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How to Communicate Like an All-Star this Open Enrollment Season

Posted by Morgyn Cronan, Benefits Communications Specialist on August 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Let’s get real. Annual open enrollment season makes many HR teams want to run for the hills. When 49% of employees state that making health insurance decisions is stressful [1], it is crucial that employers adequately communicate and educate employees during open enrollment. To prepare you for your upcoming open enrollment season, your Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) benefits communication experts are here to equip you with six superb strategies to help you develop an all-star communication plan.

open enrollmentWhat to DO:

1. EVALUATE YOUR PREVIOUS YEAR’S OPEN ENROLLMENT

As you reflect on your previous year’s open enrollment, consider asking yourself what part of your communication strategy was a success. And, where did you fall short with your communication efforts?  Are there any aspects you should replicate or avoid? Don’t be concerned about bringing back a successful communication tactic from last year OR changing it up if you didn’t meet the needs of your employees. Work with your MMA team to learn about new communication channels or tools that you could bring to open enrollment this time around.

2. OBTAIN YOUR EMPLOYEE’S FEEDBACK

Employees who believe that their company cares about their health and well-being are 38% more engaged, 28% more likely to recommend their workplace, and 17% more likely to still be working at their current employer in one year [1]. What better way to show you value your employees than to request their feedback?

Whether it be through focus groups or electronic surveys, gathering feedback will help you understand if your employees are engaging in their benefits and what communication tools they need to better comprehend the complex content. For example, have you asked your employees how they want to receive their benefits information? Do you know how they would answer? Maybe they're looking for videos or more visuals to spruce up their learning. Marsh & McLennan Agency can help you create customized benefits surveys to help you better understand and reach your employee population.

3. MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR MULTI-GENERATIONAL WORKFORCE

Did you know that today’s workforce reflects five generations? Ranging from Traditionalists born prior to 1945 to the most recent Gen Z, its essential companies develop a unified culture by meeting the varying communication needs of employees.

Throughout the last decade there has been a major shift towards electronic communications.  60% of employees (regardless of generation) prefer to receive benefits information digitally [1], so leveraging technology platforms that provide a seamless user experience has become increasingly important. Through electronic communication, your employees can find content all in one place, rather than sorting through paper files or waiting patiently for items in the mail. MMA’s Benefits Communications offers multiple platforms for you to provide your benefits electronically such as videos, the iBenefits App and WebPortals, FlippingBook and more!

And, make sure you DON’T:

1. NEGLECT DATA ANALYICS

When you leverage data analytics, you can better understand what communication methods are resonating most with your employees. With iBenefits, you can obtain usage reporting to understand how well your employees are engaging with mobile communications. Brainshark allows you to not only track which employees are viewing your Open Enrollment or New Hire presentations, but what benefit topics gain the most interest. There are several other data sets that could be helpful for positioning your benefits or to maximize outreach to your people. From there, you can focus your communications around topics that matter the most to your employees!

2. STOP COMMUNICATING AFTER OPEN ENROLLMENT ENDS

According to a survey conducted by Health Advocate, 41% of employees are concerned about   infrequent communication about benefits [2]. It’s important to keep your employees engaged year-round with their benefits rather than just during Open Enrollment. A great tactic is to target benefit topics that are appropriate for a specific time of the plan year. For example, did Open Enrollment just wrap up? Remind employees to set their preventative care appointment now! Is the end of the plan year in sight? Remind employees to not let their unused benefits go to waste. Your MMA team is passionate about providing you resources to keep you connected with your   employees all year long.

3. GO AT IT ALONE

Effective communication isn’t easy. And, when you add in insurance and employee benefits, it’s even more challenging. With your company’s culture and specific needs in mind, your MMA team will help quarterback your benefits communication strategy during open enrollment and throughout the year. With our suite of multimedia, multi-generational communication resources, you can better educate your employees, position the value of your benefits program effectively and equip your Human Resources team with stellar communication tools.

To learn more about MMA’s Benefits Communication consulting, give us a shout. Click Here!


[1] The 2017 ALEX Benefits. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from https://www.meetalex.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-ALEX-Survey-Report.pdf

 [2] MetLife. (2017). Work Redefined: A New Age of Benefits. 35-35. Retrieved Nov. & Dec., 2017, from https://benefittrends.metlife.com/media/1382/2017-ebts-report_0320_exp0518_v2.pdf

Topics: Employee Benefits

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