• Mike Riska

Employee Engagement Strategies for Virtual Open Enrollments

For many years, employers could rely on tested and proven procedures for managing benefit open enrollments. Today, though, COVID-19 has created new challenges in ensuring that employees sign up for and use their employer’s benefits. Employers are relying on new strategies and tools to build employee engagement despite post-pandemic limitations.


Why is employee engagement a challenge?


Before the COVID-19 pandemic, employers could work with a team of benefits advisors to sit down with each employee when open enrollment began. This allowed employers to highlight the importance of the benefits provided, encouraging employees to sign up, understand, and responsibly use these benefits.


Today, decentralized and remote work limits face-to-face meetings, making it challenging to capture employees’ attention. In non-office settings such as healthcare and manufacturing, employees may not have access to company email, limiting communication options. As a result, employees do not engage during the open enrollment and miss out on an opportunity to benefit from your company’s investment.


What are some digital tools that can improve engagement?


  • Video conferencing - although video doesn’t replace face-to-face interaction, it does allow benefit advisors to meet one-on-one with employees. Private virtual conferences are great for making sure individual enrollees fully understand their benefit choices.



Top-rated video conferencing platforms offer real-time chats no matter where the participants work and seamless recording to preserve conversations for later use.


  • Email campaign automation - an email sequence is a simple way to stay in front of employees during open enrollment. You can quickly write a series of emails educating employees and persuading them to participate - be sure to include links to schedule a video conference, access benefits guides, and take other pre-enrollment steps online.


Automated email software can take the time and guesswork out of making sure your emails get sent. You can set up the email sequence to “drip” over a period of days or weeks so employees don’t feel overwhelmed.


As noted above, this requires ensuring that all employees have access to company email and the training to use it.


  • Done-for-you benefits engagement platform - if you don’t have the time or tech expertise to put together virtual engagement resources, you can opt for a done-for-you solution, such as those offered by The Voluntary Benefits Shop. These solutions allow you to provide employees with open enrollment services, including one-on-one counseling, new hire onboarding, and much more.


How can I communicate more easily with employees throughout open enrollment?


Technology is the key component of effective open enrollment communication.

Becoming comfortable with video conferencing, email, and other digital tools lets you engage with employees in ways that fit their work-life - and yours.


Of course, this involves educating employees to use technology - if you’re using several tools to achieve engagement, training can become cumbersome and ineffective.


With an all-in-one, open enrollment platform like The Voluntary Benefits Shop, all of the tech headaches are taken care of. Employees can access a single portal to find benefits information, schedule a counseling session, or connect with a benefits care specialist 24/7 to complete enrollment. You can even integrate your payroll platform and HRIS system to streamline payroll deductions and benefits management.


See how today’s employers handle open enrollment at The Voluntary Benefits Shop.

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