In today's ever-changing benefits market, it's important that brokers and benefits professionals stay on their toes.
Sometimes that can prove difficult, especially when brokers and HR managers are already struggling to keep up with evolving technological trends, the unique needs of clients, and other challenges that pop up.
Enrollment is its own special type of challenge, and it's important benefits professionals have every weapon in their arsenal to tackle this important task.
So, as part of our marketing and sales tips series, we asked our audience for their thoughts on how to best enhance enrollment periods.
Here are the 10 tips we liked best.
Do you have some others? Sound off in the comments below.
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.