Open enrollment is over!
To HR pros, those four words often provide enough reason to go out and have celebratory drink or ten. Between explaining changes, chasing down forms (whether they be paper or electronic,) and giving the same spiel about the generosity of the plan provided by the employer, open enrollment can be a virtual purgatory for all the perceived wrongs that we do as the HR professionals in our organizations.
I, for some sick reason, do not view it this way.
Now, this year was easier than most. No premium increases, no plan design changes, and for the first time in two years, we are able to talk about a modest salary increase that will be starting in our next fiscal year. Anyone fortunate enough to have these circumstances could feel this way.
Reflecting back though, I feel this way even in times of challenge with rate increases, plan changes that negatively impact our employees, and even those open enrollment periods where even the idea of salary increases in our non-profit environment seemed liked a luxury we could not afford. Even then, I like open enrollment for the opportunities it brings to directly connect our employees with the real value that all of our benefits (not just health insurance) bring to them and, in many cases, their families. Even when costs escalate, we are able to talk about the true cost of healthcare and demonstrate the money saving strategies that can be done with insurance, flexible spending accounts, and using medical resources wisely. We encourage well visits and have fully paid for preventative care even before being mandated to do so under PPACA.
Remember, a key role we have in HR is advertising what we have to our employees. The message, medium, and delivery matter so approach open enrollment as a positive opportunity to work on your sales skills and boost the value that your organization gets for its benefits package.
There are still a few universal truths though…
- Remember, for every confused employee, there will be one who turns in everything fully completed!
- For every new terrific benefit, there will be something people don’t like about it!
- And for every day of open enrollment, there are 11 others where people don’t understand their benefits either!