to open enrollment either. Only 19.3% of employees report a "somewhat high" or "very high" understanding of their benefits.
With benefits being linked to employee commitment and engagement, it’s imperative to make open enrollment go smoothly. Open enrollment for 2020 begins Nov. 1 but you’ve still got time to make it the best one yet.
"By Failing to Prepare, You're Preparing to Fail"
Benjamin Franklin had it right; taking the time to properly prepare helps ensure your open enrollment period will be a success.
Start by surveying your employees about the open enrollment process to determine their comfort level. Ask questions like:
- On a scale of 1-5, how comfortable are you with the open enrollment process?
- How frequently would you like to receive updates about open enrollment?
- What type of communication do you prefer? (videos, brochures, comparison charts)
- What benefits do you wish to see included the next open enrollment period?
Remind Your Employees to Update Their Information.
Changes in your employees’ personal lives can affect their benefits. Did they get married? Have a baby? Or did they have any medical changes, such as being diagnosed with a chronic condition? Any address or personal information changes need to be accounted for as well. An employee self-service portal makes this process easy (plus employees can access their information 24/7 from anywhere). All you need to do is remind the staff and they update their own information.
Regularly Communicate with the Staff About Benefits
Before and during open enrollment (and throughout the rest of the year) make sure to keep everyone updated about new offerings. HR Dive recommends using personalized methods including tech platforms, in-person meetings and videoconferencing.
Invite Your Broker to the Office
Conduct a training or Q&A session with your broker and staff before the enrollment period. Let all employees know about the visit ahead of time and ask them to write down any questions beforehand. Questions like:
- What’s the difference between a PPO and an HDHP?
- How much can I contribute to my HAS?
- How do I make sure my preventative care is 100% covered?
- What is a qualifying life event?
Set Up an HRIS or Core HR to Automate the Process
A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) or Core HR automates the entire process to only only save time and trees but reduce mistakes and easily maintain compliance. A paperless process skips the printing and compiling and allows your employees to access and review their paperwork from anywhere with anyone. Plus, with rules-based eligibility for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you can be sure only employees who qualify are able to review their options to enroll.
BirdDogHR’s Core HR can automate your open enrollment process along with tracking time off, managing employee workflow, distributing surveys, tracking payroll and of course giving employees access to a self-service portal. With Core HR, the 2020 open enrollment period could be your best one yet.