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How To Use The AI & Internal Comms Super Team to Transform Open Enrollment Communications.

Mindy Honcoop
on August 09, 2023

From White Noise to Meaningful Engagement:

Open enrollment communications often becomes part of the workplace white noise. Often lost in communication channels that employees don’t frequent. This leaves employees uninterested and disengaged. Open enrollment can easily become a tactical checkbox on a to-do list. Failing to recognize its potential for meaningful engagement. But here’s the game-changer – imagine if open enrollment communications could be transformed into a genuine conversation with employees. What if that conversation could foster connection and empowerment? 

Organizations often lack the expertise of an internal communications expert. These communication experts possess the skills to breathe life into open enrollment, making it more than a mundane process, but rather an engaging experience. By leveraging internal comms expertise, HR can communicate critical information effectively and have it resonate personally.

(1) Hear from voices of internal communication experts

(2) Discover strategies to move beyond checkboxes

(3) Tips to create authentic connections with your employees

Preparing for Open Enrollment

Before the open enrollment period begins, set clear goals and objectives. Understanding what the organization aims to achieve helps tailor the communication strategy. Outline the key takeaways you want employees to understand to make informed choices, such as highlighting changes in benefits since last year. Often there is a missed opportunity. Communicating the technical understanding of benefits is not the sole goal. A key message should be the company’s employee value prop reflected in benefits and how that is embodied in any changes for next year. Imagine benefits as a special package designed to make employees feel appreciated and cared for, like how a company’s logo represents its identity.

“Benefits represent what the company stands for when supporting and rewarding its employees. It says, We value you and want you to thrive here.”

Steve McElfresh, Fractional CHRO

Breaking Down Complex Open Enrollment Information

Employees are presented with a wealth of information during open enrollment, which can often be overwhelming. Data shows that it takes employees only 18 minutes to enroll. Yet, they typically wait until the last minute to click submit. A reason to pause could be that 47% of employees don’t feel knowledgeable enough to choose. The world of benefits has only gotten more complex. Employees need help sorting through all the information. Internal comms emphasize the importance of crafting clear and concise messages. Break down complex information into digestible blocks.

4 Tips To Build A Comprehensive Open Enrollment Communications Plan

Create a comprehensive communication plan that empowers employees to make informed decisions and maximizes engagement during open enrollment. To capture employees’ attention, use personalized messages. Employees are more likely to engage with content that speaks directly to their needs and concerns. Guy Westermeyer of Westcomm notes that this approach effectively answers the question, “What’s in it for me”?

1. Know Your Audience

By segmenting the workforce based on demographics, preferences, and life stages, you can tailor communication to resonate with each group. This segmentation allows you to deliver targeted messages that resonate with each group. For example, emphasize childcare benefits for parents or retirement plans for older employees. Address employees by name whenever possible, and use conversational language that speaks directly to them.

Cheryl Fenelle Dixon, Global Communications and Marketing expert, reminds HR leaders to avoid jargon or complicated terms. She notes the importance of speaking in the language of your employees. 

Need help? Use writing assistants like or ChatGPT to help you find alternative ways to break down benefit language into common language.

2. Utilize Both Digital And Offline Communication Channels

Use channels like emails, push messaging via Teams and Slack, SMS, posters, and digital screens to reach employees through their preferred platforms. Map out the touch points and communication channels that each employee type engages with. You can partner with your Chief Information Officer or COO to understand how your employees consume information. This may vary by the type of employees in your workforce. If you have deskless workers, confirm if they engage with posters or visual screens. Utilizing various communication channels will increase the visibility of information.

Guy’s pro-tip: “When using multi-channels is that all materials should have the same core messages and highlight the most essential points.”

3. Offer One-on-One Support

Provide opportunities for employees to ask questions and seek personalized guidance. Offering personalized assistance can help alleviate confusion and boost confidence in decision-making.

4. Use Visuals to Engage

Incorporate visual elements like infographics or videos to make complex information more digestible and engaging. Need help? Use Canva’s infographics and video editor to help you make professional visuals quickly.

5. Create a Open Enrollment Communications Content Calendar

Internal communications experts use a content calendar as a valuable tool to plan and organize their communication strategies effectively. The content calendar serves as a roadmap outlining the content and messaging to be delivered over a specific period, whether a month, a quarter or even a year. Plan ahead and map out the communication objectives, key themes, and important events or milestones for the organization. This helps ensure that all communication efforts align with broader goals and initiatives. The content calendar includes specific dates for content release, ensuring that information is delivered at the right time. By outlining the topics and dates in advance, HR can efficiently plan content creation and collaborate with subject matter experts, leaders, and other stakeholders to gather the necessary information.

Augment Open Enrollment Communications With AI & Internal Comms Expertise

Technology and fractional expertise can be a game-changer during open enrollment. Implement user-friendly platforms that provide easy access to information, and consider mobile apps to offer employees on-the-go access. Personalize the experience with interactive tools, like online calculators and decision-making guides. Video testimonials from colleagues can add a human touch. To boost support, leverage digital assistant chatbots, offering 24/7 assistance within familiar communication channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Thinking outside the box and embracing these technological advancements and external expertise will empower your HR team to provide additional support and create an exceptional open-enrollment experience for employees.

Employee Feedback Strategy: Hybrid AI Communications Plus In-Person Sessions

Effective communication is a two-way process. Organizations should encourage employee feedback through pulse surveys and feedback sessions during open enrollment and after. Addressing concerns and questions promptly shows that the organization values its employees’ opinions. Consider how aspects of open enrollment could become a year-long practice. For example, incorporating employee suggestions on benefits programs throughout the year fosters a sense of ownership and inclusivity. It can be daunting gathering and analyzing all the feedback collected. If the feedback is general in nature and anonymized, take all the feedback and use Generative AI to summarize the common themes and outliers. You can ask Generative AI tools how many times the specific themes are mentioned. And when you invest in digital employee experience (DEX) platform like MeBeBot, embedded people analytics surface what’s top of mind of employees.

Measuring the Success of Open Enrollment Communications

To gauge the effectiveness of the open enrollment communication strategy, organizations must measure engagement metrics during open enrollment and beyond. Analyzing open rates, click-through rates, and participation rates provides valuable insights. Employee satisfaction surveys can also help identify areas of improvement.

Guy Westermeyer from Westcomm collaborates with clients to understand the objectives of their open enrollment. Based on this understanding, they develop metrics aligned with their goals. For instance, if the aim is to increase enrollment in an underutilized benefit, they may measure ‌enrollment specifically for that benefit. They may also analyze the shift in enrollment from one benefit to another. Additionally, clients often provide feedback on direct calls or help desk volume and the types of questions they receive. By leveraging data, organizations can continuously improve their communication approach. Track the effectiveness of your communication efforts and be ready to adjust your approach based on feedback and engagement metrics.

Open enrollment communications is an opportune time for organizations to demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being. By implementing these strategies, companies empower employees to make well-informed decisions that align with their needs and aspirations. By reimagining open enrollment as an annual practice, organizations create a positive and inclusive atmosphere.