- HR earned a "C" grade or lower in open enrollment from 36% of employees according to a new survey by Namely. Although 57% of employees said their HR department prepared them "pretty well" for open enrollment, only 27% gave HR an "A." Namely is an HR platform for midsize companies.
- In Open Enrollment: What Employees Really Want, Namely says the biggest criticisms of open enrollment are: 1) constant plan changes; 2) materials that are difficult to understand; and 3) a rushed process.
- The survey also found that 50% of employees want more time to select benefits. One in five employees consult each other about benefits rather than go to HR; 72% of employees want good healthcare benefits over perks, such as holiday parties and happy hours; and 53% of employees think their employers pay under $5,000 per person a year on healthcare benefits, when in fact employers paid $8,669 in 2016.
Open enrollment can be a stressful time for both HR and employees, with scores of forms to be read, signed, returned and reviewed in a short window of time. The basic process might not change time-wise, but some of the anxiety it generates can be alleviated.
Communicating with employees about their benefits all year round can help them make informed choices when open enrollment is near, make the process seem less rushed and generally alleviate some of the anxiety involved. Technology makes 24/7 communication possible and less burdensome for HR.
Employees don't often review their benefits until they need them, which is all the more reason information should be accessible year round. This also helps employees deal with rapid, sometimes unexpected benefit changes, which can be frustrating and confusing.
How benefits are communicated during open enrollment can hamper employees' ability to select the right benefit plans and options. Written materials with plan descriptions and price and options comparisons should be easy to read and understand. If not, employees will have to live with their choices until the next open enrollment.