The Unicorn HRO Blog

Open Enrollment – Getting the Most from It

Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 by Unicorn HRO

Ask any HR employee just what time of year they dread the most and you'll likely get more than a few responses agreeing that HR open enrollment is indeed the one part of every year that manages to raise blood pressure rates in the human resources department.  That's simply because the huge influx of paperwork from employees looking to sign up, modify or even terminate their various benefits can be a huge struggle to keep up with.  That added workload during HR open enrollment can be expensive, as well, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.  The reduced productivity can eat into your bottom line quickly – more quickly than all those insurance policies.  And since smaller businesses often pay eighteen percent more for their insurance policies, getting the most from HR open enrollment is vital.  Luckily, there are a few things you can do to boost the effectiveness of your HR open enrollment.

  • The single most important thing to remember when it comes to HR open enrollment is that the quality of what you're offering will play a big role in the overall success of your benefits plans.  If employees don't really care about certain benefits, it may take them longer to settle on one.  And if your HR open enrollment offers nothing employees want, you may very well lose employees instead of gaining loyalty.
  • Start off by sending out pamphlets or memos detailing each package offered during HR open enrollment.  You may even have department meetings and detail them yourself so that there are no questions unanswered when HR open enrollment actually begins.  When everyone understands what's offered, the process is much easier.
  • You should be sure you're getting the best rates, too.  Health insurance rates alone are expected to increase by as much as eight percent over the next year, so double check the rates you're paying before HR open enrollment.  You may need to reconsider your carrier and your options to get the most from HR open enrollment.
  • When HR open enrollment begins, try to see if online self-service options are possible.  This could allow employees to log in, manage their information themselves, and avoid the huge rush of paperwork and inquiries that HR open enrollment usually brings.
  • You might even need to consider outsourcing during HR open enrollment.  Bringing in outside experts to handle HR open enrollment will let your HR department continue focusing on their normal duties and keep them from losing productivity. 

Benefits are considered by many employees to be every bit as important as their salary.  HR open enrollment offers a chance for them to review their benefits and modify as needed, and is one of the most important parts of keeping the best employees possible.  Keeping the above tips in mind may help make your HR open enrollment a little bit easier to manage.

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