Open enrollment is the Super Bowl of benefits, the culmination of a year’s worth of planning, strategizing and hard work. And, much like a championship game, open enrollment requires a solid playbook to guide you to benefits success!
In part 1 of our 3 part series, we’ll cover everything you need to plan for a successful OE.
Be sure to download our full Open Enrollment Planning Playbook for an in-depth look at how to plan, execute and measure your OE.
Establish a Baseline
Before you start setting goals and outlining tactics for this year’s open enrollment, you’ll want to first establish a baseline for measurement. What benefits do employers typically offer, and what are your company’s historical participation rates? Knowing where you’re starting is essential for setting realistic goals for where you want to go.
As you can see from this Employee Benefits Research Institute data, health insurance is still the most popular employee benefit, followed by dental insurance and retirement assistance.
Though these numbers are broad and include a variety of industries and company sizes, it’s a good starting point to benchmark your organization’s offerings.
Set Goals, Objectives & Tactics
Before you strategize your game plan for this year’s open enrollment, it’s important to first set goals and objectives. What would you like to achieve?
A few common OE goals include:
Decrease or maintain health care spend for the upcoming year
Engage employees in a new wellness program for next year
Increase employee participation in 401(k) retirement savings plan
Increase engagement with millennials with more relevant benefits
Next, match your broad goals with specific objectives. When setting objectives, be as specific as possible. Include actual numbers for dollar amounts or percentages to better measure effectiveness.
Specific OE objective examples:
Increase HDHP participation by x%
Increase voluntary benefits participation by x%
Successfully roll out and engage employees in a new program
Increase employee contribution to HSA by x%
Tactics are much smaller steps along your strategy path that can be adjusted as needed based on performance. Individual tactics will vary based on your goal and your audience(s), which we will define next. Often, tactics map out specific communication points or educational plans to help your organization meet your objectives and goals.
Establish Your Audience
Another important pre-OE consideration is to clearly define your primary audience or audiences (aka, your employee populations). This will vary greatly based on the size of your organization and your industry. Your audience will dictate your tactics and how you communicate and educate your workforce.
Why take the time to define your workforce population? Blanket communications are an antiquated approach when it comes to conveying announcements related to benefits and enrollment. Instead, take a more personalized approach by carefully crafting unique and meaningful messages to reach each employee group via the channels they prefer. Not only will this improve your response rate to communications but also enhance employee engagement across the board.
Putting it all Together
We’re almost finished with your OE planning. The last step is to take everything you’ve defined this far – your goals, objectives and audiences – and combine it all into a single cohesive strategy. From there, we’ll break down the individual tactics you’ll need to take to put your strategy in motion.
Here’s an example of how you can use this approach to map out each of your open enrollment goals, objectives and tactics:
Now you’ve got the basics to kick-start your open enrollment planning. But, this is just the tip of the OE iceberg!
Don’t forget to download our full Open Enrollment Planning Playbook for additional planning resources, templates and more!