3 Open Enrollment Musts for Employers of Choice

3 Open Enrollment Musts for Employer-of-Choice Status

Your employees are on a journey with you. From their first introduction to your company, to when they applied for a job, to being onboarded, and then as an employee, there are many milestones along the way.

Like in a movie, there’s the larger narrative drawn together by all of the connected events unfolding throughout the plot. For your employees, those plot points (or experiences) build on each other to influence their perception of you as an employer, which ultimately influences how you are seen by prospective employees.  

So, when you think about your employees' journey with you, where are your opportunities to tell and reinforce the bigger story?

A lot of time and effort goes towards the “attraction” part of talent management, and with good reason. Seventy-five percent of job-seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job.Then, as new hires, those first several weeks are critical, as their onboarding experience sets the initial tone for how they view you as an employer.

What happens, though, after they move past the acclimation period? 

It’s time to start thinking about the next phases in their journey with you: engagement and retention.

One of the best times to tell the bigger story is through your annual open enrollment period, which provides an opportunity to nurture your employer brand with employees through the value of the benefits package you offer.

During open enrollment, you’ve got their attention. Don’t let it go to waste. Here are three ways to make sure your open enrollment moves you forward on your path to employer-of-choice status.

1. Brand Your Open Enrollment

What’s in a brand? It's not just a logo. A brand is an experience based on thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Brands elicit sentiments just from the mention of their name, and the best brands have carefully cultivated theirs so that the value is inherent.

Marketing professionals understand that a great brand can accomplish a lot – differentiating itself from competitors, driving loyalty, establishing value and inspiring trust. But branding can't just be a function of marketing. More and more HR leaders are taking note of this, with sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn intertwining corporate brand with employer brand.

So, when it comes to open enrollment, what do the benefits you offer say about you as a company? How do you make sure to communicate them in a way that bolsters your employer brand?

Start with a theme. If you want employees to engage with your brand, bringing it to life with a theme – including imagery, color, voice and tone – encourages positive feelings towards your brand while reinforcing the value of your benefits. Make sure to carry that theme throughout the entire open enrollment experience – printed materials, emails, events, etc.

Brands also aren’t just launched overnight. One message sent at the start of open enrollment won’t translate to employees internalizing your benefits brand. Consistency in communication and theme that’s carried throughout the entire enrollment experience is a must, so that employees make connections to your benefits brand and what it means to them. That also means it should be carried across all channels, from email to video to your employee portal and more.

To take things a step further, you can get employees to experience your brand in a tangible way through special events like health fairs.

2. Streamline Your Open Enrollment

What happens when multiple items are spread across multiple places? It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about employee benefits or trying to get your teenager to put all of their socks in the same drawer. Inevitably, something will get lost.

There's never a time when you want employee benefits to get lost across multiple systems, and especially not during open enrollment. With a disjointed enrollment experience, you're asking for frustrated employees that likely aren't able to find all the benefits information they need to make the best decisions much less remember their login information to access each separate system. 

Plus, as an HR leader, you know that open enrollment is a vital opportunity to draw attention to all of the value your company is providing each employee. A benefits management platform allows you to work with a single partner to put all of your benefits offerings in one place, making it so that employees only need one login to access all of their benefits information. Even better, HR can capitalize on the opportunity for visibility into what the company is paying for each benefit. 

3. "Consumerize" Your Open Enrollment

The employers that have risen to “choice” status stay on the pulse of what their employees need and expect.

Millennials now make up a majority of the workforce, and Generation Z is on their heels. The first group are digital natives, and the second have never known a life without the internet or tools like Siri and Alexa. This means that you have to be keenly aware of the user experience with your benefits and continuously re-evaluate the tools offered.

When your employees enter open enrollment, they need technology that will enable them to make the right benefit choices. That means a consumer-focused experience that mirrors what they get in their personal lives.

Tools that support engagement start with smart design. The information should be presented in a clear way, making it easy to accomplish tasks. This isn’t just a nice-to-have. Today, when we digitally interact with things that are personal to us, we have come to expect a clean user interface. Take online banking, for instance. When signing into the account, it’s extremely clear how to view a balance, transfer money, deposit checks and more.

Benefits technology should be no different. Built-in consumer-centric enrollment tools enable employees to make the best decisions for their unique situation.

The idea of a smooth experience also extends to the mobile device. One of your goals is to help employees maximize the value of their benefits. To do that, employees should be able to access their benefits on demand, whether that means completing open enrollment while traveling, making life event changes with the birth of a new child from the hospital room, or reviewing their coverage details from the waiting room at the doctor's office. 

For more on how to lay the foundation for a successful open enrollment and engaged employees, watch this on-demand webinar!

1. CareerArc