Remote workers, tight budgets and heightened awareness of health have come together to make benefits communication increasingly important this year. If you are facing a virtual open enrollment environment and unsure where to start, here are additional strategies to improve your open enrollment, engage employees and bring in the human element.

1.  Address Uncommon Questions

Be prepared for uncommon questions this season, such as:

  • What happens if my income is reduced?
  • What happens if I am hospitalized for an extended period?
  • If I die, what happens to my family?

Highlight how your benefits can address these concerns, what valued added benefits are available and how employees can choose the right options for themselves and their family.

2. Use Technology to Reduce Strain on Your HR Team

There are many resources to explore to assist you with open enrollment, such as mobile apps, virtual enrollment fairs and chat bots. Imagine sending push notifications around key open enrollment dates to cut through the email clutter. There are a plethora of creative solutions to reduce HR burden, embrace technology and find engaging solutions to drive utilization and benefits awareness.

3. Offer Information through Different Channels

  • Add in mobile apps, explainer videos or interactive videos or gamification to convey open enrollment information.
  • Divide open enrollment meetings into smaller sessions to individually address medical, dental and supplemental insurance options. This is a more digestible format for online meetings, which have a greater tendency for distraction, but still allows employees to educate themselves.
  • Incorporate a quiz or trivia game after a session to engage employees and increase information retention. Prizes or a department leaderboard may incentivize employees to engage further.
  • Create short and concise guidebooks that focus on the key points of what people need to know. Digitize the guidebooks into short interactive chapters to make it easier to digest and to share with spouses.

4.  Add in the Human Element

  • Work with your broker to provide a dedicated enrollment and communication team to help enroll employees in a one-on-one setting with a benefits counselor.
  • Give employees access to a call center enrollment with multilingual capabilities where licensed benefits experts can educate employees about their specific benefits.
  • Provide employees with videos and materials on open enrollment and then schedule small group sessions to answer questions. Compile these answers into a resource that can be shared with all employees.
  • Set up an online scheduler to give employees the option to meet virtually with the HR team
  • Use Zoom breakout rooms to discuss topics in smaller groups.

5. Share Company Messages and Build Culture

A common complaint of the remote workforce is the lack of company culture. Use open enrollment to share company-wide messages that convey key objectives, future plans, address employee concerns and reinforce key components for your organization.

Open enrollment is a unique time when all employees hear the same message from your CEO, leadership team or HR director. If you have offices throughout the country, consider adding a custom video greeting from the local leader to kick-off open enrollment on a personal note. However you approach culture in open enrollment, use this time to connect and build trust in your organization.

6. Infuse an Element of Surprise

With an increased focus on healthcare and benefits this year, add new layers to open enrollment by infusing a theme, giveaways, features or surprises to engage employees.

  • Tie in a theme – this can be humorous or focus on culture-building
  • Request team videos to share between segments to highlight volunteering, funny moments during quarantine, recent achievements or new coworkers
  • Reward employees for interacting and engaging with the event with prizes or discounts to the company store to purchase branded merchandise
  • Bring in a guest host to introduce topics, cover basic education or the keep energy up
  • Play music between segments

The Unexpected Benefits of a Virtual Open Enrollment

Employees often consult a partner during open enrollment to make the best decision for their family unit. With a virtual open enrollment, partners and spouses can join to listen, ask questions and compare plans in real-time. This equips families and partners to make informed healthcare decisions that best fit their needs.

Additionally, virtual open enrollment gives the opportunity to connect with your employees on a human level. In tumultuous times, healthcare and benefits may be on the forefront of many employees’ minds. Use this time to demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ health, family needs and safety.

Use Your Resources

Your Hays team is here to help strategize and execute on your communication plan and open enrollment strategies. Reach out with questions, concerns or ways to template your communications to ease your team’s workload.


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