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How to Make 2021 Open Enrollment a Success for Your Employees

July 19, 2021 | By 2020 On-site

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We’ve been through a hard year, and with open enrollment just around the corner, we want to offer insight on how to best prepare for successful engagement with employees. After all, health and wellness are more important now than ever. 

As offices shift back to in-person, adapt to hybrid working models, or decide to stay remote, there can be uneasiness when it comes to understanding what employees need to prepare for next. The workplace shifts might urge an employee to consider a new career move if they’re not fully informed on their updated benefits. Discover how you can make your open enrollment a success for your employees by understanding some of the challenges with open enrollment and how to overcome them. 



The Challenges: Barriers with Open Enrollment 

Unfortunately, 80% of employees don’t read their benefits. This can come as a shock for human resource managers since they are responsible for the insurance benefits of everyone. For employees, benefits are not top of mind when they are busy with work, family, or other needs taking priority in their life. Insurance benefits protect employees from future problems, which increases their chance of being an afterthought. Furthermore, employees are less interested in reading through a huge package of enrollment information when prioritizing other life events.

Another significant problem can be a lack of effective communication (especially with frontline workers). Frontline workers are not granted access to the same information as their office cohorts. While creating a line of communication that is equal between all employees can be difficult, it’s important to prioritize communication during open enrollment to provide equal opportunities in healthcare and wellness benefits. 



The Solutions: How to Make Open Enrollment Successful

While the last year has been exceptionally challenging in terms of managing teams and health benefits, the following steps below can help make open enrollment 2021 successful.


As they always say, preparation is key! Create a plan when organizing your approach for open enrollment. Ensure you have a strong marketing team and target employee groups when developing and implementing your plan for successful open enrollment. For example, consult employees who are also parents or team members who may have specific health needs, like vision care.  

To avoid confusion when in development, create an environment for employees to openly communicate — they want to feel comfortable asking questions. Some of the top questions employees may ask about their benefits include: 

  1. Should I get an HMO or PPO?
  2. What’s the difference between my deductible and premium?
  3. When can I enroll in health benefits?

Preparing for these questions and other common discussion points ahead of time can help alleviate some stress on your team. 

As mentioned earlier, avoid the big package of enrollment information and substitute it for something digital. Create a document library for employees to easily search for what they need. Make it digestible by highlighting key benefits, creating videos, planning information schedules, and advertising specific plans. All preparations should contribute to creating a comprehensive communication strategy.


Effective communication ensures increased participation and enrollment. Employees are comforted when they know their options early on and have time to ask those critical questions before making a selection. 

We recommend using a workplace app that everyone can easily access. Through this app, benefits can be discussed upfront and easily communicated between HR and employees. Other benefits from a workplace app “...can include a dedicated communication stream for users to share information around open enrollment, a chatbot that can automatically answer employee questions, one-on-one chats between HR and workers, and detailed analytics that show who has received and reviewed the information.” Having an app is also beneficial for reaching frontline workers who aren’t as easily accessible in person. This way human resources can ensure their messages are reaching every employee. Not to mention, 96% of workers aged 18 to 29 use a mobile phone — having a digital app significantly increases your chances of reaching young adult employees.

According to Forbes, complicated benefit plans can deter employees from wanting to successfully enroll. Avoid this barrier by asking yourself how to explain employee benefits in simpler terms. This creates a mutual understanding that everyone knows what is expected of them next — important to strive for when considering the uneasiness of the past year.

Unique Benefits

Catch the attention of employees through unique benefits that are not typically offered through other companies. In a recent blog post, we delved into the most desirable benefits post-pandemic. Keep these in mind when creating your open enrollment plan:

1. Childcare

A survey from Care.com reported that 85% of working parents do not have childcare benefits. However, two-thirds of the same group said they would trade sick days, vacation days, dental plans, and retirement plans for childcare benefits. Furthermore, 60% of employees said if they received childcare benefits, their job performance would improve. 

2. Mental Health Care

The stay-at-home order has disrupted the normal routines of employees everywhere which has increased anxiety and depression. The loss of structure has created uneasiness mentally and physically. Employees are looking to feel mentally prepared to return to work — offering benefits that would help this process is a sure way to increase their interest in enrolling earlier.

3. Physical Health Care

86% of respondents from a MetLife Employee Benefits Trends survey said that health insurance was essential. Employees want to feel secure in their ability to access effective and affordable healthcare. With the adaptation to remote and hybrid work, employees might seek unique telehealth or on-site experiences.



Consider offering employees unique health perks like 2020 On-site — an affordable and convenient way to receive eye care. 41% of employees said vision care was a “must-have” — imagine the ease of receiving a routine eye exam from the convenience of the office. Our mobile vision clinics will come to your office to provide 30-minute eye exams, prescriptions, and a selection of quality frames and lenses.

Book an appointment with us today!

Get Ready for Open Enrollment 

As human resources and benefit coordinators prepare for open enrollment, it’s important to understand how to best support employees with their health selections. Need some more guidance on the return to the office? Download our free Return to Work Guide. 

If you’re interested in adding 2020 On-site as a health perk to your 2021 health plan, reach out to us today to learn how we can provide a unique experience that puts your team’s health first. 

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