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Who What When Where Why OE Comms

What data says about the who, what, when, where, and why of open enrollment education

August 24, 2023

Open enrollment is nearly here for many of you. You’re looking to create an atmosphere where employees are engaged, eager to enroll, and save money with the benefits you provide. You’ve probably read advice on how to do that, but we’ve got the data to back up a strategy, and it comes directly from your employees. 

Earlier this year, we surveyed nearly 60,000 of our participants to learn more about their questions and pain points regarding employee benefits. Their answers revealed valuable insight to help you build out your open enrollment plans. We’ll help you understand the who, what, when, where, and why behind a successful open enrollment. 

The who

When asked on a scale of 0 to 10 how confident they are in their understanding of their benefits, the mean score was 7.89. One-quarter of participants responded with a 10, while 34% of them chose 7 or less. These scores illustrate that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t produce the best results. 

Providing blanket open enrollment resources is crucial in simply communicating what’s being offered. For your employees who would respond to a question like that with a 10, that might be all they need. For those 7 or less, try to create opportunities for deeper questions to be answered. That could include on-site or virtual fair assistance, or opt-in opportunities for more information. 

Watch our podcast episode below to learn more about the value of virtual OE fairs. 

The what

Your employees aren’t enrolling in benefits; they’re enrolling in ways to better support themselves and their families. This could include saving money, raising their kids, and preparing for retirement. That’s what motivates your employees. It’s important not to lose sight of that when developing content and communicating that you offer a health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or any other benefits. 

Some benefits are better understood than others, which might also factor into your approach. In our survey, participants said the top benefits they would like more education on are HSAs, lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs), and pet insurance. 

The when

When communicating information about benefits with your employees, make it count. In the survey, 44% of participants said they would like tips and resources from WEX on a monthly basis. Another 27% said quarterly. The percentages who chose weekly or bi-weekly were much lower. 

These responses from participants show the importance of year-round benefits communication. For open enrollment, to really capture their attention, you may consider increasing the frequency of your communication. If you don’t overdo communicating during the rest of the benefits plan year, your employees won’t be tuned out when you increase communication during open enrollment. For more open enrollment tips, check out our guide to get the data and insights you need to help you remove the guesswork and have the best open enrollment this year!

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The where

Your work arrangement (in-person versus hybrid versus remote) might influence your approach. Providing any sort of virtual open enrollment experience, even for your employees who come to the office, is a great way to put benefits education at their fingertips. This way, they can turn to the information when it’s convenient for them. 

In 2021, which was one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, 85 percent of employers who hosted a virtual open enrollment fair told us they would continue to do so, even when the pandemic was over. One employer told us that virtual open enrollment fairs paid dividends because they could share education with an employee’s family members (since the employee might not always be the one making benefits decisions for the family). Plus, it allowed for more flexibility, personalization, and feedback. 

The why

If you’ve gotten this far, you probably already know the “why!” The Great Resignation has proven to be more than a one-year wonder, with one-third of U.S. employees planning to leave their jobs in 2023. And, in a recent survey, salary and benefits were cited as the top two reasons by employees for wanting to change jobs. 

If your employee benefits are having that great of an influence over your recruiting and retention efforts, open enrollment is the best time to make a difference. 

Want to learn more about the results of our participant survey? Check out our infographic below. 

2023 WEX participant survey

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 legal counsel, tax and investment advisers. 

WEX receives compensation from some of the merchants identified in its blog posts. By linking to these products, WEX is not endorsing these products. 

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