Sept: Plant the Open Enrollment Seed (+ Flu Season Is Coming)

In this blog series, we’ll help you engage with employees about their benefits using month-by-month topics, along with messaging and ideas proven to grab attention. Plus, throughout the series, you’ll find downloadable templates and examples that save you the brain drain so you can get started quickly.

This blog issue focuses on September, but our downloadable calendar gives you a full 12 months of content.

Sept: Plant the Open Enrollment Seed (+ Flu Season Is Coming)

By September, HR is in the weeds of the Open Enrollment wilderness, but employees haven’t given it a thought. In an Open Enrollment communication plan, now’s the time to get them thinking about whether their current benefits are the right fit for next year. We have the words you need to motivate them, and we know where you can point them. Plus, enrollment season also signals flu season — we can help you communicate that, too.

Employees Working Remotely?

Start early, communicate often. Check out these tips and a timeline.

Theme/Message #1: It’s Not Too Soon to Start Thinking About Your Benefits

Employees have busy lives, and they don’t have time (or brain space) for something that doesn’t affect them until October or November. Time is precious. So, tell them how they can save time…and be ready early. Who wouldn’t like to be ready early for something in this hustle-bustle world?

Start with the first message below, and weave in the other tips and tools that can help employees make a smart decision when Open Enrollment starts.

Theme/MessageHow to Deliver It
“Spend time now to save time during Open Enrollment.”Announce the dates for Open Enrollment.
Highlight any big changes they need to consider, and the decisions they’ll need to make.
 “You only get one chance a year to do this.”  
Don’t get hung up on the technicality of a “qualified life change”. You can explain that in detailed communications.  
Passive enrollment? Try this: “It’s about your benefits. Don’t just roll over.” Tell them to think about recent life changes and how well their current plan served them.
Remind them to consider other benefits that only come around once a year, too — not just medical plans.  
“Review this year’s health expenses, so you can plan better for next year.”Point employees to their carrier’s health portal, where they can log in and see their current claims and expenses.
Advise them to have that information on hand when reviewing next year’s options in a few weeks.  

If you’re ready to dive deeper into planning your enrollment communications, check out our two-part blog with tips to get their attention and connect…employee to employee.

If you’re printing posters, be sure to include a QR code so employees can easily get to the information they need. Postcards? We advise against QR codes, since it’s going through the mail system with many hands and eyes upon it.

Theme/Message #2: Flu Season Is Almost Upon Us

In the last “regular, non-pandemic” flu season of 2019-2020, 56% of U.S. employees who got sick missed 1-3 days of work, and 35% missed 4-6 days. A robust, compelling flu shot campaign can help keep your employees healthy…and at work.

Below you’ll see some clever messaging paired with impactful imagery and statistics that quickly get your point across. To reach the most employees, of course, use multiple channels, print and digital — posters, mailers/postcards, emails, table tents, banners (intranet and hanging-in-halls type), etc.

Theme/MessageHow to Deliver It
“Fight the flu!”Run a punchy campaign to encourage flu shots. Think imagery like boxing gloves, karate emojis, etc.
For posters shipping to dispersed sites, leave a write-in area for local managers to announce any details. Here’s one example.
“380,000 reasons to get your flu shot.”    Cite CDC data that says 380,000 people were hospitalized with the flu in the last “regular, non-pandemic” flu season.
For imagery, a hospital bed or a hanging IV bag would match the message.
“Take one for the team.”Remind people that the flu shot protects their whole work team.
Use imagery that immediately makes it clear you’re communicating about the flu shot, like a syringe going into an arm.  

September can be a tough month for HR communications. You’re busy with RFPs, number crunching, and meetings. Employees are clinging to the fleeting days of summer and knee-deep in back-to-school activities. We’re giving you messaging that’s easy to absorb, yet persuades them to pursue information.

Stay tuned and watch for next month’s blog with communication tips, samples, and downloads for all the phases of Open Enrollment.

As we head through 2022, you can find other blogs in this series by typing “year-round calendar” in the search area at the top of our website.

Download the year-round communications calendar — real ideas and examples