5 Communication Rules to Live by this Open Enrollment Season

Open Enrollment communication can sometimes be a drag, but it doesn’t have to be! With the proper planning you can turn your Open Enrollment communication woes into a big win! There are dozens of communication tactics out there that you can try, but we’ve gathered our top five with the following requirements in mind:

  • Easy to implement!

  • Proven success!

RULE #1: Create a communications calendar

Yup, it sounds simple, but oh-so effective! Take 20 minutes out of your day, grab a day planner, grab your pen and get to work! Find out how much time you have between now and Open Enrollment. How many communications can you send out prior to your Open Enrollment start date? How many times do you want to communicate about Open Enrollment beforehand? We suggest at least seven times (see Rule #2). How many times do you want to communicate during Open Enrollment? Place a star on each day you want to send out a communication. Then, plan out the following:

  • The type of medium you will use (email, text, video, chat platform, in-person meeting, etc.)

  • The time of day you will send

  • The call-to-action of the communication (what do you want your employees to do after they read or watch the communication?)

Hang your communications calendar on the wall, on your computer, in the bathroom – anywhere that you won’t be able to escape from it! This little guy will hold you accountable in the coming weeks.


RULE #2: Follow the Rule of 7

We say this all the time. All the time! Why? Because it’s SO important! Marketing has trained the brains in our society to automatically dismiss information as we receive it because we know deep down, we will be reminded of it again. Whether it’s about a shopping sale or a sweepstakes to win a free iPad, we will be reminded of it over and over again until the promotion is over. On average we need to hear a message seven times before we take notice or take action. It’s no different for internal communications. In fact, it’s probably worse! Even though your message is extremely important, it still needs to fight with all the other noise your employees are hearing, receiving, viewing… So, when you’re communicating about Open Enrollment, be sure to communicate to employees at least seven times about when it is and what they need to do now. We can pretty much guarantee no late enrollees when you follow the Rule of 7.


RULE #3: Recycle content

Have a great video that explains HSAs? Did you create an awesome medical side-by-side comparison chart? Well, guess what? You can recycle that content! Don’t let it go to waste. Sure, you’ve sent it out last year or the year before. Maybe you sent it out four times. Send it out again, my HR friends! There are probably employees who didn’t read or watch the first time (or the first four times) you sent it out. Even if they did read or watch, repetition is key for understanding. How many times did you need to hear about an HDHP plan before it finally clicked? We’re guessing more than once. Health benefits and insurance is complicated stuff, so be sure to use the goods you’ve got in your back pocket over and over again.


RULE #4: Use the Cocktail Phenomenon

The Cocktail Phenomenon will help your communications become more of a conversation, more personalized and relevant. Before you sit down to write out a long email to your employees about the importance of enrolling on time, close your eyes…think about being out at happy hour with your best friends. Great music is playing. The bartender is crafting his specialty drinks just for you. Everyone is laughing and having a good ol’ time…and then, out of nowhere your friend asks you about the difference between in-network and out-of-network doctors. How would you explain this concept to your friend? You would:

  • Make it relevant to her needs

  • Remove any insurance jargon…Susie doesn’t know this stuff

  • Perhaps give an example of the importance of staying in-network

And that’s what you need to do when you’re writing an email, making a video, sending out a memo, etc. Pretend that you’re talking to your friends. Why should your employees care? Answer that question for them! Remove the insurance jargon – you know this stuff is hard to understand! And tell stories instead of facts. That will resonate more with your team than anything else.


RULE #5: Incorporate humor

Let’s be honest, not every day at work is going to be glorious. That’s why they have to pay us to be there. But we’re all people, and people like to laugh! Incorporate humor into your communications. I know, I know…you’re thinking how can I make benefits and Open Enrollment fun?? The answer is memes, GIFs and cute dogs – oh my!

Check out some fun examples below.

Pro tip: Think about your audience, a.k.a. your employees. What is the primary generation? Is there a popular TV show in the office? What appeals to them? Think about these answers to help you make the most humorous email in HR history!


EXAMPLE 1:

Hurry! Open Enrollment is almost over!

Find or create a GIF here.


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EXAMPLE 2:

Is this you during Open Enrollment season? We feel you. But, did you know we offer some of the greatest benefits around town? Get to know them by visiting your enrollment portal.  

Find free images to use here.


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EXAMPLE 3:

Forgot your password to enroll? You’re not alone! Click here to reset your password.

Create your own meme here.



BONUS! RULE #6: Give employees bite-size, binge-worthy benefits videos

We understand, you’re busy. You don’t have time to create videos! Even though videos are one of the most effective communication tools, they’re historically expensive and take a long time to create. But not anymore!

Enter BeneBits™!

BeneBits™ are little bits of snackable benefits videos offered at an itty-bitty price. Your annual subscription gets you customized benefits videos in less than two weeks! These videos have a proven track record of improving engagement levels and improving employees’ understanding of benefits. The best part, very little work is required of you. So, sit back and relax this Open Enrollment season. With all the tips above plus a BeneBits™ subscription, you’re sure to win and be the HR hero you always knew you could be.



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