Shifting Gears after a Successful Open Enrollment

Shifting Gears after a Successful Open Enrollment

It’s November. That means you can see the light at the end of the open enrollment tunnel. Or maybe your company’s already driven clear through.

Your communications strategy got you through this hectic season. But what happens at the end of the year? Although your human resources staff and communications team deserve a break, there is still work on the road ahead.

Communicate often. Don’t slam the brakes because OE season has passed. After the enrollment ends but before the new plan year starts is a great time to educate your employees and start thinking about the next journey.

According to an LIMRA study, just 38% of companies surveyed even have a formal benefits communications plan. Of that group, 65% measure their plan’s success. Measurement is a useful tool to create engaged healthcare consumers. Employees who think their companies communicate benefits well have increased loyalty and engagement.

Survey your employees now, when open enrollment is still top of mind. Some possible questions to ask:

  • Did you feel like you received enough information about available benefits?
  • What information was the most useful in helping you make decisions?
  • How would you like open enrollment messages delivered?
  • What could we do better next year?

Answers can be used to craft next year’s open enrollment campaign. Employee feedback sparks conversation, whether you use an outside benefits communications firm, like Trion, or handle your own communications.

One question to ask yourself is: What can we do to rev the engines for 2018? Create targeted communication pieces to explain to employees how and why to use their benefit. You already showed your employees how to choose benefits. Now, educate them on how to use those benefits. Take a lesson from employee benefits communications firms. They help clients teach employees about the available benefits and wellness programs year-round.

Introduce a communications plan around new benefits

Is your company introducing a high deductible health plan with an HSA next year? Now is the time to teach employees about what medical expenses do and do not qualify for their HSA funds. It’s their hard-earned money in that health savings account, help them make the most of it. Are you offering an EAP program for the first time? Remind workers about its online resources and counseling services to help cope with relationship and financial stressors and other concerns.

Remind employees of flexible spending account conditions

Can employees roll over funds? What is the deadline to use those rollover funds? Is there a grace period to incur claims? Craft communications pieces that teach the answers. If employees had a lot of money remaining in their 2017 accounts, educate them on making smarter choices for next year.

Talk to employees about wellness programs

January is a popular time for health-related resolutions, but many people think about their goals now. Create communications pieces that guide employees on the path to wellness. Remind them about reimbursements for gym memberships offered through your insurance carriers. Include education about how to sign up. Help workers start off 2018 by kicking their smoking habit. Let workers know about free or low-cost smoking cessation programs from the insurance company or EAP.

Simple, specific messages are key to post-enrollment communications. Lists and infographics are great uncluttered and engaging options. An infographic that shows ways the EAP can help employees destress or a list of the Top 5 Ways to Use Remaining Healthcare FSA Funds are two examples.

Tailor messages to the right audiences. Employees enrolled in a PPO for example, don’t care about how to take advantage of their HSA. Likewise, those with only a dependent care FSA don’t need reminders about rollover funds.

Use the information from your post-enrollment survey to choose the right vehicle. How do employees prefer to get benefits messages—flyers mailed to their homes, emails sent to their work address, in-person events? Meet employees where they will be most receptive to your message.

You can pat yourself on the back for a successful open enrollment season. You can also assess where the path was smooth and where the road was bumpy. Take this time to assess the highs and lows of 2017’s open enrollment. And make a plan to drive towards something bigger and better in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danielle Love

Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications Danielle.Love@trion-mma.com

Your Employees are Hungry for Better Benefits

Your Employees are Hungry for Better Benefits

It has become rare to eat a meal with friends without having at least one person request modifications to their dish. More restaurants offer build-your-own options, from salads to stir-fry to the traditional Korean dish, bibimbap. This desire for customization goes further than food. People are looking for it in their jobs as well.

People want jobs they can customize to complement their lifestyle. For companies to stay competitive in the job market, they need to offer such flexibility.

Flexible Work

Many employees have demanding responsibilities at home and at work. Trying to balance it all can become overwhelming, resulting in low quality work or missed assignments. Letting employees choose their own work schedule or work remotely helps them balance their responsibilities. This improves job satisfaction and productivity and reduces absenteeism.

Employees who have workplace flexibility achieve more, are happier at work and are less prone to burnout and psychological stress. Employees want work flexibility.

  • 51% of employees would switch to a job that allows them flextime.
  • 37% of employees would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time.
  • 42% of employees would take a lower-paying job if it offers more work flexibility.
  • Some employees are even willing to leave their current jobs for a series of temporary jobs, just to have flexible hours.

Flexible Benefits

Sixty-nine percent of full-time employees are not completely satisfied with their current benefits. With five generations in the workplace, it’s easy to see how one benefit plan can miss the needs of employees who are in different stages of their lives. Tuition reimbursement may be popular with Millennials, but how relevant is it to Baby Boomers who are looking ahead at retirement? How about offering some flexibility with your benefits?

  • Flexible Benefit Plans: Employers can offer core benefits (salary, health insurance, and retirement). They can add optional choices like life insurance or dental insurance. Costs for optional benefits can either fully paid by employers or shared with the employees.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts: Employers can offer flexible spending accounts where employees deposit pre-tax dollars to spend on child care or transportation. Employers can also contribute to these funds.
  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Instead of a division between vacation days and sick days, employers can offer a bank of total paid time off. This prevents healthy workers from getting “penalized” because they are not using sick days and discourages employees from calling-in sick for a day off.

Flexible Environment

Not every company can offer flexible schedules or flexible benefits to their employees. All companies can create flexible environments to complement their employees’ lifestyle and values. Here are some perks your company can offer to employees:

  • Casual dress code
  • Pet-friendly office
  • Summer hours
  • Wellness programs with discounted gym memberships or on-site yoga classes
  • Transportation or parking reimbursement
  • Volunteer day

Flexibility is important to attract and keep talent in this competitive job market. Remember to keep your company’s culture, values, and operations in mind to balance your with your employees’ wants.

Anna Li

Written by Anna Li

Anna is an internal communications specialist. Working with key internal stakeholders, she develops and executes the internal communications plan for Trion. She also manages the Trion intranet to help foster greater collaboration and engagement between employees.

Trion Communications Anna.Li@trion-mma.com