Open Enrollment Tips for HR Professionals

For most HR professionals, it’s open enrollment and a busy time of the year. We are here with some suggestions to help you efficiently and effectively navigate the 2023 open enrollment season.

1. Make it personal

Each employee has unique needs. It’s important that employees know what questions they should be asking when choosing their benefits and that they are aware of the many added values they have available to them.

Each employee has unique needs. It’s important that employees know what questions they should be asking when choosing their benefits and that they are aware of the many added values they have available to them.

One way an HR professional can help employees is to create employee “profiles” based on various needs, preferences, and employee types. For example, one profile may be an employee that has pets and could benefit from veterinary expense reimbursement. There are many voluntary benefits that can add significant value to the employee depending on their individual circumstances.

Creating employee profiles with proposed options for each category will give employees a good starting point when choosing their benefits package.

Having an idea of the diverse lifestyles and stages of life of your workforce can help develop these profiles as well as enabling them to select the benefits and perks that make the most sense.

2) Provide resources for employee wellness and holistic health

According to research conducted by the American Institute of Stress, 40% of employees report being “very stressed” and 80% of employees feel some type of stress at work. This stress in the workplace results in an estimated $190 billion annually in healthcare costs. Stress also causes absenteeism and a decrease in retention rates for organizations, further increasing the negative financial impact of stress in the workplace.

This research confirms that taking a holistic approach to overall employee wellness that addresses both physical and mental wellness is essential for companies to remain competitive in hiring and retaining top talent. In fact, a recent survey from MetLife revealed that 74% of holistically healthy employees are more likely to be satisfied with their current job, 51% more likely to remain with their current employer over 12 months, and 53% of employees are more likely to be productive.

Wellness and holistic health include addressing and providing resources for:

  • Stress Relief
  • Financial Wellness
  • Nutritional Education
  • Physical Fitness

Stress relief includes resources that allow associates to maintain work/life balance like employee assistance programs, flexible work schedules, books, and online resources specifically addressing stress, wellness apps, and even on-site nap rooms.

Financial wellness is concerned with improving the financial literacy of employees as well as providing resources to decrease long-term debt, maintain a household budget, and save for milestone events like college or retirement. There is also stress related to the financial uncertainty related to unforeseen medical complications so providing access to short and long-term care insurance, cancer guardian, and critical illness coverage can help improve the overall wellness of employees.

Nutritional education for large organizations with on-site cafeterias includes providing healthy options to associates. For smaller organizations it may be having healthy snacks readily available or access to discounts for healthy meal delivery. Providing associates with information related to the importance of proper nutrition both online and in the workplace and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and physical activity is an integral part of any employee wellness program.

Physical fitness provides associates with the necessary resources to address their physical health. This can include on-site gyms or yoga classes, gym memberships, and online fitness classes. It also includes giving employees the time necessary to actively participate in these activities on a routine basis.

By addressing the overall well-being of associates through stress relief, financial wellness, nutritional education, and physical fitness organizations are taking a proactive and holistic approach to improving the health and happiness of employees and consequently the organization.

3) Possibly include family friendly benefits

The Mercer survey results also revealed a trend towards the majority of employers offering more benefits catered towards families. Of those companies participating in the survey, 70% responded that they either currently offer or plan to offer paid paternal leave in 2023. Nearly a third of the organizations that don’t currently or plan to offer paid paternal leave are considering doing so in the near future.

Another example of companies adopting family-friendly benefits is onsite childcare. Nearly 10% of organizations surveyed with more than 5,000 employees provide onsite childcare and nearly a quarter of respondents offer backup childcare.

Lastly, over a third of employers, regardless of size provide some type of benefit catered towards the special needs of women concerning reproductive health. These include benefits to support high-risk pregnancies, lactation, pre-conception family planning, pregnancy loss or menopause.

4) Explain benefits and options effectively

Benefits packages and options change often, and employees may have questions about what plan is best for them. As an HR professional, you are already well-versed in definitions of health insurance terms and acronyms like deductibles, FSAs, HSAs, co-pay and EAP as well as the different types of insurance plans which make you a valuable asset to your associates concerning their benefits.

Voluntary benefits allow employees to customize their benefits plans to their needs. Some voluntary benefits available include long-term care insurance, student loan benefits, ID theft protection, auto and home insurance and even added purchasing power using payroll deductions.

While it’s important that employees are aware of changing insurance options, it’s also vital to consider changes in their personal life. The addition of a pet or purchase of a home could mean an employee would be interested in adding a benefit outside of the open enrollment period. Voluntary benefits can be added throughout the year, so it’s important to keep employees aware of the options offered to them throughout the year.

5) Give employees resources to help make informed decisions

Your company may utilize technology platforms to help employees make smart decisions. If so, be sure to share that information with employees and ensure they know how to use the software properly. Healthcare.Gov lets you compare plans using their online software and there are many more software solutions that allow you to compare health insurance options online.

Using these tips can help you navigate the busy open enrollment season, ensure that all employees are receiving the healthcare they need and that they aren’t overpaying. Remember to:

  • Make it personal
  • Provide resources for employee wellness and holistic health
  • Possibly include family friendly benefits /li>
  • Explain benefits and options effectively
  • Give employees resources to help make informed decisions

We offer many unique benefits packages for employers to offer their workforce including voluntary benefits, savings marketplaces, discounts on theme park and event tickets as well travel including rental cars, hotels, and airfare. Please contact us for more information on any of these programs and services.

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