Communicating beyond the window

February 11, 2016

By: Todd McLaughlin


Communicating beyond the window

February 11, 2016


With the ACA open enrollment window finally behind us, many employers and HR professionals believe that communicating benefits is over and done with, not to be picked up until we begin to draw close to the opening of next year’s window. While not as time sensitive as it is before and during the window, to be truly competitive, companies must continue to improve upon their benefits communication and recalibrate their offerings for even more success during the next window. How can employers take advantage of the enrollment off-season to make sure they are always improving communications?

Survey Employees

Employers assessing their own performance with a post-enrollment survey about satisfaction with the types of benefits offered, proper enrollment communication, and corporate involvement in offering resources can help any company make the most of next season’s open enrollment. Learning which benefits are the most important to their specific employees allows employers to make more informed benefits decisions, and incorporating that feedback into future decisions will ensure that employees feel that their feedback is recognized.

Learn how to differentiate offerings between different employees

Just as employee benefits needs change from company to company, needs also change according to age within each workplace environment. According to a Guardian Workplace Benefits Study, some of young workers’ primary concerns are financial and job security, along with work/life balance, while pre-retirees are primarily concerned with having adequate health insurance and a comfortable retirement. [1] Keeping the split between different office demographics in mind can only lead to discovering more optimized offerings.

Dedicate time to communicating properly before open enrollment

Despite employers and HR professionals’ best efforts, communication remains one of the biggest obstacles to program success. In a GuideSpark report, 80 percent of large and midsized HR professionals were recorded as believing that it’s very important for employees to understand their benefit options, yet simultaneously believe that only 60 percent of employees at their companies have that level of understanding. [2] Of HR leaders surveyed, 63 percent also listed communicating complex topics as one of the top open enrollment pain points.

With the inherent difficulties of communication in mind, it’s best for employers to create and begin executing a communications plan well in advance. Preparing resources such as webinars, electronic communications, in-person meetings and social media, and utilizing them throughout the year, gives employers a better chance of properly communicating benefits options across their entire workforce.

Open enrollment is a naturally stressful time for employers, but with proper communications after the window, they allow themselves the best shot at success in moving forward with benefits success year after year. By utilizing these practices and pairing with an organization providing optimized benefits options, employers can rest easy that they are secure, both in and out of the open enrollment window.

[1]: http://www.benefitspro.com/2015/09/16/why-not-schedule-benefits-meetings-by-age

[2]: http://www.guidespark.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/GuideSpark_Report_Open-Enrollment.pdf

Since 2003, Apex Benefits has built a reputation on providing customized, calculated solutions that aid our clients in making effective benefits decisions for their employees. We believe that a company is only as good as its employees, which is why our team works with you personally to find employee benefits plans that truly benefit your company. We’ll provide the tools, resources and expertise to aid in benefits decisions, creating a continuous conversation about strengthening your workforce and making your business better.