There are so many changes taking place with employee benefits and insurance; open enrollment is more confusing than ever. HR departments across the country are taking steps to try and cut down on the misinformation while ensuring that employees have what they need to make informed decisions. Research by Digatate shows the importance of organized, clear onboarding:

  • New hires are twice as likely to seek new job opportunities in the near future when their organizations do not handle onboarding well.
  • 25% of new hires who have a poor onboarding experience will have a negative view of the company and will be unlikely to recommend it to friends or family members.

Be available to answer questions

An open door policy is always a good idea. It makes you approachable and gives employees a place to turn for answers to their questions. Depending on the size of your organization, you may choose to request that employees make an appointment which will help ensure employee privacy as well. You may also be able to answer some questions over email or phone.

Educate employees on their options

Not all employees have the same needs so be prepared to present options for different demographics, starting with the first contact. Employees need to see the different options that they have from the onset. This can be explained in general terms in the early stages of open enrollment, but make sure you have targeted information for each group (family, single, nearing retirement age, etc.) so they know what is available to them.

Communicate regularly, clearly, and concisely

It doesn’t matter if you are working with 100 employees or 1,000, your communication needs to be as clear as possible. Keep the conversation going, don’t stop after one meeting or a single email discussing the open enrollment period. The survey report, What Your Employees Think About Your Benefits Communication, noted that 49% of employees said making decisions about their health insurance was very stressful and 41% said it was extremely confusing. Make the process as easy and clear as possible by providing information in a variety of formats such as face-to-face meetings, email, handouts, and a web-based employee information portal.

Make information available in a variety of formats

In today’s tech-heavy world, you have a number of communication methods right at your fingertips. Choose several; it isn’t wise to have just one. Handouts or brochures, email, text, and even video can all help you get the message out and keep the message clear. Prepare beforehand, and organize your material so that distribution is easy. You may find it useful to create a website where employees can download information and schedule an appointment to talk to you.

Bring in a third party to talk to employees

Bringing in a third party to talk to employees can minimize confusion and increase the power of your message. They may address things you haven’t considered or things you didn’t think were important. Sometimes it helps to see the situation through a fresh pair of eyes. They may even be able to help you create the educational material and prepare for meeting with individuals to discuss their enrollment options. Representatives from specific insurance companies can better address employee questions and concerns about certain programs and policies.

Minimize the confusion surrounding open enrollment season. Let us help. Contact Innovative Broker Services today at 916-932-2864 or via email to

You can download our free checklist “8 Easy Steps to Your Best Open Enrollment Ever” for some tips to help you and your team prepare for the busiest time of the year.

What are your pain points during open enrollment? What strategies do you use to help your employees better understand their options?