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How to Leverage SMS for a Smooth Open Enrollment Period

how to leverage sms for a smooth open enrollment period

Open enrollment is a critical period for businesses, marking the time when employees can select or modify their benefits for the upcoming year. This process is essential for employees to access the coverage they need and for businesses to manage costs effectively.

In this blog post, we'll explore the challenges of open enrollment communication and provide actionable strategies for HR professionals and business owners to leverage SMS effectively throughout the process.

Challenges of Open Enrollment

Open enrollment can pose several challenges for businesses, including low employee engagement, confusion about benefits, and missed deadlines. Addressing these challenges is crucial for ensuring a smooth and successful enrollment period.

1. Lack of Employee Engagement

Even though open enrollment directly affects employees for the rest of the year, they may not actively engage in the process, leading to uninformed decisions or even missed deadlines. This lack of engagement can result from a variety of factors, including a complex benefits package, unclear communication, or a general disinterest in the topic.

Some ways to help employees engage include:

  • A mandatory meeting to go over the benefits
  • A “Lunch and Learn” aimed at helping employees decide which plan is right for them
  • Clear communication through SMS before, during, and after the enrollment period 

2. Confusion About Benefits

Understanding the intricacies of benefit plans can be daunting for employees. The complexity of insurance options, retirement plans, and other benefits can lead to confusion and may result in individuals not making choices that align with their needs or lifestyles.

3. Missed Deadlines

Timely submission of benefit selections is crucial for both employees and HR teams. However, the open enrollment period can sneak up on individuals, leading to missed deadlines. Late submissions can result in coverage gaps or limited access to certain benefits.

13 Open Enrollment Communication Examples

Navigating open enrollment successfully requires a well-thought-out communication strategy, and mass texting can be a powerful tool in achieving this. Businesses can ensure that employees receive timely and relevant information by breaking down the communication process into three key phases—weeks ahead, during active enrollment, and after enrollment has passed. Let's explore effective open enrollment text reminders for each phase.

Before Open Enrollment Season

In the weeks leading up to open enrollment, it's essential to lay the groundwork for a smooth process. Employees need to be aware of key dates, understand the benefits offered, and have access to resources that help them make informed decisions. Texting can be a valuable channel for delivering these critical pieces of information.

Overview and Welcome Message

Before delving into specific details, consider sending a warm and informative welcome message to set the tone. This message should provide a brief overview of what to expect during the upcoming open enrollment period and the importance of the process. An example text could be:

"Hello [Employee Name]! Open enrollment is approaching, and we're here to guide you through the process. Look out for important updates, deadlines, and resources coming your way soon."

Highlight New or Updated Benefits

If there are any changes to the benefits package or updates that employees should be aware of, use SMS to provide a concise introduction. This ensures that employees are informed about what to expect and can start preparing for any modifications.

"Exciting news, [Employee Name]! We've introduced new benefits this year. Learn more at [link] to make the most of your options."

Educational SMS Series

Consider implementing an educational SMS series that gradually provides detailed information about the upcoming open enrollment. Break down complex topics into bite-sized messages, making it easier for employees to absorb important details.

"Welcome to our Open Enrollment series, [Employee Name]! Over the next few days, we'll guide you through each aspect of your benefits. Today: Important dates to remember. Stay tuned!"

Important Dates to Remember

As the open enrollment period approaches, sending out reminders about key dates is crucial. Employees may have busy schedules, and timely notifications can help them plan ahead.

"Hello [Employee Name], open enrollment is just around the corner! Don't miss these crucial dates: [Date 1]: Open enrollment begins, [Date 2]: Deadline to submit benefit selections. Stay tuned for more updates!"

Access to Pre-Enrollment Resources

Provide employees with early access to resources that will help them prepare for open enrollment. This could include links to benefits handbooks, FAQs, or interactive tools that assist in estimating coverage needs.

"Prepare for open enrollment with our pre-enrollment resources, [Employee Name]! Visit [link] for FAQs, benefits handbooks, and helpful tools."

Encourage Pre-Enrollment Questions

Create an open line of communication by encouraging employees to ask questions before the official enrollment period begins. This fosters engagement and helps address any concerns in advance.

"We're here to help, [Employee Name]! Got questions about open enrollment? Reply with your queries, and we'll ensure you have the information you need before the season kicks off."

During Active Open Enrollment

Once open enrollment is active, the focus shifts to ensuring employees are engaged, aware of deadlines, and have access to support.

Deadline Reminder

Sending timely deadline reminders is essential to prompt employees to take action. Texting provides an instant and direct communication channel to ensure employees are aware of approaching deadlines.

"Hey [Employee Name], friendly reminder! The open enrollment deadline is approaching. Visit [link] now to secure your benefits for the upcoming year. Need assistance? Reply 'HELP.'"

Benefit Selection Assistance

Offering assistance during the active enrollment period helps employees navigate the benefits selection process smoothly. SMS can be used to provide quick links to resources or answer frequently asked questions.

"Need help with your benefit selections, [Employee Name]? Check out our step-by-step guide at [link] or reply 'ASSIST' for personalized support. We're here for you!"

Interactive Q&A Sessions

Host interactive Q&A sessions via text to address real-time employee queries and concerns. This provides a platform for instant clarification, fostering a sense of support during the decision-making process.

"Got questions about open enrollment? Join our live Q&A session at [time]. Text your queries, and our experts will provide immediate answers."

Personalized Benefit Recommendations

Use mass text messaging to deliver personalized benefit recommendations based on employees' needs and preferences. This could involve interactive surveys or quick response options for tailored suggestions.

"Hi [Employee Name], take a moment to answer a few questions, and we'll provide personalized benefit recommendations just for you. Reply 'RECOMMEND' to get started!"

Progress Updates

Keep employees informed about their progress in completing their benefits selections. SMS notifications can serve as gentle reminders and encouragement to ensure everyone completes the process on time. For instance:

"Great job, [Employee Name]! You've completed [X]% of your benefit selections. Finish strong by visiting [link] to review and submit your choices."

After Open Enrollment Has Passed

Even after the enrollment period concludes, communication remains vital. Employees need confirmation of their selections and access to post-enrollment resources. Texting can be used to provide reassurance and guide employees to additional information.

Confirmation of Selection

Sending a confirmation message assures employees that their selections have been received and processed. An example text could be:

"Great news, [Employee Name]! Your benefits selections for the next year have been received. Expect a confirmation email shortly. Any concerns? Reply 'CONCERN.'"

Post-Enrollment Resources

Providing resources for employees post-enrollment demonstrates ongoing support. An example text might guide employees to explore additional information:

"Hi [Employee Name], open enrollment may be over, but we're here for you! Explore our post-enrollment resources at [link]."

By strategically leveraging SMS at each stage of the open enrollment process, businesses can enhance employee engagement, promote understanding of benefits, and ultimately ensure a smoother and more successful enrollment period.

Read 6 Tips for Writing an Effective Text Message

Simplify Your Open Enrollment Reminders with Text-Em-All

Incorporating mass texting into your open enrollment strategy can transform the process, making it more accessible, engaging, and efficient for both HR teams and employees. By sending timely reminders, providing information in bite-sized messages, and offering real-time assistance, businesses can overcome the challenges associated with open enrollment.

As you plan for your next open enrollment period, consider using Text-Em-All for your mass messaging needs. Our user-friendly platform and robust features make it easy to connect with employees, ensuring everyone is well-informed and prepared for a successful enrollment experience.

Streamline your open enrollment process with SMS – because effective communication is the key to a seamless benefits selection for your valued employees.