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5 things employees want at open enrollment

Open Enrollment

There’s no need to pull your hair out this year over open enrollment planning. Just the stress of knowing that 50 percent of employees rate their employers' open enrollment efforts as average or worse is likely enough to send you over the top.

So just what do employees want in their open enrollment experience?

Listening to what employees want can help HR create a smoother and more successful enrollment process.

  1. They want help understanding their current benefits so they can make better benefits decisions.
    Only about 50 percent of working Americans have a good understanding of their current employee benefits. So it’s no surprise then that 93 percent of employees typically choose the same benefits year after year. When employees know what their current benefits cover they are in a better position to evaluate if they need to make any changes during this open enrollment season.
  2. They want the enrollment process made easier through better benefits education, tools and access to experts.
    Nearly half of employees are confused about their benefits and stressed by the enrollment process. In fact, an Aflac study showed that 48 percent of employees would rather do something unpleasant, like walk on hot coals, than complete their annual benefits enrollment. It’s no wonder then that, after their last enrollment, one-third of employees said they did not feel confident they understood everything they signed up for.
  3. They want up to a month to make benefit selections.
    Just how much is enough time to give employees their options before they need to make their benefits decision? A recent survey found that 50 percent of employees said they would like at least a month to make their benefits selections. A month gives enough time for employees to sort through materials, but also keeps it top of mind within a reasonable deadline. Of all age groups, Baby Boomers were the most likely to request one month or longer.
  4. They want choices.
    With such a diverse workforce today, employees want it their way. They want benefits that address their life stage and personal situation. One way employers can provide variety is by offering voluntary benefits. Even though they likely have to cover the expense of voluntary benefits themselves, employees want to be able to choose benefits that are important to them.
  5. They want easy-to-compare options.
    When asked what their benefits enrollment process would be like in their ideal world, 44 percent of employees said it would be more like Amazon.com with easy-to-compare options online. This is a clear message for employers because understanding benefit details has a significant influence on employees’ satisfaction with the enrollment process and their overall benefits package.