<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=765055043683327&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">

19 Ways to Improve Open Enrollment Meetings

David Rook

With budgets stretched and attendance down, more and more employers seem to be doing away with face-to-face employee benefits open enrollment meetings. That's a shame, especially since healthcare coverage options are more complicated than ever before.

This drop in attendance and lack of interest in holding benefit information sessions is all the more surprising considering that healthcare literacy is still at alarming low rates. One would think that this knowledge gap would trigger anxieties which would motivate more of the workforce to attend these annual benefit presentations.

So what can employers do to help bridge this education divide? After all, if employees aren't educated on things such as HDHPs with HSAs, Limited Purpose FSAs, or even telemedicine, then how will they ever embrace these benefit options - all of which are becoming more and more popular with employers and employees alike.

Here are some employee engagement ideas you might want to try in an attempt to reengage and educate your workforce during open enrollment season;

1. Go Digital.

For better or worse, mobile devices are in our hands throughout the day. Take advantage of this and reach out to your employees through one (or several) streams.

  • Send a text message telling employees that open enrollment is coming and reminding them to read their product literature and talk to their spouses so they’ll be ready to enroll.

  • Ask them questions via email beforehand, as well as during the meeting. Try a Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, or Google Forms format to engage employees and encourage participation. These tools allow employees to answer questions anonymously while you tally responses. This is a great way to find out, in real time, which topics merit more attention, especially if employees demonstrate a lack of understanding about a particular benefit.
Read More
Topics: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee Communications, open enrollment

Related posts

4 Ways to Spice Up Employee Benefits Open Enrollment Meetings

David Rook

Autumn is here, the leaves are changing, and before you know it, a new year will start. For many employers, a rapidly approach new year means annual benefits open enrollment meetings.

But it seems like every year, it’s more difficult to get employees to attend the meetings, pay attention, and learn how they can make the most of their benefits.

All the while, the push to consumer-driven healthcare is making things more complicated. From HSAs and HDHPs to HRAs and Limited Purpose FSAs, how are employees supposed to take full advantage of the great benefits you offer if they don't take the time to learn about these new products and services? Perhaps it’s time to try something new to spice up your annual open enrollment and really engage your employees.

Here are four ideas to try to mix things up with your benefits open enrollment this year.

Read More
Topics: Employee Engagement, open enrollment

Related posts

10 Pitfalls to Avoid This Open Enrollment Season

David Rook

For many who work in human resources and employee benefits, open enrollment can be a stressful time of year. Focused on meeting tight deadlines and pleasing multiple stakeholders, many HR professionals often repeat sins of the past and fail to make annual, incremental improvements in their open enrollment processes.

Optimizing your open enrollment is critical to ensuring its ongoing success. After all, over time you learn more about how best to communicate with your organization, particularly as the employee benefits space evolves i.e. new benefit products and services, and new technologies.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, whether you're working off of a well-established checklist or with your employee benefits broker, be sure to avoid these common pitfalls during your next open enrollment.  

1. Ending Open Enrollment Outside of Normal Office Hours

Procrastinating employees will inevitably have last minute questions and may experience technology troubles. Make sure your deadline for open enrollment falls during the workweek and during normal office hours when your HR staff is still on duty to help them through those final steps in the process.

2. Ignoring Other Household Decision Makers

Often times your employee is not the only one weighing-in on benefit decisions. Make sure the communication materials and media channels you're using reach other heads of household and key decision makers such as spouses. Consider extending invitations to open enrollment meetings to the entire family.

Read More
Topics: Employee Engagement, HSAs, open enrollment, HDHPs

Related posts

7 Simple Ways to Boost Morale at Work

Jeff Griffin

Employee morale can ebb and flow in an office environment. Sometimes dips in morale have nothing to do with actual work — it could mean people are struggling with personal issues and it’s seeping into their professional life. The trouble is, emotions are contagious. We start mimicking each others faces when we’re just hours old and it doesn’t stop in adulthood. At work, positive feelings can spread throughout your staff, just like negative ones — and both can spread through your work and impact morale.

If you notice that multiple employees are displaying negative behaviors (eye-rolling, sarcastic comments, reluctance to get work done, or coming in late), it may be time to boost morale at work. Boosting employee morale doesn’t have to involve a series of complicated incentives. Most of the time, it’s about providing some outwardly noticeable benefits that your workforce enjoys — the kinds of things they’d tell their family and friends about when boasting about the place they work.

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, Employee Engagement, millennials, Employee Retention, generation z, employee culture, Giving Back

Related posts

Why Workplace Harassment Training is So Important

Jeff Griffin

Most employers in America have some kind of workplace harassment training in place. The majority of the time, it’s hokey, outdated videos full of unrealistic scenarios that completely miss the nuances of personal interaction, followed by a series of questions with very obvious answers. Pretty much anyone could correctly answer those questions without actually paying attention to the videos. We all know the “right” answers because they’re so obvious.

The recent sexual harassment allegations in the news have left many business owners and HR departments wondering what they can do to improve sexual harassment training in their companies, while enduring push back from staff who are dreading yet another terrible seminar.

It’s important for every company to have effective workplace harassment training and subsequent guidelines for how to handle accusations, as not doing so can leave you vulnerable to lawsuits. But not having proper training and procedures can also create a breeding ground for workplace harassment, giving rise to employees feeling unsafe at work, which doesn’t create the type of environment people enjoy working in — and it’s definitely not the kind of place that recruits and retains the best talent.

Workplace Harassment in the News

Sexual harassment has been prevalent in the news lately, as more and more women (and men) are coming forward about their experiences with workplace harassment. Discussions of harassment and assault have been picking up momentum since the summer of 2016, when 24 women made assault or harassment allegations against then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Since then, multiple men have been accused, including former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, celebrity chef Mario Batali, Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine, former host and creator of the radio show "A Prairie Home Companion" Garrison Keillor, former Today Show anchor Matt Lauer, journalist Charlie Rose, hip hop producer Russell Simmons, former Minnesota Senator Al Franken, actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., defeated Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and of course, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The list goes on, and on, and on.

Read More
Topics: Compliance, Company Culture, Employee Engagement, Culture, Training

Related posts

How to Motivate Employees to Participate in HSAs

Jeff Griffin

As the cost of traditional group health insurance has gone up, high deductible health plans (HDHPs) with tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs) have become increasingly popular among employers of all sizes. But offering a HDHP is only helpful if employees, assuming they’re given a choice, then choose to adopt them. And employees who are most satisfied with HDHPs are the ones who make the most of a HDHP’s best feature, the HSA.

HSAs (which are only available with a qualifying HDHP) are primarily designed to help employees offset the high out-of-pocket costs which come along with HDHPs by allowing both employers and employees to contribute dollars into a special savings account. (Employee contributions are made on a pretax basis.) Because HSA funds roll-over and can eventually be converted into retirement savings, savvy employees have quickly learned how to take advantage of these accounts and those who can afford it are maximizing this benefit to the full extent of the contribution limits, which currently stand at $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family.

That said, the average HSA participant can’t afford to max out this benefit. In fact, most HSA participants barely contribute enough to the HSA to cover their anticipated out-of-pocket medical costs for the year. The average individual contribution is just $833, far less than any deductible on a HDHP, thereby causing enrollees to suffer under the weight of this type of plan design. Some of this behavior is simply due to limited incomes, but some can be attributed to other factors, such as a lack of education on how an HSA works.

To ensure that your workforce fully embraces HDHPs with HSA plans, it behooves every employer to explore ways to motivate employees to participate in their HSA. Afterall, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, between 20 and 22 million people in the U.S. are currently enrolled in an HDHP with an HSA.

Here are just a few ideas for improving HSA participation:

Read More
Topics: Employee Benefits, Employee Engagement, Plan Design, Behavioral Psychology, HSAs, Consumer Driven Healthcare

Related posts

5 Ways to Help Employees Embrace High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs)

David Rook

Many employers are making the move from traditional healthcare plans such as HMOs, POSs, EPOs, or PPOs, to high deductible health plans, commonly referred to as HDHPs. Employers find that HDHPs allow them to save on premium costs while at the same time encouraging workers to become more active and educated consumers of healthcare. Some companies might offer HDHPs as one of two or more medical plan options, although this strategy does them little good in terms of saving money if the majority of employees fail to adopt an HDHP plan.

Regardless of the options employers choose to offer, consumer-driven healthcare is on the rise and high deductible health plans aren’t going away anytime soon. As they continue to become more and more prevalent, it’s important for HR to step up their communication efforts. Employees will be (understandably) concerned and confused by the differences in HDHPs, but it’s nothing education, patience and a bit of behavioral economics knowledge can’t solve to ward off buyer's remorse. Here are some ways to help employees embrace high deductible health plans.

1. Communication is Key

As with any other change in your company, you must be very explicit and intentional in your communication. Remember that people like to have explanations for what is happening (and why), rather than have changes dictated to them without any kind of supporting information. Just remember Benjamin Franklin's oft-cited adage "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."

When introducing a HDHP, it's critical to hold an active (vs. passive) enrollment. It's also smart to hold an open enrollment meeting so your employees can ask you questions - just make sure they’re prepared for it by sending out the benefits information a few days prior to presentation. In this way, they'll have time to review the information and come prepared with any questions they might have. Be as candid as possible so they feel as though you’re understanding their concerns - and do your best to be as patient as you can to assuage their fears. This course of action will go a long way toward a smooth transition.

2. Educate Employees about How High Deductible Health Plans Work

If your employees have never been enrolled in a high deductible health plan before, they’ll have plenty of questions about how they work. Why aren’t there copays? How much does an office visit cost at the doctor? What if one of the members on the plan is seriously injured? For what type of person are HDHPs most appropriate? Although HDHPs are growing in popularity among employers, employees tend to know very little about them and therefore, shy away from them.

Read More
Topics: Cost Containment, Employee Engagement, Education, HSAs

Related posts

5 Employment Myths About Millennials Every Employer Should Know

David Rook

Already, the millennial generation is beginning to shape the workplace. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials form 25% of the today’s workforce, and by 2030, they will occupy 75%.

Millennials' attitudes towards work, their vast knowledge in technologies, and their strong career aspirations will determine the culture of the 21st century workplace. Therefore, this generation is not only different but also a very crucial engine that will steer the world economy in the coming decades.

A lot is said about these “digital natives,” but much of it is conjecture. Mostly, what is said about millennials is said through the biased lenses of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Employers need to shed this narrow thinking and separate the facts from myths about this demographic.

Here are the five most common employment myths about millennials you need to get right.

Myth 1: Millennials want constant acclamation.

Millennials are said to crave positive reinforcement and tend to think that everyone in the team “deserves a trophy.” However, a study by IBM showed that this is just a misconception. The study found that millennials value feedback and a fair manager who recognizes their accomplishments.

Read More
Topics: Employee Engagement, millennials, segmentation

Related posts

4 Important Things Employers Should Know About Generation Z

David Rook

Hot on the heels of Millennials, the new wave of talent is known as "Generation Z". Born in a globally accessible society, from 1993 onward, this generation has never seen the world without the internet. Among the 2 billion worldwide, 60 million nationally have grown up technologically savvy.  Though the majority of them are now either in high school or attending universities, there are some that are beginning to enter the workforce.

Just like previous generations, Generation Z will also have distinguished characteristics for which employers will need to prepare. So what exactly should employers expect from the next generation of the workforce? Here are the most overarching features of Gen Z that HR professionals should know about:

1. They prefer digital communication and a steady stream of information.

Gen Z are visual learners and have grown up with an iPad or a smartphone in their hands. Digital communication has been their way of life, and workplaces where communication is hushed may be unfavorable to them. They are socially responsible and connected with their peers around the world via social media; their communication is often done on social networks or through text messages, not email. Organizations need to shift from the traditional ways of communication, such as memos and emails, to accommodate the Gen Z workforce.

Read More
Topics: Employee Engagement, segmentation, generation z, employee culture

Related posts

What Cheating on Workplace Wellness Contests Says About the Cheater

David Rook

Wellness programs have been around for decades, and their benefits are well-documented. Research shows they are responsible for a 28 percent reduction in sick days, a 26 percent reduction in health costs, and a 30 percent decrease in workers' compensation and disability management claims. If designed well (e.g. based on population health analytics, etc.), companies can potentially save $5.93 for every dollar invested.

Wellness initiatives and contests have been taken to a new level in recent years, with the emergence of wearable fitness trackers. On the surface, it seems that these trackers would eliminate any tendency to exaggerate activity performance, compared to using manual logs. However, where there's a will, there's a way. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported on wellness cheaters. What does cheating on workplace wellness contests say about the cheater?

Read More
Topics: Company Culture, Employee Engagement, wellness

Related posts

Instant Blog Alerts

Straight to Your Inbox

Most Read

Posts by Topic

Expand all