Benefits Enrollment and its Impact on the Employee Experience

Friday March 24th, 2023

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Square benefits enrollment image

One of the most challenging businesses is the business of people. According to our 2022-2023 Voice of the Workforce Report, 56 percent of HR leaders say retaining talent is more difficult and 50 percent of employees rate their organization’s employee experience as average or poor. So, how can employers ensure that employees have the best experience? Benefits enrollment is a great place to start.  

Keep Employees Informed Year-Round

A common issue with benefits enrollment is a lack of information for employees. According to the 2022 – 2023 Benefits’ Big Impact on Employee Experience report, more than a quarter of employees say they'd like their employer to provide more information about their benefit options. Educating employees throughout the year, informing them of important dates to stay on top of, as well as providing them details about their benefits, is crucial to their overall experience.

Hosting information sessions before Open Enrollment begins can make a world of difference. Offering live in-person or even virtual sessions can be extremely helpful and beneficial to an employee’s understanding of the offerings. Another option is to pre-record sessions and offer them to employees on-demand so they can watch at their leisure.

Most importantly, it’s key to keep employees informed. The more communication and information provided, the more likely it is that employees feel connected and experience satisfaction.

Create an Annual Schedule

As mentioned, the key to keeping employees informed is staying proactive about communication. There should not be a last-minute push to share information about benefits, but rather it should be all year long.

Creating an annual schedule will keep communication on track and ensure employees are knowledgeable about important dates as well as benefit offerings or changes to note.

Here is an easy calendar to keep departments on schedule:

June to August

  • Send communications putting Open Enrollment on their radar
  • Provide a "Benefits at a Glance," which houses all benefit and provider information

September to October

  • Host virtual or in-office health fairs to educate employees
  • Offer open hours where HR team members are available to answer questions
  • Provide pre-enrollment information sheets with details
  • Host giveaways to keep employees actively engaged in benefits enrollment

November to December

  • Open Enrollment begins – providing benefit plans and details is imperative
  • Benefits Enrollment period - employees MUST act or they won’t receive benefits

Ensure They’re Knowledgeable About Benefits Offerings

Without a sufficient understanding of their benefits, employees frequently end up paying premiums for offerings they might never or infrequently use, or worse, don't enroll in benefits they need. This can result in dwindling benefits engagement, decreased utilization, unforeseen debts and squandered assets.

Making sure that employees have a full understanding of their options will allow them to take a deeper look into what they really need and what will benefit their lifestyle. Providing employees some important questions to ask themselves will help guide them in the right direction.

  • Why do I need coverage?
  • What are my options?
  • Which option is best for my needs and lifestyle?
  • How much will this cost me per paycheck?

Provide Important Tips for Employees

The intricate details of benefit plans are confusing even to those who work in human resources, let alone the average employee. Explaining the ins and outs of benefits and providing crucial tips will ensure employees choose the best options that will save them money and provide them the plan they need.

Having a snapshot view of the enrollment process can be extremely beneficial so employees know what to expect. Offering employees the ability to watch a demo that outlines the process of enrollment along with helpful tips and tricks will keep employees from missing important details in the process. For example, reminding employees to check the box “Dependent” to allow that dependent to be enrolled in their plan is important to those who have others they need insured.

Providing employees with a “Life Event Chart” that outlines acceptable life events that will allow for employee to make changes to their benefits will help them know when they are eligible, should they need to adjust their plan.

Last, offering an FAQ sheet for employees to reference can be useful. Here are some examples of questions:

  • How long do new hires have to make elections?
  • How can employees update beneficiaries and dependents during Open Enrollment?
  • When can employees expect provider ID cards?

It’s Never Too Late to Plan for Employee Open Enrollment Success

Making it through a successful annual Open Enrollment period depends on a winning Open Enrollment strategy, which is something that can be fine-tuned, year after year. By preparing the benefits team and employees before the enrollment window opens, it’s possible to achieve the strategic trifecta of Open Enrollment success: Communication, education and engagement. 

To learn more about benefits enrollment and its impact on the employee experience, check out our webinar on-demand.

Schedule a Demo