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Annual Enrollment Summer Checklist: Prepping for AE Between Beach Trips and Ice Cream

Annual Enrollment Summer Checklist: Prepping for AE Between Beach Trips and Ice Cream
Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 by Rae Shanahan

No matter what the season, Annual Enrollment is always in the back of the HR professional’s mind. 

AE-check-listDespite the summer sun shining and lemonade glasses clinking, it’s never too early to start prepping for the Super Bowl of benefits. Just like in football, communication and planning is key to a successful (and winning) season. It may be time to bust out that whiteboard and start planning your AE strategy.

New benefits, more choices

In the past few years, benefits have changed drastically. New plans have been designed, voluntary coverages have emerged, and individuals can now choose from a growing range of choices. This presents a bigger challenge for HR professionals to educate and provide employees with the best opportunity to enroll in the right plan for their needs.

Plus, with the latest technological innovations, new employer concerns and perspectives, and changing employee needs and priorities, the AE experience changes every year.

To help you get started on how to tackle AE this year, here is your official AE Summer Checklist:

  • Revisit AE 2018: What feedback did you receive last year from employees? How did your team shine during Annual Enrollment? Which areas could have used a little more TLC? One of the best ways to plan for this year is to assess last year. So, grab your team, find some open space, and discuss last year’s AE to get moving on this year’s enrollment.
  • Plan your communications: Whether you have eight employees or eight hundred, communication is key for AE – although you should also be communicating throughout the entire year. Employees are not only strapped for time at work, but they likely are managing busy personal lives as well, making it hard to get their attention. Research shows that a person needs to receive a message seven different times before it’s effectively retained, so consider multiple touchpoints for your AE communications. For example, send an oversized postcard to employees’ homes along with a desk drop with a calendar of important AE dates.
  • Anticipate questions: Regardless of the time and thought you put into prepping, there will still be questions from employees. Understanding benefits can be tough and might cause anxiety for some employees. While you may provide webinars or in-person sessions, when the time to actually enroll comes, the questions will come as well. Equip your team with resources to be the best support system for your employees. Many platforms offer tools that help employees understand what benefits best fit their needs – like the MyChoice℠ Recommendation Engine. Communicate the benefits of these tools and how your team can provide support during AE as well.
  • Schedule in fun: AE is a long and sometimes stressful process for those managing it. While you still have the time, plan an event for those team members to thank them for their dedicated efforts. In fact, consider scheduling breaks throughout the whole AE period for your team that will help relieve some stress – such as yoga sessions throughout the week or a breakfast bar to get their energy going.

Want to learn more about engaging employees for Annual Enrollment?