by Liz Hill
Congratulations, benefits professionals! You've accomplished another year's open enrollment! Whether you survived — or thrived — you have an opportunity to lead your organization's benefit evaluation.
It's time to charge full speed ahead with your open enrollment aftermath strategy. By analyzing what went right, and what could be improved, you can help ensure an easier, more effective process for next year. This helps you take actionable steps to collect, analyze and act upon data from four key groups:
- Internal stakeholders
- Your benefits broker
- Your technology partner
With data from these four groups, you're on your way to all the information you'll need to improve your benefits strategy for next year.
But let's take this seemingly monstrous task and break it down into manageable chunks. Rather than looking at every group, let's start by focusing on the first, and most important, group you need to survey.
WHO should you survey?
Start by delivering an open enrollment survey to both your benefits eligible employees AND the dependents they have listed in your system. Some employees might designate a spouse, or other family member to perform benefits enrollment tasks on their behalf and you want your true end-user to be able to provide feedback on their overall experience.
WHAT should you ask?
The open enrollment survey questions you ask largely will depend on the goals you are trying to measure. If you have not defined any specific goals, then start by focusing on the enrollment experience as a whole, for example — what did your employees like and what do they want to be different for next year. Regardless of the type of questions you ask, make sure to keep the survey brief — no more than 5 questions — and ask only the information that will help you take actionable next steps.
Want more tips on what to ask? Check out our graphic below:
WHERE should your survey live?
A majority of organizations are going to find that creating an online survey is the most effective way to collect, store and analyze data. The easiest option is to use a free survey tool like Survey Monkey and distribute the survey link to your employees through email. If you go this route, double check your survey tool to make sure it is mobile-friendly and offers robust analysis and reporting tools. For organizations with robust research and analytics teams, approach peer leaders in these areas to explore access their research and analytics tools.
Pro Tip: If you work in an organization with a population of employees whose job functions do not allow access to a computer with ease during the day, you may want to deploy a hybrid approach of both online and mailed paper copies of your open enrollment survey.
WHEN should you survey?
In an ideal world, you would survey your employees immediately after they complete open enrollment while the experience is still fresh in their mind. Add the link to a post-enrollment email. Missed the opportunity to do that this year? Don’t worry, send out the survey as soon as you are able to put something together. Collecting this group's data is what matters most — regardless of timing.
WHY should you survey?
Simply put, employee feedback is the most important data you can obtain to help shape future open enrollments. Their feedback can help you identify any gaps between what you as the employer think is important, and what employees are actually looking for. Furthermore, data obtained from this group can be used to help strengthen your overall communication strategies and enrollment campaigns to raise awareness and provide benefits education to employees who need it.
HOW should you survey?
Thankfully, there are many free tools online that make it easy to write, create, and deploy an open enrollment survey on your own. However, depending on the benefits administration solutions provider you work with, they may be able to execute this survey on your behalf — and provide experienced guidance to help you ask the right questions, of the right employees, at the right time.
For example, our clients have the option to consult with their client delivery manager about any post-enrollment activities they want to execute, such as a survey. From there, the client team designs the survey and uses our communications module to immediately send out a link to the survey (or mail a paper copy) after the employee completes enrollment. We can even send automated reminder emails to employees who have not responded. This allows you to spend more time analyzing the data and less time setting-up, distributing and collecting survey responses.
Here are the top five post open enrollment survey questions we find to be most helpful for actionable next steps and overall analysis:
- How would you rate the overall benefits enrollment experience?
Pro Tip: Use a Likert scale format (Excellent, Good, Neutral, Fair, Poor) to measure employee experience in a data consistent format.
- How satisfied were you with the benefits package offered during open enrollment?
Pro Tip: Use a Likert scale format (Very satisfied, Satisfied, Neutral, Dissatisfied, Extremely dissatisfied) to measure opinion in a data consistent format.
- Did you have enough tools to make an informed decision about your benefits?
Pro Tip: Use Yes/No check boxes. If the employee selects "No", add a progressive survey question that asks "Did you know who to contact for help/guidance during the process?" to gain further insights.
- Was the benefits enrollment system personalized and easy to navigate?
Tip: Use Yes/No check boxes to help you draw general conclusions. Next Steps: Provide employees with the smoothest, easiest benefits experience ever when you implement a benefits technology with effortless customization available.
- What could be better during open enrollment?
Tip: Make this a required, open-ended question to allow employees the space to share their thoughts and provide ideas you might not have thought of before. Next Steps: After you gather the data, categorize the responses to this question into similar topics for easier analysis. Take the results a step further and host in-person focus groups to expand on important themes that surfaced from the survey. For additional ways to solicit — and act upon — employee feedback, check out this article.
Would you like more advice on creating HR communications that work? Check out this episode of our Benefits Buzz podcast!
The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.