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Updated April 2022

As you begin planning for your company’s next benefits open enrollment, the best place to start is with last year’s process. Did you meet your goals? What kind of feedback did you get from employees? What communication tools were the most well received? 

Plan Your Work 

From there, it’s helpful to evaluate your workforce: How has your workforce changed? Are most employees back in the office? Or is it a hybrid with some in person and others virtual?  

And your benefit offering: Are there new benefits being offered that are unfamiliar to employees and need more explanation? Are there under-utilized benefits? Are there benefits that continue to be a common source of misunderstanding for employees? 

The answers to these questions provide insight on what to focus on and the ways in which you can deliver your communications. If you don’t have clear answers to all of these questions, consider surveying employees—especially if many are still working from home. The insights you gather will help improve how you communicate. Use a short online survey or conduct virtual focus groups to hone in on five key topics:

  • Employees’ preferred method of communication (email, text, website, direct mail, etc.)
  • Ease of understanding benefits choices, costs and enrollment instructions
  • Ease of enrollment process (whether online, phone or in-person)
  • What employees value most about benefits
  • Questions and concerns employees have about benefit plans

Work Your Plan 

With that information collected, you will be set to start mapping out a more effective communications strategy. Some tactics we have seen successful are:  

Armed with this information, you can map out a more effective communications strategy, which may include:

  • A mix of communication tools and timing 
  • Personalized communication with current plan elections
  • Decision-making tools to help employees choose a plan that is best for them
  • Videos to help explain complicated benefits information (i.e., HSAs, high deductible health plans, FSAs)

Pro tip: Open enrollment communications will always be more effective if they are a part of a larger benefits communications plan that consistently occurs year-round. Ongoing communication efforts can improve understanding and decrease costs to employees and your company. It proves to employees that your organization really prioritizes about their health and well-being—and that will benefit both you and your employees.

Want to chat more? Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com or follow us @westcomm on LinkedIn for more insights.

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