The days are getting longer, new shoots are sprouting—spring is finally arriving! Who would want to think about autumn at this time of year? Well, if you’re an HR professional, you’re always thinking about Annual Enrollment season, even now when we’ve just moved our clocks forward. And that’s a good thing; the more preparation you put into AE, the better equipped you and your organization will be to ensure your employees enroll in the benefits they need. No matter where you are in the planning phase, there are steps you can take now to set your organization up for success when AE season gets here:
- Watch a webinar. Webinars are a great tool for learning or refining strategies for AE. Are you choosing a new benefits technology vendor? Attend a virtual session on how to craft a great RFP. Maybe you’re wondering how new technology like artificial intelligence can help your employees with the enrollment process, or you’re curious how recent regulatory changes will affect your reporting. Remember what our teachers used to say: If you have a question, that means someone else does too. Take advantage of the discussions available in the HR community so that you’re not left with unanswered questions when AE season arrives.
- Engage employees. Let’s face it—most people don’t want to think about benefits or the enrollment process. But as an HR pro, you care that your employees sign up for the important benefits that they need. That means you have to educate and engage them, and not just when AE is around the corner. Consider holding informal educational sessions to get employees thinking about their benefits now. Use this time to explain the differences between health plans, educate people about HSAs, or to describe voluntary benefits they may not be aware of. Make sure to clearly communicate costs so that your employees can see how their benefits are part of their overall compensation. And offering a free, healthy lunch to entice your employees to attend a session like this never hurts!
- Secure your data. Information security must be at the forefront of your AE strategy, so don’t wait to ensure that your employees’ information is protected. Work with your benefits technology vendor and your IT department to outline specific ways to protect Social Security numbers and personal health information. Discuss how PIN numbers and passwords will be used to protect employees’ data, particularly as mobile platforms grow in popularity for benefits enrollment. Be proactive about information security now so that you don’t have to be reactive later.
It’s never too early to start planning for Annual Enrollment. Spring is the perfect time to refresh your strategies and process for AE, and get ready for a great season!