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Open enrollment: 4 ways to get members to enroll earlier

During open enrollment, it can be hard to engage your members. Here are the four things to do now for a successful open enrollment season.


Open Enrollment is all about getting your employees to elect the right plans. That’s hard to do when people procrastinate and wait until the last minute to make a decision.

The earlier that people enroll, the more time you have to work with them or to spot inconsistencies. But how can you beat the procrastination issue? Here are 4 ideas:

01. Gamify OE:

Take a page from L&D’s book and gamify participation. Group employees and offer incentives to the 1st group to reach 100% enrollment. This ensures you’re not the only voice driving OE sign-ups and makes the process more fun.

  • You can group by department, by floor, or by shift. Make sure to pick a grouping that’s obvious and includes folks who know each other, to enable social pressure to work.
  • Make sure you have a leaderboard that’s always visible and shows how each group is performing. Competition is an excellent motivator. You can use office screens, your company intranet, or something like Slack to share the leaderboard.
  • Incentives for the winning group can range from branded shirts or a free meal to a half-day off or a Q&A with company leaders. You know your people best, so pick something you think will resonate.

02. Anonymize OE Q&A:

Offer a way for employees to help each other. While your team or your health plan partner can offer guidance, some folks prefer to hear tips from those in similar health situations. Create a message board or channel in which questions and answers can be submitted. To protect PHI, make all activity anonymous.

  • Consider seeding the forum with preliminary questions, to give an idea of the kinds of things to ask/answer. For example, “If you’ve used our fertility benefits, what wasn’t covered? Did you also use a secondary plan of some sort? What did you wish you had known before starting?” or “For diabetes, do you think the Blue Shield or the Kaiser plan is better?”
  • Use a platform that allows for tags, so people can easily find discussion of specific topics, like chronic ailments or maternity.
  • Encourage answers by reminding employees of the forum or sending an e-mail with top questions once a week. You can use a template from retailers like Amazon or Walmart, who do this already.
  • Consider offering multiple languages or a built-in “translate this question/answer” functionality, so no one is left out.

03. Increase OE visibility:

Don’t let OE reminders languish in inboxes. Reinforce its urgency with a public countdown. Create a countdown “clock” in multiple office locations, showing the number of business days left to enroll.

  • Make it an analog countdown, in which the number of days left is physically updated every day, during popular morning arrival time.
  • Don’t just change the countdown yourself: ask each team to pick a person who will change the sign on 1 day in the month. That will remind that person, her nominating manager, and anyone else she runs into while changing the sign that OE is a shared responsibility.
  • Remember to do this for each office and shift.

04. Contact OE stragglers:

Learn from your Project Managers: get ahead of problems, before they occur. Use data to quantify these opportunity areas and create unique communications for them.

  • If you have this data, pull records from last year to identify employees who enrolled in the last 24 hours of OE. Send them unique communication reminding them not to wait this year.
  • Pull data on employees who had the most back & forth around benefits in recent years. Send them a message encouraging a plan re-evaluation to cut down on issues, if possible.
  • Target employees impacted by new regulations or plan options. Tailor messages to them, to reduce confusion.

What else have you tried? Tell us in the comments below


Your employee experience matters all year long, not just during Open Enrollment.

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