Congratulations – you’ve survived another open enrollment! What are you going to do now?
Benefits people can be forgiven for answering…nothing. It’s been a tough month. Open enrollment, as we all know, is the HR-equivalent of Black Friday, only without the reward of a new computer or a big-screen TV on the other side. It’s tempting to want to idle in neutral.
But most of your non-healthcare benefits have year-round enrollment. So now, without the deluge of hair-on-fire questions about which health plan to choose, it’s a good time to focus on the rest of your program and make plans for the year ahead.
So take a deep breath, enjoy the quiet, and take stock. Of What?
Your big benefits picture
How does your benefits platform look to someone who isn’t you? Does it flow? Is it easy follow? Is everything easy to find? What you want is an instantly recognizable portrait of what you offer, and not a surrealist Picasso where nothing’s where you expect.
Like it or not, prospective hires are comparison shopping your benefits. That means you want to give outsiders at least a little peek at employer brand, lest you lose prospects to organizations that do. You don’t have to give away the whole store. But think of it another way; you’ve spent so much time assembling those great benefits…if you’re not providing at least a baseline of what you offer to an outside audience, you’re missing a golden opportunity.
Just as teenagers are ignoring their parents’ phone calls (“Mom, just send me a text!”), Millennials and Gen Z are probably hitting “delete” on status-quo long-form benefits communications. That means emails and newsletters alone just won’t cut it. Instead, use all the tools at your disposal. “The amount of time people spend on social media is constantly increasing,” wrote my social-media-savvy colleague Evan recently. “It’s time for HR to leverage that preoccupation.”
Are you using the same-old, same-old CTAs? Remember…it’s not enough to just to get people’s attention. To get them invested, you need people to do something; join a contest; push a button; tear off a card with a phone number to put in their wallet. Such actions — what one of our VPs calls the infomercial approach that gets people to “Act now!” — create instant connections between employees and benefits. Your goal, he says, is to get people to commit that back-up child care to memory, so when a snow day comes along, your employee says, “Wait…I remember…I have a solution!”
So take that much-deserved deep breath, HR people. But don’t take too long. With year-end in the viewfinder, it may seem like there’s nothing left to do.
But in the words of the immortal infomercial Ron Popeil, “Wait…there’s more!”