Keys for a Smooth Open Enrollment – How to Avoid Disaster

Few events can be as stressful for your HR department as open enrollment.  The period each year when your employees can enroll in or significantly modify their benefits like insurance and retirement is a major event that will see your HR workers flooded with requests and inquiries.  Bu you can turn open enrollment into a simple process that saves everyone time and energy.  Remembering a few basic things can help your open enrollment process become much easier to manage.  Keeping them in mind can give not only your HR workers a bit of relief, but can help your other employees manage open enrollment easily as well. 

The first thing to keep in mind concerning open enrollment is that preparation is vital.  This goes beyond just telling your employees that open enrollment is coming up.  First, start by finding out what your employees are going to look for during open enrollment.  Sending out a companywide survey is a great way to do this.  Ask basic questions related to their needs or desires like whether or not they need to include family on their insurance or how much they might be willing to contribute to their policies.  Once you know what they want, you can be sure that you're offering policies they will want to use.  It will cut down on the amount of time spent looking at their options during open enrollment.

As open enrollment draws near, giving your employees information about what will be offered is a step you can take to significantly reduce stress when open enrollment starts.  Handing out informative brochures or booklets or sending emails with links to info on policies you'll be offering are great ways to give employees a head start on reviewing their options before open enrollment begins.  Hopefully by the time open enrollment starts, your employees will know exactly what they want thanks to the information you gave them.

Many companies set up employee self-service options before open enrollment begins.  This allows workers to log into a software system and sign up for or alter their benefits prior to the mad rush of open enrollment.  Not everyone will be able to take advantage of this, but if you can implement a few days or even a full week of self-service before open enrollment begins you'll be able to cut down on the number of people that your HR department has to manage during actual open enrollment.  It can be the best way to avoid problems.

Finally, don't overlook outsourcing during open enrollment.  Your HR department is busy enough as it is, and bringing in a few outsiders to help with open enrollment is a great way to help them focus on the tasks that they've been handling without overloading them otherwise.  Open enrollment can bring your company's HR functions to a standstill, and outsourcing can keep them moving forward during the process.  Unicorn HRO offers open enrollment solutions for any company of any size, and can help you turn your open enrollment period from an HR nightmare into a simple, effortless affair.

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