3 Things You Should Communicate to Employees After Open Enrollment

Open enrollment was a challenge. You used every tool you have — social media, posters, postcards, a website, managers, your sense of humor and patience—to get the word out about your benefits programs and meet your goals.

Here’s a thought: Keep doing that.

Before you call us crazy, consider this: The next best communication time period after open enrollment is the start of the plan year. For most companies, that’s January 1.

Don’t lose the momentum

Your employees are talking about their benefit programs and probably have questions. You’ve established some best communication practices from your multi-platform approach during open enrollment. And you have your communication strategy and key messages still fresh in the noggin.

We understand you’re tired. Open enrollment took a lot out of you. But if you wait until later in the year to start communicating with employees again, you’ll create a big gap and lose that great momentum you worked so hard to create.

Use these three tips to help you take advantage of your employees’ attention and interest in January and keep the communication wheels moving forward:

1. Tie messages to programs you launched during open enrollment

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?

Remind them how to use these healthy programs year round. Or just let them know about benefits they may have missed. You gave your team a lot to digest during open enrollment. January is a good time to tell employees more about how the programs you’re offering can help them and their families.

2. Capitalize on the New Year’s resolutions cliché

It seems a little clichéd to use New Year’s resolutions as a motivator for your wellness programs, but it’s what everyone is talking about. Your employees are hearing about New Year’s resolutions in the news, from their friends, on their Facebook. Why not ride that wave?

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Your wellness programs are your company’s way of helping them meet their health goals for the new year. Read more about how to make your New Year’s resolutions messages resonate with your team.

3. Use social media to keep the dialogue going year round

Your January communication efforts don’t have to match your open enrollment efforts. With the right social media tools, you can communicate frequently and effectively in January and throughout the year.

Use Twitter to send out quick reminders and tips. Write a blog and start a two-way dialogue with employees about what matters to them. And add links to videos and podcasts that employees can download.

Download our Social Media Poster for more information on how to use these tools for benefits communication. And when you’re ready to dive into social media and benefits strategy, check out our Social Media Starter Kit.

Come see Jennifer Benz speak on 3 Steps to Success: How Benefits Can Help Drive Your Strategic HR Transformation at the TLNT Transform conference in Austin, TX Feb. 26-28, 2012. Click here for more information on attending this event. 

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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