5 Tips for Navigating Virtual Open Enrollment
The effects from Covid-19 have begun to settle across the world, but the method by which we work has been remarkably altered. Widespread work-from-home orders have even extended through the end of the year or into 2021.
Unfortunately, it has been difficult for many to adapt to this new world. In fact, a SHRM study found that 70% of employers were struggling to adapt to remote work and two out of three employers stated that maintaining employee morale was one of the largest challenges.
Effective communication between employees and employers is crucial and the fact that many employers will not be able to host in-person benefit fairs for open enrollment does not help. In times like these, benefit fairs are incredibly important to the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of employees.
Here are five tips to help navigate virtual open enrollment.
1. Survey Employees
Before considering how to communicate with your employees, it is important to remember their voices. Conduct a survey to grasp an understanding of their expectations.
Use your survey to gauge what forms of communication will be most useful. For example, consider not all employees have technology outside of the workplace. Should you choose to communicate exclusively through virtual platforms, employees will miss crucial information. Direct mail is a great way to inform employees who don’t have access to technology about their benefit offerings during open enrollment. overcome this obstacle. Alternatively, Employee Benefit Advisor references a statistic that text has a 98% open rate as opposed to a 20% open rate for emails.
Surveying your employees to discover their communication and channel preferences should be the first course of action to navigating your virtual open enrollment.
2. Take Advantage of Your Company Portal
If your organization uses a company portal, upload all of your benefits information and relevant open enrollment announcements here. This allows employees to access, review, and download all pertinent information in one place. It will also eliminate the burden of training employees on how to use new virtual platforms. Your employees should be familiar with how to use the company portal so this will reduce confusion and allow them to revisit information any time they want.
If your employees do not have the technological resources to login at home, they can download all the necessary information while visiting the office. work.
Playing to the strengths your company already has is a great way to ensure effective communication between your employees and the employers.
3. Utilize Live and Recorded Videos
Amidst the current state of the world, having the ability to pre-record or host live virtual meetings is an indispensable resource. Benefit Express reported that 75% of workers who are tech-savvy are more likely to watch videos rather than read emails.
Restructuring the open enrollment process as a virtual benefits fair may attract attention from employees leading to higher attendance, potentially 63% more employees in attendance according to WorkCast, and higher benefits utilization.Invite vendors to discuss their programs and answer employees’ questions. Virtual event planner. These groups can alleviate the workload on HR while also organizing the technology and program from start to finish.
4. Select the Best Benefits
Surveying your employees for their preferred communication strategy is important. However, surveying them to discover the best benefits is even more important. Knowing your audience is key to making the right decisions.
What benefits do employees want?
- Lower deductible healthcare plans?
- Pet insurance?
- Mental health options?
- Financial wellness programs?
- Financial coaching?
Understanding the demographic of your workforce and the benefits that may be required due to that helps to ensure that all the benefits information is helpful in meeting their unique needs.
For example, MassMutual recently discussed how 42% of employers currently offer some sort of financial wellness program while another 19% are in the process of implementing one. Employers found that finances were a major stress on employers so providing a financial wellness benefit was of high priority.
Focusing more on a comprehensive benefits package, as opposed to one-dimensional benefits, is a great way to keep your employees hooked.
5. Offer Individual Support
Roadblocks are inevitable when transitioning to virtual processes, but don’t forget to provide your employees with individual support.
The absence of in-person communication is bound to produce pressing questions for your employees, such as:
- General questions about the benefits provided
- Deeper and complex questions about how to use new technologies
- Where to access more information
- How to connect with benefits providers specifically
- Questions surrounding specific options with packages
Having a support system in place can help reduce both stress and confusion. Whether it’s personalized phone calls or live chats, providing can encourage employees to feel more comfortable asking questions.
These are unprecedented times and moving forward requires caution and attentiveness. Being there for your employees and their important questions is one of the best ways to support them during this time of transition.
For additional communication guidance, see a past blog on the topic here.