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5 Tips for HR Sanity During Open Enrollment

Open enrollment — the most wonderful time of the year, right? If you’re up to your neck in benefits decisions and employee questions, your answer is probably a resounding “No!”

Never fear, intrepid open-enrollment warrior! We’ve got five tips to help you not only get the job done during this crucial period, but lead it with confidence.

Make it an easy, information-rich process

Don’t shy away from the details. Most employees don’t have the intimate understanding of benefits enrollment that HR professionals do, and this can lead to stress and confusion, so anything adding transparency and simplicity to the process is a big plus. Highlight all the options, and if possible, show them a sample paycheck to see how choices impact their personal bottom line.

An employee self-service system can help streamline this process, letting your staff handle enrollment at their own speed and on their own schedule so they can discuss and make decisions with family members if they prefer. Make the process that much easier and more efficient by adopting a platform that’s mobile-friendly.

Check in with employees

Proactively reaching out to workers before open enrollment ends might seem like a big time commitment, but it can actually save you some headaches in the long run.

While many in your organization are likely to send you their questions without provocation, other employees might be hesitant. To help employees take full advantage of their benefits and clear up any confusion they might be experiencing, send an email or other simple communication letting them know you’re here to help and how to easily reach out with any questions.

Happy employees touch elbows

Send friendly reminders

Speaking of emails and proactive communication, provide regular reminders to staff throughout open enrollment. If you have a self-service platform, send push notifications about due dates, changes to benefits and necessary actions employees must take.

It’s also imperative to let them know if this year is an active or passive election, especially when different from the year before. Be sure to tell employees multiple times using different channels like email, self-service notifications, signage and direct messaging from front-line managers.

Take care of you

This might seem obvious, but it’s easy to neglect yourself during this end-of-year endeavor. Managing stress is crucial to a successful open enrollment, and maintaining healthy habits helps considerably with stress levels.

Schedule in some time to make a trip to your happy place. Whatever it is that feeds your soul, be it crocheting, woodworking or just some Frisbee time with your dog, give it a place on your calendar. Your team needs you at your best, and recharging those batteries is how you get there.

Delegating tasks can also help relieve stress. Just because you can do everything doesn’t mean you should. Take some weight off your shoulders and let your team support you. If they can take notes during a meeting so you can sit out or just handle an email or two, the extra time will allow you to catch your breath.

Make notes for next year

By the time open enrollment rolls back around, you will have likely forgotten the little things you thought of the year before to make the process better. Taking notes and storing those golden nuggets of info someplace you can easily find them can be a sanity saver.

For instance, if you want to look into automating your open enrollment process, jot that tidbit down. After the smoke clears, review your notes and see what your options are for tech-assisted improvements. Consider surveying employees to get their feedback on what went well with enrollment and what could be better next year. Our open enrollment guide can also help you find ways to hit the ground running when you start getting ready for your next enrollment period.

Open enrollment will probably never be something you look forward to. But you don’t have to emerge from it worn out and exhausted. Help limit your stress through proactive communication, strategic planning and a little bit of self-care. You got this!