Open Enrollment Tips to Boost Engagement with a Hybrid Workforce


The pandemic has changed the way employees interact with and prioritize their benefits. As the demand for mental health, financial wellbeing, stress management, and work-life balance support grows, people are turning to their employers for support. However, they don’t always know where to look. They also might be hesitant to ask due to stigma, fear of retaliation, or discrimination. Your organization can (and should) leverage open enrollment to increase awareness of these important benefits—both newly added and long-time offerings—to your entire workforce.  

Your open enrollment strategy can do more than get employees to opt into their health benefits. It’s an opportunity to boost engagement in your employee wellbeing program, spread the word about lesser-known benefits, and help employees make the most of everything you offer. It’s also the perfect time of year to open the door to an ongoing conversation about the ways your organization supports its employees’ health and wellbeing.  

If you incorporate the following action items into your open enrollment strategy, you’ll have more time to dedicate to engaging your employees and boosting participation in all the fantastic benefits you offer. 

3 Things to Do Now 

Don’t Wait Until Open Enrollment to Talk About Your Benefits 

When it comes to employee benefits, it’s best to assume that people won’t do their homework—especially when it comes to remote and hybrid employees. Start communicating early, and often. Multi-channel communications are the most effective because no two employees are alike, and each will have their own preferences. Open enrollment notifications should go out over email, company chat, be posted to your intranet, and to your wellbeing platform’s communication hub. For onsite workers, physical reminders like posters in the hallway or the break room are a great way to grab their attention. Be sure to include information about all the employee benefits you offer, not just the benefits employees need to enroll in. 

Compile the Most Frequently Asked Questions 

Generally, employees will ask the same questions time and again when it comes to benefits. What’s the difference between an HSA and an FSA? When is the enrollment deadline? How do I make selections? Can I add a spouse to my plan? And with many organizations adding benefits in response to COVID-19, you can expect more employees to come to you with a host of new questions. Answering these questions over email or on a one-off basis is not sustainable even for small organizations. 

Note the common questions you receive and create an FAQ that’s hosted on your intranet, centralized communication platform, or digital wellbeing platform, then distribute it at the beginning of next year’s open enrollment process. You can post it in the hallways, mail it to employee’s homes, or attach it to all your open enrollment communications. 

Create Time for One-On-One Informational Sessions 

Group presentations or Q&A sessions might sound like the easiest way to provide people access to their HR team, but employees may shy away from asking personal questions, especially if they pertain to health or finances. They may also skip the meeting if it doesn’t fit with their schedule or if something else important comes up. 

One-on-one sessions allow employees to find a time that works for them and ask questions pertinent to their personal situations. It also gives visibility to your amazing HR team and establishes a personal connection. To keep things manageable, start with 15-minute time slots and invite employees to sign up. Extend it to remote employees either via phone or video chat so they don’t miss out on this great opportunity. 

3 Things to Do After Open Enrollment Ends 

Start Prepping for Next Year — Today 

After this year’s open enrollment ends, first, pat yourself on the back! Then, after a well-deserved break, dedicate some time to reflect on your process and start strategizing and working on your open enrollment strategy for next year. Make the coming year a success by developing your communication paln and plotting out next steps, all while being mindful of any unexpected changes that might need to be made. 

Debrief With Your Team 

Since open enrollment is fresh in your minds, it’s easier to remember what worked well, and where the pain points are. Were open office hours utilized? Did a large number of your employee population attend or view your benefits presentation? Were your benefits communications effective? Celebrate your successes and make a list of the opportunities to improve your open enrollment strategy. 

Poll Your Employees 

Get feedback from your employees on their open enrollment experience — the good and the bad. Anonymous surveys encourage honesty, can protect the privacy of your employees, and are easy to distribute to employees wherever they work. Use your wellbeing platform’s survey capabilities to reach employees where they already engage every day. Your survey should give you insight into what your employees need to understand their benefits better and make the process smoother for the future.