As we approached our 2020 open enrollment, we were preparing to transition to new benefit carriers for the first time in two decades, including a new medical plan administrator and prescription drug provider.
As part of the transition, it was critical for all of our employees to actively enroll for 2020 benefits. “Same as last year” wasn’t an option.
Our HR team had to ensure our people were aware of the changes and reassure them the changes would cause little to no disruption.
The team developed a communication strategy to educate employees about changes, help them weigh options and make the best choices – and drive them to enroll by the deadline.
We created an open enrollment brand, “Benefits = Coverage You Can Count On,” to showcase all the ways our benefits make employees’ lives better. Math references throughout the campaign (equal, count, etc.) tied in to our company’s actuarial roots.
Our open enrollment communications approach included the following tactics:
- Promote the positive: Reassure employees their doctors would still be in-network and healthcare costs weren’t increasing.
- Keep it conversational: Use friendly, casual language to pull in employees.
- Inspire action: Include a clear call to action, and design messages for different reading styles.
- Repeat to retain: Maintain key messages in all our materials.
- Reward early action: The earlier employees confirmed their elections, the more chances they had to win healthy prizes.
We developed a cascading open enrollment communication strategy, beginning with a review of the changes for leadership and an overview to help managers answer employees’ questions.
“It was great to have a campaign of information cascading over time to make sure we all understood what was happening and what action we needed to take!”
Communications included a change mailer, a benefits decision guide and an email series, as well as meetings and webinars.
Engagement exceeded our expectations, with 96% of employees enrolling by the deadline.
Employees made it clear they found the campaign engaging and helpful.:
“The materials really grabbed my attention this year – I actually paid attention and made sure to enroll on time!”
Formula for success
In reviewing our campaign after our annual open enrollment, we identified these critical success factors:
- developing a comprehensive strategy with measurable objectives
- creating a strong visual brand to tie communication together
- ensuring leadership support by providing advance notice of the changes, so they could answer employee questions
- delivering the message using print, email and other media to appeal to different demographics and personal preferences, and
- clearly explaining the changes and outlining the call to action.