Hit The Mark for Your OE

Is the information you have to tell employees important? You bet! Easily understood? Not by a long shot.

Uncomplicating the complicated is not an easy task, but it’s well worth the effort. Employees who better understand their benefits are ones who better appreciate the benefits they have. So, let’s get started on the path to simplification!

Step 1: Be Your Own Worst Critic

Look at last year’s communications and materials with a fresh, critical eye. Better yet, through the eyes of an employee.

Let’s say your neighbor was looking through your OE materials. Would they understand most of it? Or is it written in HR-speak that’s making their eyes glaze over? Your employees are no different than your neighbor, except you need them to understand what you’re communicating.

Another trick is to ask your employees directly! (Stay with us here.) Feedback doesn’t always have to come in the form of a survey or focus group. Think simple.

Choose five random employees and ask them to comment on last year’s OE communications. Most likely they won’t remember, so be sure to bring copies with you.

See if they pick up on the key points you were trying to communicate. And if they find your messages compelling and motivating.

Step 2: Plan Bite-Size Information

If you’re sending a firehose flow of information two weeks prior to Open Enrollment, your employees will not absorb everything you’re telling them. We recommend starting communications about six to eight weeks prior to your OE start date.

Strive for a slow drip campaign that feeds bite-sized bits of information. A sample campaign for a late October enrollment may look like this…

– Teaser/kick-off announcements
– Watch for what’s to come messaging

– Weekly or bi-weekly communications with chunks of information
– Home mailer with highlights and a few important details
– Portal/website or interactive guide with deeper dive information, tools, and resources

– Meetings, webinars and benefits sessions
– Displays for enrollment to do’s and timing
– Weekly reminders to enroll (first day, one week left, last day)

Step 3: Stay on Point!

According to Unum, half of employees spend less than 30 minutes reviewing benefits before enrolling. If you have only half an hour, how do you get across the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) message?


You really have to spend time considering the message you’re putting out there. Is it going to drive the results you’re hoping for? The key is to build messaging focused only on achieving your objectives. Avoid filling headspace or airwaves with any other content than what employees need to know to make the decision at hand.

It’s Time to Change Things Up!

Put in the work now so you can achieve effective, results-generating communications. Communications that may actually be read!

Nathanial Hawthorne said it best, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”