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Avoid Zombie Open Enrollment

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Don’t go into “zombie” mode as you start thinking about open enrollment communications! It’s tempting just to dust off last year’s materials and move forward on auto pilot, zombie like, especially if you don’t have a major change to communicate.

Annual enrollment, however, is a great opportunity to reinforce the value of your benefits program. Use your creative brainpower to come up with new ideas to get your employees’ attention and message across.

Employee Benefit News (EBN) recently asked its readers—plan sponsors, broker/advisers, consultants and benefit providers—to send their advice, experiences and best practices on open enrollment communications.

Here’s a sampling of their ideas. To check out all of the submissions (don’t worry, they’re short), go to  http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/preparing-for-open-enrollment-part-1-2712584-1.html and get your creative juices running.

  • SMS texting to remind employees of enrollment deadlines.
  • Ten-minute “Tool Box Talks” to cover open enrollment topics (particularly well suited for a manufacturing environment)
  • Educational “Web Day” with plan vendors conducting demos and getting employees up and running on their websites. One client used a Spiderman theme, re-used Halloween decorations and handed out Spiderman door prizes.
  • Old fashioned “walk around” to talk up open enrollment and discuss changes. One client saw a 20% increase in FSA participation after they visited with employees at their cubicles at all of the company locations.
  • RSS feed that employees can use to automatically receive open enrollment blogs in their Outlook or on their browser.
  • Targeted topic communications (e.g., FSAs or HSAs) in advance of open enrollment.

Save “zombie” imitation for Halloween and think “new” for 2012 open enrollment.