Top Tips to Survive Annual Enrollment - Benefits Discussion

Written by benefitexpress | January 14, 2016

Sit back, relax, and learn about the top tips for surviving annual enrollment including: good communication with your employees | use surveys among your employees to see what worked and what didn't | analyze the benefit options that you offer | take a deep breath | make it fun.

This video includes commentary from benefitexpress employees, including (from left to right):

  • Kerry Jenkins - Director, Shared Services
  • Monica Hinchey - Vice President, Client Engagement, Marketing, and Channel Partners
  • Rob Rodriguez - Director, Eligibility and Enrollment Service

Video Transcript:

"Today we're here to talk about surviving annual enrollment and advice that we have for our clients, HR professionals, when it comes to managing an efficient annual enrollment, and surviving it. I think one of the things that I always talk to my clients about is communication. Making sure they have good communication with their employees, that it's easy to understand, and that it's also done within enough time. It's January, so annual enrollment has just ended, and you usually hear a big sigh of relief around this time, but really by January you should be getting ready for next year's annual enrollment. Now is a good time to strike when the iron is hot and look at what you did for annual enrollment, what made it successful, and what made it maybe not so successful."

"I like to tell my clients to either grab a survey group or send out a mass survey of what worked during annual enrollment during this time period, while it's still fresh in their heads."

"That's a great idea."

"It sounds like all of us are starting to think the same thing because the first thing that popped in my head was starting early as well. A couple of things - you [Hinchey] said communication and you [Rodriguez] said a survey group, but I was thinking, maybe analyze the benefit offerings that you have. What worked? What didn't? What are employees drawn to? Because at least then, next year you'll know, "Hey, should we even offer this," and it'll give you a head start on the direction you need to go."

"I think it's also important, once annual enrollment starts, for clients to really just take a deep breath. Nobody is going to survive annual enrollment if we are throwing ourselves out the window or so stressed out we're making ourselves sick. I know one of the ways I like to relax is that I am lucky enough that I have an office, so I can close my office door. Do you have any other suggestions or anything we can think about for relaxing?"

"How do they make it more fun? One of our clients have made it like a Monopoly game where they're engaging the employees. Yeah they're getting through there and they're talking about benefits, but they have a game that keeps it fun, and it keeps it..."

"Engagement. It keeps the employees engaged."

"It's hard to get upset with someone about your benefits if they're playing a game."

"That's true."

"I would also say, with that and with what you're both saying, I think we should encourage folks to let technology work for them. You can easily do that with what you [Rodriguez] just described. You can easily do it with a communication strategy. I think that takes some of the pressure off, and I think that it is also helping people get used to the vehicle you're going to be using during the annual enrollment process."

"You brought up a very good point with the technology. It being January, now is a good time to prepare your budget for next year. Are there things that somebody else can do? Whether it's outsource or another department. If you have the proof, from the survey or from the employee standpoint - they don't like how they're enrolling or they don't like the communication, now is the time to start building a budget around: how can I take care of employee satisfaction, my time, and what's in the best interest of the company for next year."

"Another thing they should probably be looking at is - they probably have a stack of EOI forms on their desk right now..."

"Yes, they probably do!"

"Maybe talking to their vendors now about getting some kind of single sign-on or instant EOI approval process built now for the next annual enrollment so they don't have that big stack of paper on their desk."