How to Hack Open Enrollment to Cultivate Year-Round Engagement

Nov 2, 2021

Employees meeting in conference room

Congratulations! You’re almost to the end of the wild season that is Open Enrollment. And, as we look forward to the end of Open Enrollment, there’s one question you need to ask yourself: 

How can you leverage the momentum you’ve generated to create ongoing benefits engagement throughout the plan year?

If you’re not getting serious about how you can get more miles out of your Q4 chaos to hack Open Enrollment and cultivate year-round engagement, you’re doing it wrong.

Listen up.

Open Enrollment is so much more than ensuring employees are signed up for the correct benefits –– it’s the start of what should be an ongoing partnership. And in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial now more than ever to establish a consistent framework of communication with employees.

Across the board — employers are seeing decreased engagement in their benefits programs because, frankly, employees don’t fully understand what’s being offered to them. This can be a result of poor or ineffective communication tactics — AKA radio-silence (or close to it) after OE ends. And — as a result — those brand new, shiny benefits you worked so hard to button up before OE started are misunderstood and underutilized.

So — what’s the fix? Consistent, clear and customized communication.

Consistent Communication

Maintain the relationships formed during Open Enrollment. Set the expectation for your employees and make it clear that you’re not abandoning them after Open Enrollment wraps up. This will lay the groundwork for an ongoing conversation — keeping employees engaged and anticipating consistent communication regarding their benefits and company-wide initiatives. Then, throughout the year, ensure you develop and deploy a strategic content calendar that tracks when you’ll send out relevant communications pieces. The biggest difficulty employers face is not the creation of this calendar, but carving out the time to execute the communications strategy as a whole. 

The good news? At Totem — we can help you design and implement ongoing communication strategies.

Clear Communication

Focus on clear and concise communication that doesn’t convolute already complex messages. Here’s the reality about benefits: They’re technical –– and when certain mechanics aren’t explained well… or they’re over-explained, the average employee shuts down and tunes out. (Ever asked an employee if they read that 80-page benefit guide you sent them? We’re willing to bet they didn’t.)

When it comes to communication — the more brief you can be, the better. Quick hitting and plain language messages perform best for today’s workforce. And honestly, for everyone.

Customized Communication

Prioritize your employees in your communications. Don’t make the content about you — but instead, focus on the benefit of what you’re promoting to your employees. 

When you send out mass communications, there’s always a high chance that your employees will disregard the memo, thinking it’s something that doesn’t actually apply to them. Combat this by segmenting your emails and targeting the right employees with the right message at the right time. When you do this, you can customize things like email subject lines, article titles, body copy and calls to action to appeal directly to specific groups of your employees.

Don’t slow down after Open Enrollment. 

When you stick to your consistent, clear and customized communications strategy, you’re sure to reap the benefits of that ongoing engagement. Key results include:

  • Cost savings for you and your employees. When employees are taking advantage of their benefits (and actually going to the doctor), preventative care is saving you (and your employees) money in the long run, avoiding things like unnecessary Emergency Room visits, expensive prescriptions and costly procedures and treatments.

  • Overall increased benefits education for your employees. When employees are confident in their benefit options and know how to best take care of themselves, they’re more responsible with their health. 

Learning to hack Open Enrollment to cultivate year-round engagement is a mutually beneficial tactic resulting in a healthier workforce and clear cost savings. By implementing effective communication throughout the year, you can educate your employees and get the most out of the selected healthcare plans. 

When you partner with Totem Solutions for your employee engagement and enrollment needs, you gain an extension of your company, working diligently to provide value to both employers and employees. Our proactive outreach approach includes new hire welcome calls, benefit education calls and wellness education calls. We don’t believe in cookie-cutter solutions, nor do we believe employers should ever have to handle benefits alone. (After all, how can you take care of your employees if no one is taking care of you?)

If you’re ready to take the first steps toward an engaging employee experience, contact us today

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