Tip # 29:  Plan to Communicate

 

Communicating to your employees isn’t easy.

Communicating your goals to your Broker isn’t easy.

Communicating the decisions you make to your Board of Directors or to your colleagues is not easy.

 

Have a plan to communicate effectively for Open Enrollment.

 

You invest so much energy into controlling the rising cost of your medical and prescription coverage while also negotiating admin fees, evaluating contracts and vendors who focus on cost containment, and weighing every decision against your company’s budget at the same time. And you do all of that while trying to understand and mitigate any negative financial impact to your employees. ALL of this takes lots of effort and is overwhelming.

Having to re-communicate each piece of your plan evaluation, sales pitch, and ultimately the strategy decisions that you are going to make would be insane if you had to relive them all over again as you justify your decisions either up your organizational ladder, or you become the mouthpiece to the masses.

Just think how overwhelming it would be if you realized you also need to run a full-blown, public relations campaign to everyone else in your company.

 

Decisions are made and the communications fail to launch.

 

Our experience has been that most employers rarely communicate anything prior to enrollment launch. If you have ever sent out a calendar reminder or a quick email the week ahead of your Open Enrollment start date, give yourself a prize because you just exceeded the norm. Everyone needs help communicating effectively and more proactively.

This is one area that you may need to seek outside help. Whether it is another set of eyes and ears on your own staff, or the need to outsource to your Broker or one of their third party vendors, know you don’t have to do it all by yourself.

 

Here are 6 key ideas that can enhance your communication plan:

 

  • A few months out, make sure you are tracking your employees’ mobile #s. And good news, if you are already tracking and collecting phone numbers …. most of those are already mobile numbers.
  • Start an “Open Enrollment” email campaign with education communication, and stock content videos a month ahead of Open Enrollment. These can be generic and non-plan specific if your decisions aren’t done yet.
  • Send a Calendar Invite for the day Open Enrollment starts and the Day Open Enrollment ends. If you use Outlook or Gmail, mark the time availability as “Free” so you don’t block out meeting times or cause calendar conflicts.
  • Have at least ONE online Open Enrollment meeting in the beginning and record it. Teams, Zoom, or GoToMeeting all have recording options built-in and help to make this easy. Make the recording available for employees to revisit, as well as for spouses to watch and listen.
  • Use those mobile numbers to send out text message communications alongside your standard email communications. Ask your Broker or Consultant if they think something like Airbo or TruHu would be a useful tool to enhance the education.
  • Early engagement with the company leaders — by job titles or dominant personalities — is extremely helpful. Make sure they are your mouthpieces of the positive information you need everyone to hear.
  • Schedule your Broker’s time for both virtual and on-site help early. Don’t forget — having a successful enrollment and delighted employees are part of their end-goals too. That’s often how they get paid. Follow your money for help.

 

MZQ Consulting, LLC

MZQ Consulting, LLC

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MZQ Consulting is a Benefits Compliance firm that specializes in Affordable Care Act Reporting and numerous other employee benefits-related compliance services. Our mission is to help people navigate the complex world of employee benefits compliance through our deep expertise and superb client service.