Tips for Writing Open Enrollment Communications

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Good communication is important for employees during open enrollment. Gregor Schuster / Getty Images

Each year, open enrollment allows employers to offer group benefits to their employees for a brief time, generally around 30 to 45 days. During this critical window, employees must be informed about the employee benefits they may sign up for, when to do this, and where to enroll. Unfortunately, many human resource teams struggle to communicate the necessary information to employees so they may miss out.

Email can be a powerful communication tool for educating employees during open enrollment periods when used right. Because it’s widely accepted and accessible as a communication tool, this can be a good way to reach all of the employees. Learn expert tips for communicating benefits during the open enrollment, so your employees take full advantage of your group benefit offerings this year.

Communicate Benefits Before, During, and After Open Enrollment

Months ahead of the open enrollment date, it’s important to have a solid communication plan for delivering the pertinent information to employees before enrollment, during the active enrollment, and once enrollment wraps up. This can be a series of emails that encourage employees to take specific actions, with links to the enrollment site and benefits information.

Assign a Central Benefits Communication Representative

Responsiveness is critical during open enrollment because employees will have countless questions during this time. Make sure to assign at least one person who will serve as the point of contact for all incoming emails from employees who have questions and concerns. It should be someone highly familiar with plan details, rates, and deadlines.

Use an Internal System for Gathering Benefit Related Information and Analytics

Does your company actively track sign-ups, partial sign-ups, and other aspects of the enrollment process? If not, then an internal system can be helpful for staying on top of enrollment management across the entire organization. Use a free email server like Outlook to set up email alerts for data changes.

Create a Series of Messaging for Weekly Touchpoints With Employees

Open enrollment can be made easier and more productive when there is a constant exchange between the HR team and employees. As part of your email communication strategy, create a series of messages that talk about health and wellness topics, the features of benefit programs, and other related matters. Send out in weekly touchpoint emails to all.

Give Managers a Weekly Account of Benefit Enrollment Efforts

It’s always a good thing to get full buy-in from managers during benefits enrollment efforts. Why? Managers can help employees to prioritize getting enrolled in their benefits for the upcoming plan year, and they can share how benefits support employee goals. Use a focused email campaign for managers during OE periods to keep them abreast of important tasks and dates.

Make Benefits Emails Fun

The open enrollment period doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be an opportunity to have a little fun. Develop emails that include some fun games like trivia questions, interesting facts about the company, and free healthy snack giveaways.

Ensure Correct Grammar and Spelling in Emails

Before sending out any benefits emails, make sure that grammar and spelling are checked thoroughly. It can ensure that no typos make their way to readers and that the emails make good sense. Typos can confuse employees, and they look unprofessional.

Use a Standard Email Template and Leave out the HTML

When developing emails for benefits communication, experts say that it’s best to stick with the standard email template and keep it simple. Stray HTML can interfere with some email reading programs, especially on mobile devices.

Write Powerful Subject Lines

Emails will only be read once they are opened. And this won’t happen if the subject line doesn’t compel recipients. When writing emails, keep a focus on creating an email subject line that will intrigue recipients to open the email with power words like “urgent,” “time-sensitive,” and “attention” can help accomplish this goal.

Use Total Reward Statements in Seasonal Emails

To help employees understand the full value of their employee benefits, use total rewards statements at least once during this quarter. It can be attached as a PDF to individual emails, or a hyperlink can be included in the email to run a total rewards statement at the employees’ convenience.