For the past two years, more companies than ever before have conducted virtual Open Enrollment, and not all by choice. For some, this may have been the status quo. For others virtual meetings were a huge shift in process, communication, and culture. Now, with fall just around the corner, plans are being formulated as to how to manage the upcoming Open Enrollment season. Are remote, virtual meetings the way to go? Can we continue to get past screen fatigue to engage our valued workforce during this important time? The good news is that we have more experience than ever before with various Open Enrollment formats. Going forward, we are all better equipped with actual experience to aid in deciding which is best this year. Regardless of your questions, we’ve got answers–and some helpful tips to make your 2023 Open Enrollment a success.
A successful Open Enrollment starts with great planning. While there are certainly compliance standards and best practices that apply to every company, it is important to remember that every employer and its population are different. Think about your employees, your group size, and your benefit offerings. Keep in mind, especially, any changes you might need to communicate. With these factors in mind, work with your team and Employee Benefits Advisors to develop a program and flow that will work for your staff and administration.
In the recent past, many employers have hesitated to make any changes, and we’ve already seen some employers express a willingness to make some changes to their insurance packages this year. Even so, time will tell if benefit changes cause employers to want to conduct meetings in person this year, or if they will decide that virtual formats will serve them well?
Depending on what is best for your organization, you can choose an Open Enrollment that is in-person, hybrid, or completely remote.
- In-Person: A live, in-person Open Enrollment session may work for your organization, especially if you have been planning to bring everyone together. After a couple of years of pandemic-required separation, employees may jump at the opportunity to connect with your organization’s leaders and coworkers. An annual benefits meeting can be paired with other types of initiatives to gather as well. At the same time, for our ever-increasing remote workforce, some employees may find that in-person all-staff meetings are next to impossible.
- Hybrid: When implementing a blend of in-person options and virtual formats, first consider which “Remote” ideas to incorporate (listed below). Next decide on the types of in-person interaction would be best for your population. Are you able to have all-staff meetings, or do you need employees to meet in smaller groups to avoid disruptions in production? Are there some employees who will be best served by meeting in-person, while others will need to go through Open Enrollment virtually? These are important things to consider before coming up with your final plan.
- Completely Remote: This option should still include carefully planned written communications, brochures and reminders. Live virtual meetings can be productive if managed well, though technical difficulties and a lack of attention to virtual meeting etiquette can often get in the way. And actually, it can be effective to have a pre-recorded presentation that can be viewed “on demand”, so that employees can view when they have time.
- On-Demand Communications Only: In fact, we have seen employers eliminate a “live” meeting all together! Instead, they have replaced live gatherings, whether virtual or in-person, with a communication campaign that is varied and effective. This might include a pre-recorded presentation as well as benefits brochures, booklets, emails, payroll stuffers, etc.
Regardless of which options you choose, education is the foundation for adoption. By offering clear instructions and helpful tips you can increase employee engagement and awareness. At Newfront, we’re here to help you design and implement an effective plan customized just for you. A seamless, effective Open Enrollment process awaits! Contact your advisor if you have any questions.
About the author
Principal & Employee Benefits Specialist
As Principal and Employee Benefits Specialist, Charity Guerrero is celebrating twenty years as a licensed Employee Benefits Expert, specializing in consulting with nonprofit organizations as well as charter schools and private schools. Connect with Charity on LinkedIn.
The information provided is of a general nature and an educational resource. It is not intended to provide advice or address the situation of any particular individual or entity. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. Newfront shall have no liability for the information provided. While care has been taken to produce this document, Newfront does not warrant, represent or guarantee the completeness, accuracy, adequacy, or fitness with respect to the information contained in this document. The information provided does not reflect new circumstances, or additional regulatory and legal changes. The issues addressed may have legal, financial, and health implications, and we recommend you speak to your legal, financial, and health advisors before acting on any of the information provided.
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