Changes, chaos and confusion. That is what tends to come to employees (and employers) minds when open enrollment season comes barreling through the doors this fall. But why wait until the autumn air settles to start the ever-feared benefits tango? The fact is – you shouldn't! It's never too early to start thinking about how you are going to tackle open registration communication efforts. Here are five tips on how to keep calm and effectively disseminate your information-laden messaging.
- 1.Mold the messaging to the three C's
Clean, clear and concise. We know that there is a large amount of benefit and enrollment information to pass along to employees, with very little time to do so. Employees themselves only spend about 30 minutes or less reviewing and enrolling in their benefits plan. Don't panic – this time limit shouldn't be sensed as a challenge. When communicating information about open enrollment, use laymen's terms and avoid jargon whenever possible. The simpler the information, the less questions employees will have, making the process seem less daunting.
- 2.Make the information 'easy-to-swallow'
As we mentioned, open enrollment can be confusing. With so much detail, and important detail at that, it can be frustrating when it all happens at once. Sending that usual lengthy email blast or newsletter is just asking for information overload to set in. Avoid overwhelming your employees by slowly spoon-feeding them the material. Bite-sized chunks of counsel, like infographics, instructional videos, or short intranet updates of
"How-Tos'' or simple facts, carry more weight than their wordy precursors.
- 3.Reach out early – and often
It's never too early to start thinking about how to talk 'open enrollment-ese' to your staff – thus reiterating the timeliness of this article! This is especially important if you are expecting major changes to your benefits plans, but it is still just as valuable to encourage pre-open enrollment questions or concerns, as well as to serve as a reminder about the process in general. Once you get the ball rolling, be sure to not let it fizzle. Reach out as often as possible with resources, hotline links, frequently asked questions or explanatory videos or articles that the employees can utilize.
- 4.Multiple channels of communication are necessary
A struggle that seems to be constantly nipping at employers' heels is this: how are we going to accurately and effectively reach our staff? The answer is simple: do not stop at just one solution. By taking advantage of all the various channels of communication out there, the likelihood of that information reaching, and resonating, with your employees increases greatly. This is especially true when it comes to explaining benefits and plans to a confused team – so repeating the message on different platforms is a must! Check back on https://www.linkedin.com/company/tipton-communications to read our article next week on how employers can utilize video to communicate to their staff during the open enrollment season.
- 5.Encourage employee feedback
Letting your employees feel as if they have the ability to ask questions or elicit feedback during the open enrollment season is an important aspect to the process, for both the employer and the employee. As an employer, you will then be able to take the comments and design a better experience based on needs and wants that may have otherwise been overlooked. As for the employees, they will feel as if they have more control in the process, and thus be more receptive to communication efforts, with an overall reduced feeling of puzzlement.
Overwhelmed with the Open Enrollment process? Let Tipton take the burden off your hands. At Tipton, we provide strategic open enrollment communications that could help boost your employees' satisfaction with their benefits and compensation. Visit us at www.tiptoncommunications.com for more information.