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Steps for a Stress Free Open Enrollment Process

Employees have unique needs when it comes to their benefits. When open enrollment time rolls around, the best way to be prepared is to plan, communicate (early, often and well), and keep things organized. By following these simple guidelines, you can minimize stress for everyone involved and maximize your company’s benefit elections and coverage.

Be Prepared

The more you plan and prepare employees for the upcoming open enrollment period, the better.

  • Have all the necessary communication materials  ready well before your Open Enrollment meetings. Contact your broker or  insurance and other benefits carriers, and have them send you an ample supply of plan summaries and other materials (forms or online enrollment information, etc.) to help your employees to make elections. If there have been any changes for the coming year, be sure to highlight  them. If they’re significant, ask a qualified representative to meet with your staff to explain and answer questions.
  • Send out information packets ahead of time. The packet you send to each employee should have everything they need to make the enrollment process as seamless and secure as possible. And don’t forget remote workers, those out on a leave of absence, or those whose first language is not English.   
  • You may also want to send benefits information to spouses or invite them to your informational meetings since spouse often are part of the benefits decision making process for employees.

Communicate … And Then Communicate Some More

Engage your employees before, during, and after open enrollment by implementing a thorough, thoughtful communications plan.

  • Start communicating early. Benefits communication should be a year-round process but kick it into high gear about a month before open enrollment starts.
  • Host a benefits fair. This can be held in the house or virtually – or, best case, both. Get as many carriers and vendors as possible involved, but make sure it’s coordinated and user-friendly.  
  • Provide employees with an events timeline to notify them of all meetings and opportunities for benefits information leading up to Open EnrollmentBe ready for questions. You may want to set aside specific times for Q&A sessions. If necessary, set up a calendar where employees can schedule individual meetings with  your HR or benefits department.

Stay Organized

The devil is in the details. Without going overboard, now is the time for checklists, spreadsheets, and top-notch record keeping.

  • Leverage your HRIS and benefits system to manage your eligible employees, understand what they are enrolled in, and how to report on Open Enrollment activity and changes.
  • Consider automation. Your carriers may already have the ability to receive electronic enrollment information directly from your HRIS technology.   This may take time to set up so now is the time to have those conversations with your carriers and HRIS providers.

HR Works, Inc. is a total solutions provider of HR management and benefits administration services, including consulting and supporting you through your organization’s open enrollment process. To learn more or to set up an informational meeting, contact us today.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.