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The Great Resignation and the Need to Adapt Your Open Enrollment

Posted August 30, 2021


A record 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021 alone. Why? What’s been called “the Great Resignation” was caused by employees searching for more money, more flexibility, and more happiness. As competition increases for employees in recruiting and retention, this open enrollment will be very important for employers. Watch our full episode of our Benefits Buzz podcast below or keep reading for benefits and communication tips. 

Benefits considerations

Mental health is a top-of-mind focus for a lot of employers entering this year’s open enrollment. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that the percentage of U.S. adults who said worry and stress related to the coronavirus was negatively affecting their mental health increased from 32 percent to 52 percent in just the first few months of the pandemic. 

More supplemental health coverage and health savings account (HSA) education are also trending, according to Jocelyn Purtell, chief operating officer at benefitexpress, a WEX Company

“I think the most important thing is that employees feel like their employers care about them,” Purtell said. “There’s a lot of ways through benefits and other ways to do that.” 

Communications considerations

Purtell points out the importance of being creative with how you’re communicating with employees during open enrollment. With so many employees working from home last year, many employers chose virtual open enrollment fairs and microsites rather than in-person fairs. 

And virtual open enrollment fairs were very well received. About 85 percent of employers who hosted a virtual open enrollment fair last year told us they plan to do so again this year. 

When you make big changes, either in your communication strategy or open enrollment format, it’s important to conduct surveys of employees to make sure your message resonates

“There’s also a really good opportunity during open enrollment to make sure we’re collecting feedback from employees,” said Chris Wiley, director of partnerships at benefitexpress, a WEX Company. “There are a lot of ways to do that. Just to keep a pulse on what matters to people not just this year but into 2022.”

Would you like to learn more about open enrollment trends we learned last year that you can consider applying to this year’s strategy? Get your OE free OE trends white paper and infographic. 

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.


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