Prudential Financial shares best practices
Employees usually spend less than an hour on average when they choose the benefits that they will get for the entire year, said Jillian Mondaca, head of enrolment at Prudential Financial, in an article by Employee Benefit News.
Even though it is considered to be one of the most important financial choices that an employee will make, open enrolment is often downplayed by most employees.
“We probably spend more time looking at a pair of shoes that we're going to buy versus medical coverage,” said Mondaca.
“Employees need to make informed choices during their annual enrolment,” she added.
Mondaca said that employers can allow their employees to actively update their benefits in order to encourage them to engage with the benefits they choose. Employees should also be given the opportunity to actively choose their benefits each year instead of having them automatically be the same as the previous year.
This can allow them to be familiarized with what they are getting as well as change it to something that fits their needs as the lives of employees can often drastically change.
Employers can also create announcements that inform their employees about the upcoming start of open enrolment. Mondaca suggested that such alerts should be made a week before the open enrolment since employees will likely forget about it if it was made any sooner.
"Employers who are willing to communicate in different mediums and make sure that you're paying attention to some of the changes that they're making in their benefit plan, have a much higher successful rate of employees actually completing enrolment," said Mondaca.
The utilization of tools such as financial counseling or financial wellness platforms may also help provide more guidance for employees and allow them to make wiser choices regarding their benefits that can actually be useful for their unique needs.
Mondaca also suggested that employers should properly inform their employees about the benefits that they can have because it can help ease their medical debt should they need it.
"The common misconception is, my medical carrier will take care of all of that,” she said.
“Employees underestimate the fact that you get cash from those benefits that you can then use to pay off expenses in any way that you see fit."
Mondaca further asserted that employers have the capability to provide guidance to their employees during open enrolment as it should not be a hastily made decision. Employers should help employees utilize this time to properly reflect on what they need and align their open enrolment decisions with it.