How to Stop Employee Procrastination in Open Enrollment

How to Stop Employee Procrastination in Open Enrollment

Happy Spring! As we look ahead to warmer weather, is your company looking ahead to a mid-year open enrollment? Then it’s time to focus on ways to stop employee procrastination. A comprehensive communications strategy that uses these 4 “S’s” will ease employee stress in the coming months.

Set a Goal

Begin with the end in mind. What actions do you want employees to take this year? What problem would you like your enrollment communications to solve? Maybe you’d like workers to get a biometric screening? Maybe you’d like people to know you’ve switched dental carriers? Maybe you’d like employees to sign up for benefits through a new website?

Whether the news is big or small, find the reason your employees need to pay attention and stop procrastinating. That reason will be the focal point of interactions.

Spell it Out

What does this mean? Benefits communications is full of acronyms: FSA, HSA, HRA, HDHP, PPO, HMO, STD, LTD, FMLA, PCP and QLE. This alphabet soup is enough to make anyone lose their appetite!

Be careful if, how, and when you use these abbreviations or you risk losing employees’ attention. If they can’t grasp the concepts, then it’s easy for them to ignore the central message. That’s when employee procrastination kicks in.

Effective communications defines these must-know terms and uses them sparingly. Remember, not everyone is surrounded by benefits all day. Try to write as if you’re explaining them to your mom, your neighbor, or anyone outside the industry. State the most important facts in broad terms as early as possible.

Attention spans in this digital age are brief, so don’t bury the lead. Workers will want to know exactly what they need to do and when, so tell them ASAP.

Select the Ideal Reader

If you have different audiences with various plans and needs, you should target communications. The goal for a manger could be different from the goal for worker on the factory floor. Or, the goal for an employee in his first job out of college could be different from the goal for an executive looking ahead to her retirement. If you speak to workers’ specific needs, it makes it less likely they will ignore the message and start that pesky procrastination cycle.

Take a cue from the marketing industry and craft audience personas or profiles of your readers. Get into the minds of employees who will receive your enrollment communications. How can you best convey your messages to these different groups?

Don’t be afraid to try new delivery methods beyond the standard benefits newsletter or presentation uploaded to the intranet. Maybe your workers will respond to a postcard or flyer they can thumbtack in their cube as a visual cue. Maybe on-the-go workers and/or spouses will appreciate a video they can access from their smartphones.

Female spouses are key allies in your fight to end open enrollment procrastination. Women in America make 80 percent of their household’s healthcare decisions. Target them with at-home mailings and online content available 24/7 outside of the company firewall.

Schedule Message Delivery

Consistent communication is important to stop enrollment procrastination. Start communicating before the open enrollment period. Small reminders that enrollment is coming up will stop employee surprise.

Once the season begins, communications is not a one-and-done strategy. Pace the rollout of your messages. Well-timed reminders throughout open enrollment will keep everyone on track.

As much as you try to prevent employee procrastination around open enrollment, some workers will sign up for benefits at 11pm on the last day. A final communications push at the end will keep that date fresh in their mind. After all, one of most common questions workers ask is, What’s the deadline?

These tips apply whether your open enrollment begins in June, October or January. A balanced communications strategy will stop employee procrastination.

 

 

 

 

 

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

5 Design Standards That Improve Your Communications

5 Design Standards That Improve Your Communications

Ever wonder why some communication materials get more attention than others? If the message is solid and the delivery method matches your employees’ preferences, your collateral should hit the mark. Does it have your logo? Check. Does it use the company colors? Check. It should grab employee’s attention, right? Well, does it include five design standards?

Although “art” can be subjective, good design is not open to as much interpretation.

Good design plays an important role in educating employees about benefits. This is especially true for “visual learners,” folks who prefer to learn by seeing, versus hearing or touching. Whether you create the design or approve a design produced by a vendor, you should understand how various elements work together. These design standards are valuable to engage the workforce with your collateral.

As a designer who has developed benefits-related and other types of communications for more than 20 years, let me share five design standards for your communications. They’re presented in an infographic, of course.

5 Design Standards for Your Communications
5 Design Standards for Your Communications
5 Design Standards for Your Communications
5 Design Standards for Your Communications
5 Design Standards for Your Communications

Aaron Roshong

Written by Aaron Roshong

Aaron creates design concepts that use our clients’ unique style guidelines and branding to visually engage their employees. He also creates custom marketing designed to engage new business prospects, and oversees our graphic design team, providing art direction and design for all media.

Trion Communications aaron.roshong@trion-mma.com