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Many Employees in the Dark When It Comes to Open Enrollment, Survey Finds

ToyStoryLast week, CareerBuilder released its annual survey on open enrollment that found that 15 percent of hiring managers estimate more than 10 percent of their employees miss annual open enrollment deadlines each year on average, which can have a significant impact on employees’ pocketbooks.

According to the survey, one third (34 percent) of human resource managers said missing open enrollment costs employees, on average, at least $500 in out-of-pocket expenses. Twenty percent reported that it costs employees more than $1,000 while 10 percent reported it costs employees more than $2,500.

Another major finding from the survey is that one of the main reasons employees don’t participate in open enrollment or take advantage of certain benefits is simply because they’re unaware these programs even exists.

The impact of employee open enrollment on employers 

It’s to your benefit to make your employees aware of their options – and assist them in making better informed financial decisions – during open enrollment. Taking the following extra steps to make your employees aware of their money-saving options will increase their satisfaction levels, increase productivity and boost their feelings of loyalty (something that, according to Harvard Business blogger Michael Watkins, companies need to foster now more than ever if they want to retain their best performers).

  • Boost internal communications. Send out continual email announcements and reminders encouraging people to enroll, and schedule departmental or companywide meetings to do the same.
  • Make the process as easy for them to use and understand, as they’ll be more likely to participate that way.  Have HR host workshops with various groups to demonstrate how to use open enrollment, or post a Web tutorial on the company intranet.
  • Be up front about any plan increases.  It’s very likely that health care costs at your company are going up, and while you might not be crazy about the idea of telling your employees this, they will appreciate the honest and open communication.  And with the rising costs, you might…
  • Consider offering alternative health insurance.  More employers are including consumer-directed  health savings plans among their options this year, according to the Associated Press, which have the potential to cut down on premium payments and giving consumers a tax break.  Whatever you do, you’ll want to…
  • Help your employees choose the best plan for them.  Bring in a financial counselor to meet with employees and help them make better informed decisions. Better yet, request a presentation meeting with your carrier to review benefits with your staff and let them ask questions personally.

How are you keeping your employees in the know about open enrollment?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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