10 tips for benefits enrollment

1. Create a campaign

“Treat open enrollment communications like a full-scale marketing campaign: plan, inform, energize, and follow up.” Nancy Sansom, CMO, PlanSource

2. Tailor-made messaging

“Use available data as you work with employers to build upcoming programs, leveraging employee behavior and filling gaps that may exist. Just as important, use the information to tailor messages before open enrollment to ensure you reach the broadest possible audience with relevant information.” Rob Carnaroli, broker & vice president of sales, Sutter Health Plus

3. Revisit, re-evaluate, remember for next time

The close of open enrollment is a critical time to observe what went well and what can go better next time. Solicit feedback from clients to find out what was effective, what wasn’t, and how the process can be improved.

4. Early bird gets the worm

“When employees receive communications at least four weeks prior to open enrollment, participation can be as much as four times higher than it is for those who allowed less time to communicate.” Dennis Healy, chief sales officer, ARAG

5. Give the information time to breathe

“Too often, employers communicate their benefits program to workers all at once, overwhelming their workforce with an abundance of information. According to an Aflac survey, 83 percent of millennials said they need more time to feel confident before their next enrollment. A more effective strategy for employers could be to try communicating different segments of their benefits program throughout the months leading up to open enrollment.” Ken Meier, vice president, Aflac Northeast Territory

6. Engagement is key

“Active enrollment — where an employee must proactively choose a plan or go without coverage — can be an important step in getting employees more engaged in their benefits. And it benefits the employer as well — it provides an opportunity to collect key data (such as current dependent information) and to direct employees to the most cost-effective plans for them.” Kim Buckey, vice president of client services, DirectPath

7. Talk the talk

“You need to be able to communicate effectively about benefits with multiple generations over a variety of high-tech and high-touch platforms. Make sure your benefits provider can speak old-school and new-school.” Gavin B. Dean, assistant vice president of the Enrollment Center, Colonial Life and Unum

8. Cut through the static

“As shocking as it may sound, open enrollment is not top of mind for the vast majority of employees. So your first objective is to break through all the noise and get your message heard. A few ways you can do this: Choose a memorable theme for your communications; use multiple communication methods; and keep your messaging clear, concise and consistent.” Nancy Sansom, CMO, PlanSource

9. Don’t need it? Get rid of it

“Insurance open enrollment presents huge opportunities for [cybercriminals] to gain lucrative and exceptionally fresh records. We’ve heard the PCI Security Standards Council suggest that, ‘If you don’t need it, don’t store it.’ We would suggest going even further. First, don’t just hold this maxim to payment card data; apply it to all the sensitive data, including any personally identifiable information (PII), that you encounter.” Tim Critchley, CEO, Semafone

10. It all comes together

Offer a holistic view of enrollment, by helping employers and employees understand how all of the benefits mesh for each individual.

View the full article at: http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/01/25/10-tips-for-benefits-enrollment?t=employee-participation

10 tips for better benefits communication

1. Engage to protect

“Providing education and engagement about both benefits and workplace initiatives increases the effectiveness of programs and contributes to keeping costs down for employers. The more engagement generated, the healthier and better protected the employees.” Steve Horvath, vice president, CoreSource and Dan Johnson, vice president, Trustmark Voluntary Benefit Solutions

2. Cut the jargon

“The benefits business is full of jargon. Studies have shown that words we use all the time are confusing. Watch the jargon and use terms that make sense to employees.” Marty Traynor, vice president of voluntary benefits, Mutual of Omaha

3. It’s not about you

“M. Scott Peck said that true listening requires a setting aside of oneself. And sometimes that means setting aside your personal opinion.” Celeste Headlee, radio host

4. Offer your expert opinion, though

“Millennials get information on their own. However, when it’s time to purchase, they still want the personal service and an advisor to help them. As a large demographic, they are similar to the silent generation in that they think through their purchases and do research on their own.” Aprilyn Chavez Geissler, owner, Geissler Agency Inc.

5. A closed sale shouldn’t mean closed communication

“Don’t stop communication once the sale is made. The success of your business requires keeping customers on the books. Communication between enrollment periods can help strengthen relationships and boost persistency.” Rob Carnaroli, broker & vice president of sales, Sutter Health Plus

6. Communication as a retention tool

An Aflac study found that 80 percent of employees agree that a well-communicated benefits package would make them less likely to leave their jobs.

7. Read the room

“Many employees are not knowledgeable about benefits plans and insurance terminology and, as a result, are at risk of getting inadequate coverage or buying products they don’t need to. You have to look at the workforce and determine what channel would be best to reach employees.” Dayne Williams, CEO, PlanSource

8. Modify your approach as needed

“When carriers, brokers, and HR teams are putting together benefits packages, they need to think like marketers. They must adapt their messages to a mobile, impatient audience, while still supplying enough information so that people know what they are getting into.” Scott Carver, president, PlanSource

9. Real people get real results

“Many otherwise great campaigns have failed because they are tone deaf to their audience. A program from union members better not be littered with ‘employee’ references. Graphics should match the demographics of the employee audience, and designers often tend to show ‘beautiful people,’ but plans need to be shown benefitting real people.” Marty Traynor, vice president of voluntary benefits, Mutual of Omaha

10. Again, it’s not about you

“Don’t equate your experience with theirs. If they’re talking about having lost a family member, don’t start talking about the time you lost a family member. If they’re talking about the trouble they’re having at work, don’t tell them about how much you hate your job. It’s not the same. It is never the same. All experiences are individual, and more important, it is not about you.” Celeste Headlee, radio host


View the full article at: http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/01/27/10-tips-for-better-benefits-communication?t=employee-participation