It’s open enrollment season! That annual little window of time when employees make decisions that will impact not only the year ahead, but well into their future (no matter how far from retirement they are).
It can also impact how well-used your benefits offerings are.
Too bad many folks have no idea what they’re doing.
And often, soon after open enrollment season ends, people think of what they would have done differently or should have done but didn’t.
That Monday morning quarterbacking was actually tracked by the folks at Colonial Penn earlier this year. In its January 2013 Post-Enrollment survey, Colonial took a look at the missteps employees made in their 2012 benefits enrollment season.
You can use this data to help your own employees sidestep those same blunders this go-around.
7 you don’t want them to repeat
How many of these seven have you seen? In order from most to least common along with strategies to help right the ship:
- They assume they don’t need the benefits offered, without talking to a benefits counselor first (81%). While you want to be careful not to offer employees specific financial advice yourself (same goes for your finance staffers), it can help to enlist the help of an advisor. It’s the top feature most employees want.
- They don’t read the benefits information before enrollment (69%). In some ways it’s understandable – those thick packets full of tiny print will intimidate many. Try creating a one or two-page summary sheet that hits the highlights. Better than nothing, and most folks will likely scan it.
- They don’t know what benefits they currently have – or what they cost (69%). That’s one Finance can help with. You already have that info at your fingertips. Offering some personalized information to employees will help them know where there are know so they better understand where they need to go.
- They forgot to talk with their spouse about their families’ needs before enrollment begins (67%). An easy enough fix. In the days leading up to open enrollment, have Finance send out a quick email reminder: “Don’t forget to talk with your spouse about your families’ benefits needs.” Takes about a minute but can make the experience much more meaningful for employees.
- They assume the price of any new benefits will be unaffordable – even though they haven’t actually seen any prices (66%). The numbers make the case in many instances. Real-life examples, in dollars and cents, should be a part of any new benefits offering explanation.
- They skip the group informational meeting (58%). You probably don’t want to make this session mandatory (could lead to some hostile participants). But enlist all supervisors’ help here. Ask them to encourage their charges to attend the meeting. And remember to keep the session to a reasonable amount of time so folks won’t be so hesitant to leave their desks.
- They don’t take the time to find out about the changes coming to their benefit plan (50%). You do get a little leg up this go-around. With so much talk about the Affordable Care Act, benefits changes have been all over the news in recent months. So at least people know there may be big shifts afoot. The question is, what your company will do to help employees understand what’s changing? Seeing as 9 in 10 people admit they still don’t understand healthcare reform, there’s clearly plenty of room for you to clear some confusion.