Open enrollment can be a very busy time for human resources teams, and it requires careful planning and organization to ensure the period is successful. Although it may be tempting for smaller businesses to look for ways to cut corners in order to save on benefits costs, offering high-quality benefits is an investment that is likely to pay off considerably in terms of employee retention and satisfaction.
With open enrollment just around the corner for many businesses, it is time to start considering your offering and communicating those details to employees to show them how much you value them and give your employee retention efforts a boost. Here is an in-depth look at how you can prepare for 2023 open enrollment.
Assess Your Budget
The first question you need to answer ahead of the open enrollment period is how much your company can afford to spend on its benefits package. Setting a budget helps you to choose benefits realistically. Although health benefits are among the costliest perks to offer employees, most workers expect to receive health benefits.
Companies that have smaller budgets may wish to look into affordable alternatives to group health insurance plans, such as qualified small employer HRAs. In addition, you might consider offering your employees other benefits, such as gym memberships, retirement plans, flexible work schedules, wellness programs and unlimited vacation time. Your budget will be one of the main factors in determining your offering, so this must be decided first.
Ensure Your Benefit Options Meet Your Employees’ Needs
Now is the perfect time to assess your full benefits package and determine whether it is helping your retention efforts. You want to ensure that employees see the value in your offerings if you are hoping to encourage them to stay on board. An employee benefits survey can help you determine their satisfaction levels, and it is also a good way to ask what other benefits employees would like to be offered. This feedback can prove valuable in helping you to customize your benefits package.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only transformed the way that people work; it also prompted a widespread reassessment of what is important in people’s lives, particularly when it comes to work-life balance. Although health insurance remains highly valued, employees are increasingly seeking benefits that can improve their well-being and support their mental health.
Family-friendly benefits are noting an increased demand, with 70% of employers, who were surveyed by Mercer, offering or planning to offer their employees paid parental leave this year and 53% offering or planning to offer paid adoption leave. Almost a third of big employers also intend to offer benefits such as fertility treatment, adoption and surrogacy benefits.
Some popular mental health benefits to consider offering include counseling services, prenatal leave for family needs, tools for working securely online and flexible work schedules. You can further enhance employee packages by offering voluntary plans such as pet insurance, discounted food delivery services or subsidized pre-kindergarten childcare.
Plan Your Communication Strategy
Once you have decided which benefits you will be offering, communicating them to your employees and letting them know about the open enrollment timeline is essential. Many employees do not read benefit materials, and those who do often only skim them briefly, so start early and send your message through multiple channels, including group meetings, messages and reminders.
It is also useful to offer employees the chance to sign up for one-on-one meetings with benefits specialists to ensure they understand all the offerings and get questions about their specific circumstances answered.
If you have made any changes to your benefits offering, be sure you communicate this to your employees. Experts suggest keeping this messaging simple, focusing on key themes and concepts. If your decisions were made based on employee feedback, be sure to thank your employees for providing their input in your announcement as this can demonstrate how much you value their contributions and improve morale.
Be sure to keep this line of communication open, even after your open enrollment period has ended. By providing ongoing opportunities for learning, employees will stay engaged and will be better prepared to make good choices for their health and financial wellness throughout the year.
Make Resources Available to Employees
It is essential to educate your employees about your benefit offerings, so consider offering resources such as e-mail campaigns, digital guides, videos, presentations and webinars. These work well for communicating information to employees because they can access them on their own time and refer back to them when they have any questions. Moreover, once you have established these resources, all you need to do each year ahead of open enrollment is update them with any changes that you have made.
Facilitate the Enrollment Process
Many companies are turning to virtual open enrollment, particularly given the prevalence of remote work these days. Ensure that open enrollment is easy for all of your employees by enabling access to your benefits enrollment program through computers as well as mobile devices. A one-stop platform that offers information, online applications and enrollment as a self-service option can be incredibly useful. You can add extra features, such as chat, to help people get their questions answered.
Offering the right mix of benefits has never been more important, and your company should take this opportunity to demonstrate that you are committed to your employees’ health and well-being. Starting your preparation early gives you plenty of time to research what your employees want, tailor your benefits and help employees make savvy decisions when choosing their benefits.
Request an Employee Benefits Consultation with Business Benefits Group (BBG)
Businesses that want to retain top talent and stay competitive in a hot job market need to ensure their benefits offerings are attractive. The consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG) can help you with benefit selection and every stage of open enrollment. Contact us today to set up a consultation and learn more about how we can help you ensure this year’s open enrollment is a success.