This year, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed industries into unprecedented territory—moving many public sector organizations into a fully remote environment for the first time ever. We understand that budgetary constraints, retention challenges and employee morale have weighed heavily on HR professionals as they’ve navigated this new normal, and it may make the upcoming open enrollment season seem more daunting than ever.

However, open enrollment—even in a fully remote environment—doesn’t have to be yet another obstacle for you to overcome in 2020. With consistent, clear messaging and a thoughtful game plan, public sector organizations can host a successful open enrollment. Here are some tips from our team of HR experts for making this year’s enrollment season a win-win for both you and your employees.

Lean into tried-and-true remote communication methods.

Perhaps you’ve relied on desk drops or in-person meetings in the past to drum up awareness of benefit enrollment periods. In a remote world, digital communications may be easier to produce and disperse, and by now, you may have already established a tried-and-true way of connecting with your remote workers. Continue to leverage the methods your employees are familiar with, whether it’s weekly emails, internal newsletters or notifications from your payroll and benefits platform. Including open enrollment information in communication vehicles employees are already accustomed to seeing increases the likelihood of engagement.

Create an online repository for benefit information.

Think of using your company’s intranet as a place to house and highlight important open enrollment information such as upcoming deadlines, links to benefit administrator and vendor websites, benefit FAQs and essential forms, or any helpful videos and webinar recordings. Hosting information through a website or mobile app grants employees 24/7 access to the benefit details they need to make an informed decision and is another powerful resource you can leverage in a remote working environment.

Host virtual town halls, live webinars, etc.

The key to communicating benefit information is making sure that your employees have room to ask questions and engage with the material being presented. By hosting virtual town halls or live webinars, you can encourage employee engagement by creating a space to answer their questions and address any concerns. Be sure to get creative—consider organizing a virtual benefits fair and invite guest speakers from your benefit administrators to educate employees on their options. In fact, our experts regularly lend their guidance and expertise at these sessions to help employees understand the benefits our clients offer through MidAmerica. We suggest hosting multiple sessions at separate times and recording them—this covers all bases and ensures anyone can view the sessions at their own convenience, including those who may have missed it or new hires.

Make sure to plan ahead.

Our team of HR experts stress the importance of planning open enrollment and any education sessions ahead of time to cast the widest net possible—as well as beginning the open enrollment process one to two weeks before any HR-driven deadlines. We recommend socializing your open enrollment timeline well in advance—with frequent reminders—so enrollment stays top of mind for employees as critical dates and virtual education sessions draw near.

Proactively reach out to employees who may have a record of enrolling late.

If you know certain employees have struggled in the past with enrolling, take the time and effort to reach out to these individuals on a one-to-one basis. See if they have begun considering this season’s open enrollment process or if they have any questions that may be easier answered in this personal setting. Our HR experts say that this type of excellent customer service may be just the ticket to helping all employees successfully cross the enrollment finish line.

How MidAmerica Can Help.

Still looking for more tips and tricks? Check out this additional MidAmerica article that lays out ideas such as starting education early, remembering the basics, communicating your plan and level of coverage and more. We want you to feel empowered moving into this season and are more than happy to support you through these trying times. We offer many tools and resources you can use to help employees better understand voluntary benefits, like their Flexible Spending Account (FSA), and how to take advantage of it. If you have any questions regarding your FSA open enrollment, please reach out to [email protected].

Overall, the goal is to keep employees interested in what their benefits offer and what’s new to help them get the most out of their plans. By utilizing some of the above tips, you are sure to have a successful open enrollment season.

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