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Laura Hensley September 21, 2020 2 min read

Best Practices for Conducting Annual Enrollment This Year

As you forge ahead with your annual enrollment plans for this year, you probably have questions about how to conduct it safely…and successfully. After all, we’re navigating our way through uncertain times. And pulling off annual enrollment is a tall order in a typical year, so it’s sure to be exceedingly challenging this year as we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic. A recession. With high unemployment. And an upcoming presidential election. It’s a lot. 

So it’s not surprising that people are nervous about the economy, their jobs, their financial security, and their health and safety. And they’re looking to their employers—to you—for guidance and direction. 

Given this environment, how should you move forward? Jen shares her insights on conducting annual enrollment during a pandemic in her IFEBP article, Communication Is Key to Annual Enrollment Success in the Year of COVID-19. Here are a few takeaways from the article.

Communication Is Key

  • Build on the channels and timeline that have worked for you in the past, and make adjustments as needed. Be prepared to move your benefits enrollment in part or entirely online.
  • Communicate often—even if the message is simply to watch for upcoming details about annual enrollment. This helps alleviate anxiety and prevent misinformation from circulating.
  • Be empathetic to your people’s needs and concerns. Communication should avoid jargon and be targeted to address the various family situations and diversity of the workforce.
  • Craft enrollment messages to include specific information about what benefit changes are being made and why; comparisons between current and future plan offerings, including costs; and specific examples that are relevant to employees.
  • Focus on value and financial protection. Annual enrollment is an opportunity to educate your people about the benefits offered and how they can make the most of them.
  • Promote missed or underused benefits that may help people find ways to save money or be healthier. 

Bottom Line

Make sure the plan you are executing is thoughtful, thorough, and agile; communicate frequently; and show empathy. Remember, people may be feeling insecure right now and are looking to you for answers. So, follow best practices. Communicate with your people honestly and often with easy-to-understand, bite-sized information to help them make the best decisions for their situations. 

Here are some additional resources to help you plan for a successful enrollment season.

Annual Enrollment: Changing Your Strategy and Planning for Virtual Events
5 Simple Questions to Kick-Start Your Open Enrollment Planning
Going Virtual: Moving Your In-Person Benefits Fair Online
How to Get Big Results with a Limited Benefits Communication Budget
Targeting Open Enrollment Communications for Better Engagement

Laura Hensley

Laura Hensley, Senior Writer and Editorial Manager, is an award-winning writer and advocate for the reader. She works with some of our largest clients.