The year’s end is approaching and the benefits enrollment floodgates have opened. (That is, after all, why they call it “open enrollment.”) New health options and requirements are surely a constant game-changer for you and your team. Your employees might need to consider your company’s new benefits plans, a change of plans, or their level of plan participation. In any event, follow a few tips to make sure you’re prepared to deliver, capture, and execute information as smoothly as possible.

Align Your Systems and Technology

Benefits enrollment is hectic. You and your team have a lot on your plate in terms of educating your employees, helping them enroll, and making sure everything is in its right place. Imagine the horror of a system glitch or crash! This is why it’s critical to make sure that your systems are aligned with your technology. If you don’t have software like a human resource information system (HRIS) in place, partner with IT to map out the details of data capture and flow. Discuss a crisis management plan in the event of a hiccup. Trust us on this one.

When crafting your enrollment system, consider the following:

  • How employees will enroll (automated, we hope)
  • How the resulting data will be handled
  • How this data will flow between the necessary departments
  • Who will be responsible for “putting out fires”
  • A detailed plan of action for putting out said fires

Keep it Simple

As an HR professional, you’ve got all the lingo down. You can navigate deductibles, HSA contributions, and flex spending in your sleep. However, it’s important to keep in mind that to many employees, this industry jargon is just that – jargon. To smooth communication and streamline the process for all parties involved, take the time to help explain benefits terminology in a simpler, more “human” way. It’s more common than not for employees to be confused by the intricacies. Just because they haven’t approached you with questions doesn’t mean they couldn’t benefit from a human touch.

Highlight the Best Benefits

You may find that there are a few stellar benefits plans that are simply under-utilized or swept under the rug come enrollment season. Did employees turn them down purposely, or were they just unaware of the options? To make sure that everyone’s on the same page, put these benefits plans on the same page! Create a simple one-page handout, email, or bulletin board poster to showcase those golden benefits that should at least be considered. Use a catchy title along the lines of “10 Employee Benefits You’re Missing Out On,” and ask employees for their feedback and suggestions.

Incentivize Benefits Enrollment

Who said open enrollment season can’t be fun? In addition to cutting some stress of the process, incentivizing the enrollment process has a number of behind-the-scenes benefits. Offer prizes or rewards for attending info sessions or enrolling by a certain date. Host an event where employees have the chance to meet face-to-face with HR professionals and managers to ask questions and get explanations they may be a bit foggy on. These opportunities can help transform open enrollment from a tedious task to an open-ended conversation. In our book, everyone wins.