3 Tips for Brokers to Help Their Clients Achieve Success During Open Enrollment
For brokers, ensuring the satisfaction of your clients is imperative to success, especially during open enrollment.
Employers rely on your expertise to guide them and provide support through the complex world of benefits. This year especially, employers are seeking direction on how to navigate the transition to virtual open enrollment. While this offers new opportunities to be innovative, it also poses a number of challenges for both brokers and clients.
As the transition to remote work continues, a new type of workplace has emerged which has never been seen before, which in some cases, exacerbates old problems. In fact, even before the pandemic, employers often looked to their brokers for counsel.
- 92% of employers look to brokers for help with benefits communication during open enrollment
- 60% of employers also highly rely on brokers for help with year-round communication strategies
- 45% heavily rely on brokers for support on engaging their employees in regards to their benefits choices.
Clearly, navigating enrollment requires guidance, so how can you help your clients this year? Below are a few suggestions.
Employees Struggle With Engagement
Employee engagement is a struggle any time of year, but with most employees working remotely, it has become more difficult to contact staff members. In addition, many employees are feeling added stress from factors such as:
- Concerns regarding financial issues
- Family stress
- Relationship problems
- Medical needs and care
Though these are such personal matters, employers have creative and effective options available to help their employees during these times of need. Some options you can share with them include, but aren’t limited to:
- Providing on-demand HR experiences via technology
- Hosting interactive virtual benefits fairs
- Investing in benefits decision support and educational tools
Technology here is your friend. Use different formats to engage different groups because while we wish it were a one-size-fits-all, it just simply isn’t… Different engagement formats could include:
- One-on-one video meetings
- Interactive chatbots
- Text message announcements
- Pre-recorded presentations
Encouraging engagement starts with understanding employee demographics so you can help your clients connect better with their staff members.
Communication is Key
Aside from lack of engagement, employers also struggle with knowledge barriers. Most employees don’t understand the benefit options available to them. In fact, it’s been reported that ⅓ of employees are openly confused about their benefits packages, which is an area where you can provide assistance.
Constant communication is certainly important, but effective communication is better.
Your clients shouldn’t rely on a single email or message to drive engagement and awareness to benefits options. Suggest they create a series of messages before, during and even after open enrollment so that their benefit options are known and they are utilized effectively. Start with the most relevant and important details, while providing more standard information at the end.
Additionally, your client’s communication methods need to vary to account for the different demographics of their specific staff members, like we mentioned before. Suggest using different channels and formats to find the best fit overall for their organization.
This may be the first year they’re doing benefits 100% virtual, so there will be some trial and error, we guarantee it… Advise your clients to include these different mediums for communication so that employees can find all the information they need in order to make the best decision possible.
Go Beyond the Basics
When it comes to helping your clients navigate virtual open enrollment, you need to go beyond the basics. More likely than not, your clients offer more than just health benefits so showcasing everything offered by their organization in a way that describes their options is important. As mentioned, the workforce is a melting pot and every employee has different needs. Offering customized guidance to your clients about how to keep their employees informed of the best possible options can help them to make informed decisions.
Financial wellness programs have gained special attention from employees this year. The negative impact the pandemic, forest fires, and hurricanes, to name a few, has had on people’s personal finances has shifted employees’ expectations on how their employer can help them achieve financial health.
According to a study from Thrive Wallet published earlier this year, half of individuals feel unable to control the financial aspects of their lives. Furthermore, money is the number one stressor in the US with 90% of individuals saying that money has had an impact on their stress levels.
If your clients offer financial wellness programs, be sure to highlight the importance of this benefit. If they don’t, consider having a conversation about implementing one in the upcoming year. Make sure to offer programs that are comprehensive to all of their employees’ financial needs.
With TrueConnect, employees can make a quick online application for small-dollar loans. There is no credit check required and applicants can find out immediately if they are eligible. All loans have the same fixed interest rate and are paid back via small monthly payroll deductions that occur throughout the year. Given the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and its effects on the workforce, this is a great time of year to be offering safe loan solutions to employees.