Everyone knows what TGIF stands for, but for those administering benefits, a more fitting acronym might be TGOEE (as in “Thank Goodness Open Enrollment Ended”).
The open enrollment season is usually a chaotic time, where you and your staff find yourselves fielding unexpected questions, helping employees make important decisions, and processing massive amounts of important data.
And while it’s tempting to breathe a cleansing sigh of relief when it’s over and move on quickly to your next challenges, it pays to spend the necessary hours to debrief on last season and prepare for the next.
Steps to take immediately after open enrollment ends
No two organizations approach open enrollment in the same way. However, there are clear steps that any organization — not matter their size — should take to ensure they are primed and ready for the best, next open enrollment period.
Be disciplined about the data.
Creating a comprehensive report about last season’s open enrollment activities can give you a great baseline to use when making decisions about next season. In addition to the obvious data points, such as enrollments and coverage tiers, consider including a section dedicated to common and intriguing questions you encountered last season (for example, here are some we’ve collected).
Your provider should also be supplying your organization with a rundown of post-enrollment data. It’s worth the effort to review that information closely to make sure everything is as it should be, especially after your first bill arrives.
By taking time to do a deep data dive now and making it a regular practice, you can make the coming open enrollment period — and each one after it — even more successful on every front.
Be intentional about interactions.
By its very nature, open enrollment season features many in-person interactions. With your broker representative. With your employees. With senior leadership at your organization.
Make sure you’re just as intentional about talking and listening during the “offseason.” For example, now’s the time to schedule quarterly meetings with your broker representative if you haven’t already. It’s also a great time to solicit direct feedback from your employees about what they liked — and what they struggled with — during open enrollment last year. Again, everything you do now will only help improve the overall process down the road.
Be clear in your communications.
The offseason is also the best time to review all the ways you’re communicating with your employees about their coverage.
Does your newsletter need an overhaul? Are your emails hitting the points that matter most for your employees? Are communications clear about how and when employees should be updating their status based on significant life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child? And, is your communication process easy?
Be thinking about technology.
If you aren’t already using workforce management technology, like Orbit Solutions, it might be time to consider it. Benefits administration can be a complex and time-consuming process, both during open enrollment and throughout the year.
Benefit administration capabilities within our Orbit Solution’s HR module enables you to streamline the entire process and modify reports to meet your organization’s specific needs. Customizable self-service tools also empower employees to select plans and make life event changes on their own, which helps increase engagement and reduce your administrative workload. Plus Orbit Solutions has tons of capabilities that make communication with employees that much faster and easier. You can read all about those here!
If you’re interested in learning more about how Orbit Human Resources can help with benefits administration, please contact us today. We’re happy to help!