Open enrollment will be here before you know it, so now is the time to start planning your communication strategy. Whether your employees are returning to the office or working remotely indefinitely, creating a solid email communication strategy will be key to driving benefits education and engagement. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ll share the types of emails you need to ensure success.
Open Enrollment Emails: Best Practices
Before we get into the specific messages you should send, let’s review some best practices for benefits enrollment emails:
- Grab Attention - Use subject lines that grab attention and spark a sense of urgency. For example, LAST CHANCE to get health insurance this year!
- Organize by Importance - Put the most important details in the beginning of the email. Many employees won’t read through to the end so this ensures they see the most crucial information first.
- Talk TO your Employees - Talk directly to team members by using the word “you” instead of writing in the third person.
- Good Design Matters - Use bullet points and headings to add whitespace and organize the content. More employees will get through the whole email if it’s easily scannable.
- Make it Relatable - Use real-life examples so employees can relate to what you say (with permission, of course). For example, “Bob saved $150 last year just by using the gym membership reimbursement benefit!”
- Keep it Fun - Benefits can be a dry subject, so make it enjoyable with trivia questions, mini-games, or contests. For example, “The first 20 people to enroll will be entered to win an extra vacation day!”
Implementing the tips above will maximize the chances of your emails getting opened and most importantly, read, by employees. And if you can make them interesting and fun, then you’re on the right track to a successful open enrollment season!
Now, let’s get into the types of emails you should send and when you should send them. To make this easier to digest, we’ve broken it down into 3 stages:
- Pre-Open Enrollment
- Open Enrollment
- Post-Open Enrollment
Pre-Open Enrollment Emails
Open enrollment is a major event that should be highlighted weeks in advance. Once it begins, some of your employees will sit anxiously at their computers with their fingers hovering over the “enroll” button. Others will need many reminders to log in and complete the process. In either scenario, your employees need to learn about their benefits options - especially any changes made since last year.
The first email you send should be three to four weeks before open enrollment begins. It should excitedly announce that open enrollment is coming soon and include:
- The dates employees can enroll
- Significant changes to the benefits package
- The introduction of a benefits decision support tool or other assistive technology (if applicable)
One week before open enrollment begins, send a follow-up email with similar information.
In the meantime, you should also craft and send emails about the specific benefits your company offers (health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, retirement plan, tuition reimbursement, etc.) That way, your team members can learn more about their options.
These emails should include highlights, such as:
- What each benefit covers
- How much it will cost the employee
- How much the company will pay on their behalf (doing this provides insight into their total compensation package)
- Why someone might want to elect it (i.e., hospital indemnity insurance can help cover any hospital costs that regular insurance doesn’t cover)
- How it’s changed since last year (if applicable)
- When and where to enroll this year
These emails should be relatively short and easy to digest. Include links to additional information so employees can continue reading, and let them know that you’re available for questions.
Open Enrollment Emails
During open enrollment, send your employees regular email reminders. Include where to enroll, instructions to complete the process, and how to get help if needed. Make sure the enrollment deadline is obvious.
Continue to send emails about specific benefits you’d like to highlight - especially if you didn’t get through all of them before open enrollment. Early open enrollment is also a great time to run contests associated with completing the process. As the season comes to a close, keep engagement high by asking trivia questions or sharing riddles (offering small prizes for correct answers will help too!)
Post-Open Enrollment Emails
The end of open enrollment doesn’t signal the end of benefits communications. There will still be key opportunities to discuss benefits throughout the year and you should strive to send employees benefits-related messages year-round. As your organization onboards new employees, it will be essential to inform them how to enroll. Additionally, it’s likely that some of your employees will experience life changes (such as a marriage or the birth of a child) and will need to modify their benefits accordingly.
Below is a sample timeline of the emails we discussed above.
While this is intended to be helpful, ultimately, you know your employees best, so make sure you’re planning a strategy that works well for your organization.
How to Make Benefits Communications Easy
All of this may feel overwhelming - and it can be - so that’s why planning ahead is crucial. But if you’re low on resources and feel like you might need help drafting these types of emails, we can help! When you work with Picwell, in addition to providing a powerful benefits decision support solution to employees, you and your team will receive access to email templates and much more in our Customer Success Toolkit.
The Picwell Customer Success Toolkit provides all the materials you need for a successful open enrollment including timelines (like the one above), flyer templates, and email templates. We even provide Picwell branded images and website mockup ideas. Not only will your employees receive the education and guidance they need with Picwell, but you’ll also receive everything you need to ensure open enrollment is a success.
Want to see how Picwell can help your organization save money while also driving benefits communication and engagement? Schedule a demo today.
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