Your Open Enrollment Plan: 5 Ways to Build a Creative, Engaging Strategy Now

Many employers often feel like their open enrollment plan is a templated process, cut and dry. But it doesn’t have to be! Taking steps to innovate how your employees enroll in their benefits can keep your communications from becoming white noise—or better yet—promote education and adoption in your enrollment plan.

In this article, we’ll cover five ways to boost your current open enrollment plan and innovate your strategy for the upcoming enrollment year.


Review the past, assess the present.

This will require a little extra homework, but it will be worth it! Take a look at your past open enrollment plan. What did or didn’t drive enrollment? What would you consider your successes? Failures? If you received any anecdotal feedback from employees around open enrollment fairs, take that into consideration, too. Don’t shy away from negative feedback—this can be really helpful to innovate your plan for the better going forward.

Additionally, when you’re doing your homework, you really want to get to know your audience. Try sending out online surveys, and then analyze the demographics of your employee base. This will give you insight into what your current employees understand or need assistance with, so you can tailor your messaging and marketing mediums accordingly.


Define your (specific) goals.

Simply saying “We want to have more employees to enroll in X benefit this year,” likely won’t cut it. You want these goals to be measurable and attainable, so get specific! “I want to boost enrollment by 20 percent this year,” for example, will help you know exactly if you hit the mark…and maybe even encourage you to get a little more creative to hit the goal. So, are you aiming to reduce the amount of time the benefits team spends answering questions? Are you looking to lower costs? Once you define these goals, make sure that you align your communications to them.


Take a close look at your communication timelines and messaging.

There’s no magic recipe for communications, but it is important to break down education into building blocks, then roll out that information in bite-sized pieces over time. So, take your (goal-specific) messages and map them to an educational journey. Here’s what’s really important: Make sure you’re not overwhelming your employees with too much information in the beginning. Start small with introducing your communications, then build upon each message slowly as you go. You can see how we do this at ConnectYourCare by checking out our HSA Academy. This online resource allows visitors to see what a health savings account (HSA) is at a high level, then the educational content is broken out in short, engaging video vignettes to make the information easily digestible.

And don’t forget, you’re an expert. Sometimes, it can be hard to describe communications to employees from a lay person’s perspective. A great tip is to pause for a moment when you’re reviewing your enrollment plan materials, take a step back, and say, “How would I describe this to a friend or a neighbor?” Then, if needed, reword the material in a way that would make sense to them.


Address employee benefits pain points.

Calling out your open enrollment plan’s shortcomings in the past might not be first on your list, but employees really appreciate when you take those difficulties head on and address how you have changed them. For example, did your employees have a difficult time with the previous vendor? Did last year’s focus group make it painfully obvious that there’s something your employees don’t like? Don’t cover up those pain points; address them head-on in your communications. Your employees will get the message and appreciate the directness.


Try something new, fun, and innovative.

Don’t just try something different, try really shaking things up. If you execute the same communications plan year over year, you’re bound to get the same results…or even experience a decline. Shaking it up is necessary to achieving measurable change. What if you created short, 30-second videos (on your phone is fine!) explaining certain benefits and why they’re important? What if you created an incentive to encourage employees to turn in their paperwork before a certain date? How about creating some fun social media posts on the topic? These are fun, marketing-forward ways to grab your employees’ attention.

A little less exciting, but just as important: think about how your employees are enrolling…not just how you’re talking about it. So, for example, if you have passive enrollment, maybe change it to an active enrollment strategy. That means employees will actively have to click a button to opt out of the benefits. This messaging can go a long way in helping employees understand that a specific benefit has perks, and they may be missing out on those perks by opting out.

Want to learn more ways to build a strategic open enrollment plan that moves the needle?

Check out our open enrollment eBook written by our in-house open enrollment expert and VP of Marketing, Alicia Main.

Learn More
By |2019-09-30T11:19:08-04:00September 19th, 2019|Employer Posts, Open Enrollment|
Disclaimer: ConnectYourCare does not provide tax or legal advice. This information is not intended and should not be taken as tax or legal advice. Any tax or legal information in this notice is merely a summary of ConnectYourCare’s understanding and interpretation of some of the current tax regulations and is not exhaustive. You should consult your tax advisor or legal counsel for advice and information concerning your particular situation before making any decisions.

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