Many HR teams struggle with navigating the complexities of open enrollment. It is often a difficult, time-consuming, and stressful time of year but can be less stressful if HR teams take a proactive approach to open enrollment and start planning now.
Here are some tips to help you develop a plan to succeed during open enrollment
Establish timelines, key deliverables, and deadlines to ensure employees have time to prepare and submit their selections on time. Communicate these milestones to your vendor partners so they can share program information and send you pertinent materials.
Give internal stakeholders enough time to do their part
Many components of open enrollment are managed outside of the HR department, such as payroll (deduction files) and finance (carrier bills). These departments might have their own projects that run concurrent to open enrollment, so be sure to include them early in the planning process.
Adopt a hybrid open enrollment strategy
As more companies now operate with a remote or partially remote workforce, it’s important to adopt a hybrid open enrollment strategy. Virtual open enrollment events are convenient and cost-effective, while in-person meetings for employees who are on-site can be done while still adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. Make sure all virtual systems are updated and fit your needs based on the past year’s feedback.
Don’t underestimate the power of communication
Communicate early, often, clearly, and concisely to let employees know that open enrollment is coming and what they’ll need to know. Leverage multiple communication channels, like emails, Teams, or Zoom to reach all employees. And share reminders throughout the process so employees don’t forget about important dates.
Get acquainted and comply with current HIPPAA, ACA, and other pertinent regulations
Compliance should be at the forefront of your open enrollment strategy to help protect your company and allow you to understand how changes to legislation might impact benefit offerings to your employees.
Educate your employees and provide Q&A sessions
No matter how much you’ve invested in a communication plan and executing it, employees will always have questions. If you start with a company-wide information session, it’s helpful to keep an open-door policy and be easy to reach. Availability is especially important with workforces that are split between remote locations and in the office