Open Enrollment is often more than just a sign-up period for benefits — it’s a change management opportunity. Done right, OE communications can prepare and support employees through what is often a rather personal, and even stressful, decision-making process.
With summer upon us, you may now be finalizing the benefits changes you’ll need to communicate in the upcoming OE season. Common changes could include migrating to a new healthcare plan or vendor, introducing a high-deductible healthcare plan, or rolling out an incentive-based wellness initiative.
As you’re building your OE game plan, our HR communications experts recommend the following strategies to help you grab attention and get your employees engaged in — and maybe even excited about — the opportunity to fine-tune their 2019 benefits selections.
1) Theme It
Now’s the time to channel your inner Don Draper! Treat your OE communications like a full-on marketing campaign, with a fresh thematic that carries across all your materials and channels. Get creative with relevant imagery, a memorable call to action and unexpected tactics (from elevator and floor clings to desk drops) that make your message impossible to ignore.
2) Distill It
Just as a PowerPoint crammed with bullets and small-font copy will put a room to sleep, many benefits communications fall victim to information overload. It’s time to forgo the boring industry jargon and text-heavy presentation. The most engaging OE communications manage to translate and distill complex benefits information through a combination of clever design, bold graphics, concise content and plain English.
3) Communicate the Why
There’s often so much information to communicate during OE that both HR professionals and employees become overwhelmed. But simply regurgitating a laundry list of plan information to meet compliance requirements won’t cut it, especially if you’re introducing a change. Be transparent and upfront. Employees should be told why the change is occurring and given enough time to prepare, especially if certain benefits are going away or costs are increasing.
4) Mix It Up
Today’s OE toolbox must accommodate not only different learning styles, but also different communications preferences and life stages. Is your workforce spread across both a corporate office and a factory floor? Do you have entry-level new hires as well as employees approaching retirement? The best way to cover your bases is to use a variety of communication vehicles across print, digital, video and mobile throughout the OE period.
5) Create Irresistible Packaging
Employees are bombarded with email in their inboxes and junk mail in their home mailboxes every day, so your OE communications must stand apart. With a little creative thinking, even the tightest budgets can deliver eye-catching, action-driving packaging that piques employee curiosity. In fact, we helped one client increase OE engagement simply by changing from an opaque white envelope to a see-through one.
Need a Little Help With That?
We have lots of ideas! Write On Target, Inc. is a full-service HR communications agency specializing in strategic, creative communications. We work as an extension of your team to simplify complex information for you and your organization’s employees nationwide. From new policy/program rollouts to total rewards statements, and from new hire orientations to Open Enrollment campaigns — our team of pro strategists, writers and designers does it all. Whether you’re looking for a little extra help or a fully outsourced solution, Write On Target is your experienced and cost-effective partner for all your HR communications needs.