Employers have had a lot to deal with this year. Now that the year is winding down, there’s one more thing to deal with: open enrollment.Here are five ways to make this year’s open enrollment a success.

Create a Timeline

Time has a way of getting away from us. Avoid missed deadlines and last-second panic by creating an open enrollment time-line before the process even starts.

  • Create a schedule of events and reminders for employees.
  • Don’t just send out notices at the very beginning and very end of open enrollment – space everything out.
  • Make sure employees know the enrollment deadline.
  • Consider posting a daily count-down.

Engage Your Workers – Even if They Are Remote

It’s a head scratcher. Open enrollment is important to your employees – but actually getting them to engage in the process can be like pulling teeth.Engaging remote employees can be especially tricky.Keep them involved by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid of over-communicating.
  • Provide information in a variety of formats to appeal to the wide range of employees’ family status and learning styles on your team.
  • Ask supervisors to personally check in with each team member to gauge how they’re feeling about the process. Proactively seek feedback so you can adjust early if needed.

Embrace Your Digital Tools

Are you still relying on thick envelopes stuffed with dense benefits information? Your employees probably don’t even read these materials. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 80% of organizations say employees don’t open or read materials.

New solutions are needed – and technology can supply them. Digital tools can provide a way to educate employees and engage remote workers.Considering using the following options:

  • Online portals with interactive features•Webinars that cover benefits in formation
  • Video conferencing sessions to go over plan information
  • Digital plan comparison tools
  • Emails, text messages and other digital communication methods

Be sure that your enrollment technology functions well remotely, and that technical assistance is readily available to help your team navigate through the system and troubleshoot any issues that arise. You don’t want them to abandon the process.

Barry Cohn - Vice President of Benefit Advisory Services - Image Text: Email: barry@heffins.com, Phone: 213-785-8091, URL:www.heffins.com, "I help companies with 25 to 2000 employees become Employers of Choice providing employee benefits solutions and benefits compliance."

Facilitate Good Decisions

According to SHRM, 60% of employees say that benefits are a very important part of job satisfaction.If you want satisfied employees next year – and you do – you need to help them make good decisions now.

  • Provide plan options that fit their diverse needs.
  • Supply easy-to-use tools that let them compare benefits and costs.
  • Break down plan information into bite-sized packets that can be easily understood.

Welcome Questions

Your employees are stressed about their benefits, and they want your help. That’s what SHRM says surveys have revealed – 55% of employees want help, and 49% says benefits decisions are very stressful and it’s not too surprising. After all, this is a high-stakes decision.Employees might be shy about asking for help, though, especially if they don’t know who to ask.

  • Make yourself available for questions. Tell employees when and how they can reach you for help.
  • Hold a Q&A session.•If you keep getting the same questions, put together a FAQ and send it out.
  • Check in with employees one-on-one to see if they have any questions.
  • Remember to check in with remote employees, too.