3 Reasons to Keep Communicating AFTER Open Enrollment Ends

During annual open enrollment, your employees are reading and hearing a lot about the importance of using their medical plans, participating in wellness programs, and staying ahead of illness.

And then open enrollment ends. Cue the chirping crickets.

Whether it’s fatigue, or just habit, too many employers stop communicating once enrollment is over. This, unfortunately, can be a momentum killer.

3 good reasons to keep communicating

You hustled for months before enrollment to ensure your employees had all the information and tools they needed to make smart decisions. It worked. The majority of your employees are now talking about their benefits with their families.

Here are three reasons why you need to continue to communicate.

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  • You’ve introduced programs or plans that may still be new to employees. Did you launch a consumer-directed health plan for the first time? Educate your employees about how it works and how to make the most of their Health Savings Account. Or maybe you introduced a new online wellness program? Let them know how to sign up, and talk to them about the benefits of participating. Your employees need to know more about these new programs or plans so that they can get the full value of these benefits.
  • Your employees expect bite-sized information. People want information that is actionable and easy to digest. Instead of sending your employees tons of messages once or twice during the year, sending smaller pieces in the form of reminders, tips and updates throughout the year makes this information much more useable.
  • You want to keep employees engaged. In our Inside Benefits Communication Survey, 78 percent of employers reported that their biggest challenge is keeping employees engaged year round. The only way to do this is to communicate throughout the year. As your ongoing communication continues, employees will come to expect and seek out guidance, tips, and resources from you.

An investment for next year

Keep communicating, just as you have the past few months. Some of you may already have the tools and technology in place that makes year-round communication easier than ever — a benefits website outside the firewall, a blog, and social media.

If you don’t have these resources available to your employees yet, consider them as an investment for next year. The payoff to employees and your organization will be great.

And next year, when your open enrollment starts to rear its head, you’ll be primed and ready to take it on.

Jennifer Benz is Chief Strategist and Founder of Benz Communications, a San Francisco-based consultancy that focuses on custom, comprehensive benefits and HR communications services. Jen is an active member of the Council for Communication Management, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Northern California Human Resources Association and Women in Consulting. Contact her at jen@benzcommunications.com.

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