Open Enrollment, Seriously? Yes! And Here’s What You Need to Do Now

It’s a beautiful day here in Michigan! 75 degrees and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. In the north, we get only a limited time to enjoy summer, so when it finally arrives you better believe I’m taking full advantage! (For, me that’s tending to my flowers and doing some yard work.)

What’s my point? The last thing you probably want to be doing right now is brainstorming ways to prep for open enrollment!  But guess what? — you don’t have to because, while I’m still here in the office, I’m going to do it for you, so you (and I) can spend a little more time enjoying this great summer weather!

Here then is my list of Important OE Stuff You Should Be Doing Right Now:

Schedule employee roundtable meetings to get the feedback you need on the last benefit design.

Make it fun. Provide an ice cream sundae station! It will work twofold: you’ll get the feedback you need to start your next design, and people love ice cream! You connect talking about benefits with having a positive experience. Simple psychology is the best psychology!

Do a mid-year follow-up with your benefits broker.

They should already be on top of this and begging you to go out to lunch, or go golfing, but if they haven’t, remind them. Specifically, this is a great time to look at your brand-name drug utilization and talk about some strategies to increase generic use and reduce this cost to the organization.

Executive cost foreshadowing should be happening right now.

At this point in the year, your broker can have a pretty good guess at where your new premiums are going to come in and what this might mean to your new benefits design. Schedule a meeting with the C-suite to give them some insight now so they’re prepared when budgeting season comes. The best way not to shock an executive is to get to them early in the process.

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Deliver your own “Summer Tips and Tricks”

Summer seems to be the time when people find their way to the emergency room when maybe the could have gone to urgent care. This are also a great time to highlight wellness initiatives since we are all trying to get into those swimsuits before vacation! Simple reminders like these save the organization money and keep your most important messages top of mind to your employees.

Schedule an OE marketing session before all the summer vacations start.

As benefit pros we spend a lot of time and care figuring out what to say to our employees. What we tend to figure out too last minute is how we want to market these changes to our employees. Summer is a great time to not only think about the how, but to play around with some new ideas. What if you texted employees tips about OE on top of emailing them? What if you decided to send postcards to everyone’s home? Now’s the time to figure out what you want to try — and establish a schedule for getting it done in time.

(Speaking of schedules, if you want even more ideas on what to be doing now and in July for OE, check out this excellent post—What to Do 12-16 Weeks Before OE, by the folks at Jellyvision.)

Anyway,  I really do believe you can never be too prepared for Open Enrollment. A little extra effort now will lead to a great experience for you and your team come fall—and let you have more fun this summer, knowing you’re ahead of the game.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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