You can make it easier for them by making your communications more useful and meaningful. Improving their understanding of your benefits can also help them be better stewards of the organization’s collective healthcare spending.
Here are five suggestions for how to make your open enrollment communications more helpful for employees:
Translate legalese into human speak
What’s a qualifying life event? Is there a difference between out-of- pocket and deductible? The terms that are commonplace in the HR world can go right over the head of regular folks. You can’t get rid of all the benefits terminology, but you can explain it in more everyday terms. We recommend adding callouts, boxed comments or subheads that translate the more complex topics into conversational language.
Shortcut their action items
Some employees will want to educate themselves on all their possible choices and discuss the options at home. Others may not want to make any changes to what they had last year, and just want you to show them where to sign. Help both groups by outlining a clear list of the actions they need to take. Include this simple to-do list in all the relevant communication channels.
Address their personal life stage
Different benefits will be more relevant for employees in different stages of life. Young professionals may need to be educated about the importance of disability insurance and the benefits of starting retirement savings early. Older employees with aging parents may like to know about your eldercare options. And those who adopted a dog during Covid may be interested to know you offer pet insurance.
Raise awareness of hidden benefits
Does your organization offer benefits that few employees take advantage of? Before Covid they may not have thought twice about the EAP, but now they might be interested in counseling. If you offer transgender-inclusive healthcare plans, or fertility, adoption, and surrogacy support, even employees who may not need those inclusive benefits may appreciate that the company offers them.
Educate them on using benefits wisely
This is a win-win that can save both the employee and the company money. Help employees understand how to best access care — before they need it. For instance, they might mistakenly go to a doctor that isn’t on their plan, and then be blindsided by the expense of going out of network. And when they cut their hand open slicing an avocado, they probably won’t take the time to research the cost difference between going to the ER or the nearest urgent care.