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3 Things to Do After Open Enrollment Is Over to Make Next Year Easier

Open enrollment is a stressful time for your team. Here's how to use the post-enrollment period to your advantage.

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Open enrollment is soon coming to an end at many organizations. While this might be a time to put your feet up after weeks of hard work, it’s also a time to evaluate this year’s successes, roadblocks, and areas for improvement. If you don’t take the time to collect learnings, you risk repeating the same mistakes next year.  

Your benefits strategy should be a year-round process, and the post-open enrollment period is a crucial time for reflection. Use the steps below to ensure your team is using this year’s insights to uplevel your future open enrollment strategy. 

1. Analyze the data

Once the numbers are in, it’s time to take a closer look at how many employees are enrolled in the various programs your organization offers. Examining trends in your data can provide valuable insights on the effectiveness of your benefits. For example, if over half of your employees moved from one healthcare plan to another, it’s critical to examine why. 

Taking a closer look at demographics can also help you better assess which benefits are most applicable to your unique employee base. Segmenting data by demographics such as age, income, or location could reveal gaps in your benefits strategy or highlight where you should focus education efforts. Key items to analyze include: 

  • How many employees participated
  • The plans they selected 
  • Average FSA, HSA, HRA, or DCFSA contributions 
  • Enrollment in health and wellness programs
  • Enrollment in perks programs 

A data analysis summary to senior leadership could read: “Over 60% of our current employees work remotely full time. We expected to see higher enrollment rates in our LSA program which features a work-from-home pillar. We plan to educate our population more on LSAs and how to utilize the program through a lunch ‘n’ learn this quarter.” 

Data analysis and employee surveys provide your organization with the opportunity to make changes for next year and better serve your employees’ needs. Kelly Wakefield, Senior Manager of Global Benefits at Moderna, believes employee surveys are a crucial step in designing a competitive benefits package. The company conducts total rewards optimization surveys, which are an in-depth way of understanding how employees perceive and value the benefits Moderna offers. They then use this data to refine their benefits strategy. 

“I think it’s really important to understand your different employee populations,” said Kelly. “Why build a benefits package that no one is going to utilize because they don’t value the benefits? We use those data points to determine what employees value most, which helps inform our design. Benefits are not one size fits all.” 

2. Survey your employees

A Career Minds survey of HR leaders found that only 37% poll their employees after open enrollment to understand if they thought the process was efficient and impactful. Conducting an employee survey immediately after open enrollment can help capture sentiments about benefit options, communication methods, and educational strategies while the thoughts are still fresh in employees’ minds. 

Below are a few questions to include in your survey: 

How satisfied are you with this year’s benefit options?

  • Very satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Somewhat dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

I felt that the benefits package was well-communicated. 

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

During open enrollment, I was provided adequate, timely information about my benefits. 

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

It was easy to enroll in my benefits using the [X] platform. 

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

What is your preferred method of communication? Check your top three. 

  • Written/Printed Materials
  • Presentations/Webinars
  • Website/Intranet
  • Text Messaging
  • Videos
  • Email

Open-ended questions are also a good way to gather more detailed responses. Below are a few to consider including in your survey:

  • What do you value most about your benefits program? 
  • What do you value least about your benefits program?
  • What recommendations do you have for future benefit offerings?
  • What recommendations do you have for improving our open enrollment communications?
  • What would have made our information sessions more valuable?
  • What could our HR team have done better during open enrollment?

3. Examine your communications strategy

The Career Minds survey found that 35% of employees said it was hard to get ahold of HR staff members to ask them questions, and 31% said communications were too hard to understand. Along with surveys, you can analyze campaign performance to better understand what worked well and where you may need to adjust for next year. 

These metrics can include:

  • Meeting attendance
  • Email open and click-through rates
  • Web traffic to benefits information hubs
  • Engagement with benefits-focused Slack channels or messages in online platforms

Most importantly, benefits communication should be a year-round initiative. 

“Not only do we do education sessions as part of open enrollment, but we also do a monthly newsletter that talks about benefits to our employees,” said Michelle Kerr Stenzel, CHRO at Turnberry Solutions. “We’re always trying to pug bite-size bits to our employees, whether it’s in our town hall or employee newsletter.” 

Following open enrollment, consider putting together a FAQ document of questions that employees frequently asked this year. Add this to your benefits portal or company intranet to help employees manage and understand their benefits. 

How a flexible benefits provider with analytics capabilities can improve your programs

Many organizations have a clunky and hard-to-manage collection of perk vendors with only 5-10% utilization. There seems to be a gap between the discussions that HR teams are having and what employees want, need, and use. So how can you build a program that employees will use and enjoy? 

By moving away from point solutions to a benefits program with greater flexibility, you’ll enable employees to get the most out of their benefits. Once the program is running, you’ll need robust analytics to determine exactly what your employees are using. With the Benepass Admin Dashboard, you get real-time insights on the performance of your programs, including monthly engagement rates, utilization rates, and spending data. We recently updated the Admin Dashboard to provide more self-service options and valuable reporting insights that can help you iterate and improve your programs. 

Want to learn more about Benepass’s analytics and reporting features? Contact our team or reach out to us at sales@getbenepass.com.  

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Benepass Team

Our team is committed to sharing stories that help People teams do their jobs and empower employees to get the most out of their benefits.