by | Jul 15, 2021

It’s not hard to improve on the formula by remembering that you’re talking to actual people.

The bar on open enrollment communications is often set very low. The default seems to be stock photography of smiling families and models impersonating compassionate doctors, dense text studded with legalese and benefits terminology, and mind-numbing charts attempting to explain the differences between multiple plans. No wonder employees don’t jump into open enrollment with enthusiasm and excitement.

It’s not hard to improve on the formula by remembering that you’re talking to actual people. Here are three recommendations for approaches that can make your open enrollment communications more engaging for employees — with the added benefit of improving their understanding of and appreciation for the many benefits your company provides.


It takes both skill and taste level to design complex materials like open enrollment benefits guides. There’s just no substitute for talent in this department, so do what you can to enlist the best graphic designer possible. Basic design elements than can help open enrollment materials be easier for employees to digest include white space, typography that shows some variation in size and style to break large blocks of copy, graphic elements like sidebars, callouts or icons, and intelligent treatment of charts to make them less overwhelming.

When it comes to art, steer away from the cliche. For instance, one particularly overused stock photo setup is a family walking across a field with a child on the dad’s shoulders. And then there’s the classic forced diversity shot that includes several doctors, usually clicking the boxes of one Black, one Asian, one female and one older white guy. Push for something more interesting visually. (For more on the business value of design, see this McKinsey report.)


Of course your open enrollment materials will include all that benefits language and legalese that’s intrinsic to insurance offerings. But try adding a layer of human on top. We often use callouts, boxed comments or headlines to explain the more complex copy that follows. Think of it as how one coworker would describe the benefit to another, person to person instead of big company to lowly employee. We might even add a little humor, like for one vision plan where we used an emoji with a mustache and a monocle with the headline Monocles not covered. It added a little lightness to the dense explanation of when a second pair of corrective lenses is and isn’t covered.

For five tips on simplifying your open enrollment communications, you might like this Best Practices one pager. Interested in improving your open enrollment materials? Tribe can help.

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