Although employees enroll in benefits within a span of days, planning for your annual open enrollment period begins weeks (months, really!) in advance. 

12 weeks prior to Open Enrollment

8-10 weeks prior to Open Enrollment

  • Reach out to vendors to gather information and updates.
  • Update your benefits guide with new benefits, dates and things to know for open enrollment.
  • Send out Save the Date communications. This may be an email, a postcard or a flyer, but we always recommend that at least one piece is sent to the homes since spouses/partners are typically part of the benefits selection process.

6-8 weeks prior to Open Enrollment

3-4 weeks prior to Open Enrollment

  • Send out the benefits guide, employee newsletter, FAQs and any other materials that are part of your open enrollment communications.
  • Highlight new benefits and changes—be direct and clear so employees understand the changes and how it impacts them. 
  • Send out talking points and FAQs to managers—they are often the first stop for employees when questions arise.

During Open Enrollment

  • Educate employees about their benefits, available tools and enrollment deadlines. 
  • Remind employees about OE deadlines—make sure employees understand that if they don’t enroll, they can’t elect benefits again until the next year or have a qualifying life event. 
  • Monitor online questions and adjust communications as necessary.

After Open Enrollment

  • Celebrate that you made it through—a lot of work went into open enrollment!
  • Communicate when employees can expect to receive any new ID cards.
  • Debrief about open enrollment—goals, results, highlights, lessons learned, etc. All of this will help lay the groundwork for the following year.
  • Consider a short employee survey to gauge the successes and gaps in communication.
  • At the beginning of the year, communicate benefit reminders like preventive care, ID cards, EAP, etc.

Want a quick, printable reference guide? Download it here!

Benefit Communications Report: Insights Into What Matters

We have a pulse on the state of benefit communications, and you can too! Learn the top three challenges facing employee benefits professionals, common communication tools, and how to measure success.

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