How to Rock Open Enrollment Communications in 2024

December 5, 2022

[Last Updated: February 2024]

Gearing up for Open Enrollment? As internal communication experts, we’ve seen a lot of good (and not-so-good) HR comms campaigns... Please believe us when we say that benefits don’t have to be boring! 

If you're looking for help with communicating the nitty gritty, the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) maintains an excellent guide packed with resources. Here, we're going to focus on ideas to engage your employees, boost participation and get them to take action!

Now, while SBCs and plan comparison charts will always have a role to play, campaigns are most successful when they feature compelling materials tailored to your people and company culture.

Not only will creative copy and design help meet your enrollment goals, they’ll also engage people more effectively and strengthen your overall employee experience. 

Here are three of our tried-and-true mantras:

1. Make open enrollment fun

Whether through games, contests or giveaways, engage your people with incentives to add a much-needed element of fun. It can be as simple as creating a scavenger hunt or benefits mascot or as involved as using gamification software.

According to FinancesOnline, 75% of the total global workforce in 2025 will be made up of millennials. That’s three out of every four workers who are very engaged online. Gaming in general has a large appeal to this age group so tying it to workplace objectives results in higher participation on the whole.

But don’t stop there. Remember to use friendly and plain language, define your acronyms (HDHP, anyone?) and explain confusing lingo (what is an embedded deductible, anyway?). And if there are changes to benefits plans, be sure to communicate that too.

2. Use your channels wisely

Many organizations have four generations in their workforce: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. So, remember to reach your people wherever they are.

Whether it's through alerts on workplace social networks, intranet posts, in-person health fairs, virtual HR office hours or good, old-fashioned posters or digital signage in the break room, think through their different communication preferences. Benefitfocus and Accessperks both have tried-and-true ideas along with fresh takes to inspire your campaign.

Take it a step further by targeting your messaging for your different audiences and personas. The communications and channels you use to reach say, in-store retail employees should look and sound different from what employees working from home should see.

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And don’t forget about the spouse! If you’re sending a lot of emails and PDF communication to your always-online employees, you might want to consider sending a mailer home so the spouse (and other family members, who are often eligible for certain benefits like an EAP) also know what’s happening.

So, think about the what's most important to your different audience segments then tailor your message to each accordingly. And if you're unsure of what your people care about or what channels they use, ask them!

Point being: Don’t just rely on any single channel like email to get a cookie-cutter message across (even though we have a brilliant guide to help you make your emails count). A comprehensive campaign that considers the unique needs of your employees with multiple points of contact works best.

The goal: Help your people EASILY find the information they want when they need it.

3. Think like a marketer

People receive a lot of information all day long at work and at home. Break through the clutter and create a unique visual identity/brand for your open enrollment communications and pair them with innovative materials to make your messages pop. You can play with themed open enrollment campaigns.

Explainer videos and infographics are terrific mediums to simplify tricky concepts. But why not take it a step further? Our Design team loves using floor and wall decals in unexpected places like elevator doors and staircases to reinforce your messaging. 

The possibilities are endless so tap into your creative juices and think both about what has worked in the past for other organizational campaigns – and what hasn’t been tried yet!

Making open enrollment useful and fun is up to us

Companies invest significant resources to provide workers with comprehensive benefits. Making sure your people understand and act on their opportunities is equally as important. Providing information that is fun, accessible and unique will get your teams excited about all their company has to offer. 

And if you need some help making all of the above (and then some) happen, there's still time! Our team is here to help you shine.

Download our Resource: Building Employee Personas for Communications

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