It’s time to talk Open Enrollment, and how you’re going to help your employees get the most out of their benefits. Unfortunately, benefits aren’t the hottest topic for most workers. How do you keep everyone’s eye on the ball? Here’s some help on designing your own Open Enrollment communication strategy.

It’s more than email.

Email is one of our most important communication tools. Naturally, your email strategy is part of your overall communication strategy… but it’s not the only way to communicate with your teams. No matter how far-flung your offices and workspaces might be, your Open Enrollment communication strategy needs to reach everyone. That includes your employees sitting at a desk, or holding their company-issued smartphone in their hand (or both!) — and it also includes the employees working on sales floors, operating machinery, or working in a myriad of other positions that don’t include a desk and email.

Where are your employees getting their messaging? Bulletin boards, in-house television, your company’s online portal, an internal social media network like Yammer or Workplace: these are all places to share the Open Enrollment measure in a consistent and regular manner.

For timely reminders as deadlines draw near, text messaging is an excellent way to push out essential communications. Be careful not to overuse this option, though, or you’ll risk getting put on permanent mute.

Plan your communication dates in advance.

Open your calendar and work backwards from the last day of Open Enrollment all the way back to the day you want to begin communications — ideally, far enough in advance that employees start thinking about their benefits well before they have to make any decisions.

Consider your marketing strategy.

If your employees are your customers, how can you sell them on benefits enrollment? You can develop talking points for employees at different stages of life and career. What’s the value of setting up a 401K or an HSA to a new employee in their 20s or 30s? How can a growing family benefit from life insurance or additional coverage? Are your older employees adequately prepared for retirement or increased medical needs?

These specialized messages are good ways to ramp up interest as you near Open Enrollment. Once you’re in the enrollment period, you can concentrate on important dates and ensuring everyone meets their deadlines.

Most importantly… use consistency across all communications.

A successful communication strategy is consistent. You have to find a style, and stick to it. The reason? You prevent confusion and boost recognition. Your Open Enrollment communications should employ the same branding from soup to nuts (or in this case, from emails to bulletin board notices). Colors, fonts, type size, and even the placement of the company logo should be placed consistently. After all, you’re not the only one with access to email and a printer — and you need to be certain the correct message is highlighted and noted by all employees.

Here’s the thing: when multiple stakeholders or local management are sending out their own communications, things tend to look different — and employees will notice. Newsletters and updates formatted with different logos, programs, and typesetting create confusion, causing employees to wonder: who is this coming from, and is it even a valid communication?

There’s no room for confusion with Open Enrollment. Employees can tell, through consistent messaging and style, what’s coming from you and what’s not.

Building a style guide for Open Enrollment… without design skills.

Landing on a common design style and rolling it out through all of your communications — from memos to virtual billboards — can require a little tech know-how. If you can leverage your company’s graphic design team, great! If not, there are templates out there to make your life easier. Look for customizable templates which include a space for your logo and other necessities, like website or contact information.

If you’re in need of a one-stop digital communications package, Web Benefits Design has multiple customizable templates waiting for you! With twelve fun themes to choose from, our templates are perfect for Open Enrollment education campaigns.

Each package includes an HTML email template, a digital poster and digital flyer in PDF format to post on your company intranets — or, to print out and post on physical bulletin boards and high-traffic zones throughout your organization. There’s also a video billboard and a ten-page digital guidebook to Open Enrollment, presented in PDF format. It’s all fully customizable! Click here to learn more, see designs, and view samples of each product.

Looking for more tips on Open Enrollment communication? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to keep up with our how-to articles and best practices throughout the entire Open Enrollment season.

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