November—beautiful, fall colors, football, Thanksgiving, and open enrollment.
I can feel you cringe at the last one. No one looks forward to open enrollment. A year has passed since your last time through this but more than likely your health, dental, life, disability, and/or vision plans have changed since a year ago. It could be a simple cost change (increasing—of course!) or dramatic changes in coverage and potentially an entirely new health care provider all together. This is an incredible opportunity as a manager to serve your employees and build loyalty.
Open enrollment is a terrific time to show your employees that you care about them and their families and not just the quality and quantity of work you expect from them. Here’s a strategy for using open enrollment as a management tool and opportunity:
- Set up one-on-one meetings with each of your employees to discuss open enrollment.
- Ask your employees to talk to their spouse/significant other before your meeting.
- Allow 1 hour for each meeting. It may not last that long, but this way you can be fully present and not rush through any of the important details. These benefit plans and choices can be very complicated and the choices can really affect out of pocket costs your employee has to bear.
- During the meeting emphasize that the employee benefits are an important part of their overall compensation and why the right choices matter for them financially.
- Listen!! Different employees are in different stages of their lives. Some married, some single, some have kids, etc. It is important to listen to their needs and challenges and make suggestions.
- Their spouse’s plan may be a better fit. Offer to take a look at their spouse’s plan and compare it to your company’s plan.
- Encourage your employees to speak to their family (parents, spouse, siblings) after your meeting to get their input.
- Set up a follow up meeting for after they talk to their family members.
- Confirm with them their enrollment.
By giving this much attention to your employees, their concerns, and their financial well-being you show them that you care about them and their family. For example, at SiriusXM I had a 20-something year old employee meet with me about his open enrollment. He lived with his fiancé and wanted to know if she could be included on his employee plan. I walked him down to HR and he sat with our benefits person who determined that his fiancé could indeed be covered on his plan. The result was relief and cost savings for my employee and reinforcement that his manager and radio station is looking out for him.