Open enrollment is an important time of the year for employers, employees, and benefits vendors. How the human resources department handles the lead-up to your company’s open enrollment will define its success. To get the ball rolling, a robust open enrollment email to employees is vital.
Your teams should start strategizing well before the announcement for open enrollment. HR processes need to be in place as a standard business practice. Each year host a debriefing session to understand what worked and how to improve open enrollment the following year.
In this article, we will focus on the importance of sending an open enrollment email to employees.
An announcement is made via email to ensure employees are informed about open enrollment dates and benefits being offered. Email is not the only way to reach employees. There are benefit fairs, promotional material, and banners on the company website.
What makes the email essential is that you can send it to every employee through the company’s email system.
The open enrollment announcement email should go out two weeks before your benefits packages are made available to employees. Let’s use a fall open enrollment as an example.
Most companies operate on a calendar fiscal year. Benefit terms would run from January 1st to December 31st. Therefore, your open enrollment for the new year will take place in October. The dates give your human resources department time to process and review employee elections and send them to the benefits providers.
Following this time frame, your open enrollment email to employees would go out in mid-September.
Effective communication to employees can sometimes be a moving target. Employees digest information in different ways. Plus, you must consider the different ways people receive information.
Emails are essential for company-wide communication because every employee gets assigned a company email when hired. You can also take an email communication and post it to the employee portal on your website.
Drafting an open enrollment email is not a daunting task. Think of it as an invitation. You want to provide employees with essential information about the upcoming benefits period that is engaging. The email is simply an introduction. Consider creating an email template.
Here are the key components of the email.
The opening of the email starts with a bold header letting employees know it’s time for open enrollment. Use a format that addresses the employee by name.
In your hook, you want to get employees ready for open enrollment. Have an upbeat message to let employees know this is a positive engagement. It’s their opportunity to enroll or make changes to their employee benefits.
The call-to-action lets them know the open enrollment date, where they can find information, and when enrollment packets will become available. Announce your benefits portal and upcoming benefits fairs.
Deadlines are vital when it comes to open enrollment. Your teams need ample time for payroll processing. The information must get to vendors to ensure employees elections are accessible on day one of your company’s benefits plan year.
Provide contact information to let employees know how they can access Q & As, learn more about their benefits, and how to contact the human resources benefits specialist.
Close the email out by reminding employees of the importance of benefits enrollment. Thank them in advance for doing their part to make this a successful open enrollment.
Here we have provided you with a template for your open enrollment email to employees. Remember, this is a guide to get you thinking about your message to employees.
It’s That Time of Year!
Hi [employee name / team],
It’s the start of Open Enrollment! Now is the time to review your current benefits and prepare to make changes, if needed. (Let employees know if plans are changing or if new plans were added).
For [current year], we are maintaining [describe plan types] and have made the following changes: [describe plan changes].
This year’s enrollment period runs from [enrollment period dates]. Our benefits fair will take place [insert dates, time, locations]. See attached flyer.
Please log into our benefits portal to make elections, update your contact information, and make any status changes.
Log-in Now! [Insert link to benefits portal and instructions]
Provide instructions on how to log in. For example, using your company email address, PIN information... Remind employees they will receive a confirmation of their changes.
The last day to enroll is [insert date].
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact your benefits specialist—[insert specialist contact information or provide a link].
We are looking forward to a successful enrollment season.
Include with your email any attachments related to open enrollment. The attachments can include:
Getting essential information to employees is vital but shouldn’t overwhelm the employee. Also, remember the source of information. Employees disseminate information differently, so you may need to consider other methods of engagement.
Sending out the open enrollment email to employees is just the first step. Information sessions and benefits fairs are among other steps to ensure every employee can decide their health benefits.
Include a benefits portal on your company website so employees can enroll online at their convenience. The portal can also include a count-down counter to encourage employees to enroll.
At Ignite HCM, we assist human resources administrators in streamlining processes. Request a consultation, so we discuss your payroll management and HR optimization needs.