Five Tricks to Avoid Open Enrollment Headaches

About 77% of organizations begin open enrollment in October or November, giving employees the opportunity to enroll in health insurance and other benefits. But this time also causes a lot of strain on HR departments, from figuring out general logistics to staffing to executing these strategies.

Organizations must determine how to effectively plan for open enrollment and ensure they can scale properly to accommodate this time. We’ve outlined five ways to empower your HR team and your employees satisfied during open enrollment.

  1. Map Out Your Enrollment Strategy

Open enrollment may cause several difficulties. Logistics are one main aspect: It’s a very busy time for HR departments. Without a clear vision for the process, staff becomes overwhelmed during rush periods and especially when deadlines are looming.

One of the first things to consider is whether your HR department will lead an active or passive enrollment campaign. The choice isn’t always clear cut but if you have several long-term employees that are generally content with their coverage, a passive campaign might be best. However, if HR teams have access to data that shows employees have less-than-optimal benefit elections, an active campaign could be idea to educate them on better choices.

For active campaigns, scope out how you will educate employees. And for both plans, consider how to leverage technology, such as chatbots, to streamline the process.

  1. Educate Employees on Benefits

Thirty-three percent of Americans don’t understand the benefits they picked during open enrollment. Furthermore, 66% of employees want their employer to help them better understand the benefits they enrolled in for 2021. This is especially true regarding retirement accounts — 73% of Americans would like help understanding how much money to set aside for the future. Give employees easy-to-understand and adaptive processes for selecting benefits.

Education can be as simple as creating resources where people can learn more. But be careful; creating a very detailed guide can be helpful to some but employees with limited time might want something they can skim through. Having staff available to quickly answer questions might seem ideal, but arranging for dedicated resources for open enrollment isn’t always possible.

  1. Encourage Self-Service

Organizations can use artificial intelligence (AI) and bots to ensure employees approach open enrollment informed and ready to make the best decisions. HR departments can quickly and easily deploy a chatbot that lives on an internal support page or application. This chatbot gives employees instant access to information and content — any time. This also helps organizations with global employees across many time zones, which could make normal staffing from HR a nightmare.

Select a self-service solution with a rich natural language processing (NLP) component. The value is to provide employees flexibility. This means an employee will get the same answer — no matter how they ask a question. NLP deciphers these differences in wording and funnels similar questions to the same answer within a knowledge base.

  1. Mix Live HR Staff with Bots

Self-service through chatbots can be an amazing asset to HR departments. But it’s not a complete solution. More urgent questions and situations will arise. For example, an employee might have issues submitting a certain benefit election — and there are no known issues currently with that process. This might be a scenario when a live HR agent needs to be involved.

The self-service solution should be able to transfer the conversation from the chatbot to a live HR representative efficiently — and without the employee having to repeat themselves. A key feature is having access to the transcript so employees don’t have to ask the same questions again. And it’s a bonus if the chat can revert back to the bot to finish the transaction.

  1. Use Data to Optimize Self-Service

Self-service isn’t always perfect out of the box; you may need to tailor the employee experience . Data can fuel this optimization, enabling HR teams to review trouble points and improve the process. You need to identify gaps. For example, if a lot of people are asking the same question — and it’s not in the knowledge base — that’s an area for improvement.

As the technology becomes more engrained within your organization, it will require fewer optimizations. But available benefits and election processes will change, so be prepared to continually optimize these functions.

Streamline Open Enrollment

Open enrollment can be a challenging time for HR departments. But with a clear vision and the proper technology, teams can manage this period without having to add staff. Empower your employees with immediate access to information — when and where they need it. And free up your HR staff to work on more strategic and complex employee needs as well as the broader organization.

The Genesys DX™ solution offers a help desk option that includes a bot with AI-powered NLP that gives HR staff visibility into the voice of your employees. Get a pulse on questions being asked and act on questions that have gone unanswered. Learn more about how to use Genesys DX for open enrollment.