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How to communicate benefits information for a successful annual enrollment

Open enrollment is a busy and often stressful time of the year for HR personnel. It’s is a complex process with many moving parts, so organizations need to do a good job of communicating benefits information.

According to a 2014 survey of HR professionals, only 22% of respondents felt that benefits enrollment communications were "very effective," and only 9% thought employees were "very knowledgeable" about their benefits.*

These numbers are not good, which presents an opportunity for you to improve open-enrollment communications. Employees need to understand their benefits in order to use them to their fullest.

Clarity, breadth and access of information

When communicating benefits, employees need the entire scope of benefits information to make informed choices. And they need to be able to access and understand that info quickly and easily.

During open enrollment, companies should clearly communicate pertinent benefits information—including action items for employees—and communicate through multiple channels to reach the most employees possible.

Helpful tips

Here are a few tips to help you deliver effective open-enrollment communications:

  • Make a communications plan and stick to it—but don’t be afraid to alter it, if needed.
  • Provide plenty of communication before and during enrollment—include dates, links, educational materials and where to go with questions.
  • Use a combination of electronic (email, intranet postings, social media, texts) and print (flyers, brochures, in-office posts) communications.
  • Hold meetings and/or webinars to highlight additions or changes in benefits, what they mean and any costs—allow for questions and provide flexible times and multiple meeting options.
  • Make the enrollment process as simple as possible and provide clear instructions for where the forms should be sent.
    • If you have online enrollment, be sure to make it available from the comfort of home.
    • If you’re using paper enrollment forms, include a checklist so employees don’t miss anything prior to sending in the documents.

A team that can help

This is a busy time of year in the insurance industry, but the work you do to communicate clearly is important to protecting employees' livelihoods and helping them invest in their futures. The value you provide in boosting the enrollment experience is worth it in the end.

Reach out to your insurance broker or LifeMap account executive to help make open enrollment as seamless as possible.  

Source: www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Pages/strategic-benefits--communicating-benefits.aspx