Open Enrollment: The Perfect Time to Talk Wellbeing in the Workplace

Open Enrollment: The Perfect Time to Talk Wellbeing in the Workplace

Oct 16 2019

Open enrollment is often overwhelming, but it can be a great time to talk about wellbeing in the workplace.

If you’re like more than two-thirds of U.S. employers who offer some type of wellbeing benefit alongside your health plans, communicating wellbeing and employee benefits during open enrollment should go hand-in-hand. Yet many employers hesitate to do so because of long hours, excessively busy schedules and additional stress related to ensuring a positive employee experience during open enrollment. Whether or not wellbeing programs are communicated during open enrollment can have implications.

Being clear about your program goals and leadership mandates around a wellbeing program will help you determine the most appropriate plan of action. There could be multiple reasons you offer a wellbeing program, and open enrollment provides the opportunity to use key messaging to meet those goals.

Here are some of the top reasons employers should offer a wellbeing program and how to use open enrollment to leverage conversations with employees.

  1. Control health care cost.

Oftentimes, tying wellbeing incentives to your health plan can help lower overall health care costs. Employers can establish certain criteria for benefit incentives such as lowered health care premiums and/or health plan choices based on wellbeing program participation and completion. Many insurance groups create programs to increase healthy behaviors and even incentivize employee health improvement. With this in mind—open enrollment is the perfect time to communicate any new or current wellbeing benefits that are included in the new year’s plans.

  1. Create a culture of wellbeing.

Many organizations are moving away from an emphasis solely on cost control to one of creating a culture of health and wellbeing. Experts seem to agree that the secret sauce in creating a company culture is having a strategic and consistent communication plan, supported by resources and policies that align with their mission, vision and business goals. For example, Priority Health offers its employer group members a toolkit to help employees who are struggling with mental health issues learn how to get help. It includes messaging and materials for bathroom stall signs, posters, table tents for breakrooms, Intranet content and more.

If your goal is to develop a culture of health and overall wellbeing, communication remains one of the most vital courses of action. Ensuring your wellbeing brand is highlighted during open enrollment will help the chances of it not getting lost in all of the other benefit information being distributed at a busy time.

  1. Enable employees to be educated, active participants in their own health.

When employee health education is your primary goal, communication should be visible throughout the year. Whether you’re trying to motivate employees to complete biometric screenings, finish their Health Assessment or get their annual check-up, there are multiple opportunities to use clear, consistent communication to your advantage. Open enrollment is simply one time during the year that you’re guaranteed to have a captive audience—so why not use it to reinforce your efforts of the next 365 days?

One of the most concrete results of creating this communication to your employees is continued dialogue about workplace health. Even when the specifics of wellbeing programs or health plans are blurred, or open enrollment time frames vary, the mere presence of them in company conversations shows positive steps towards a healthy and innovative workplace.

Interested in find out more about Priority Health’s wellbeing solutions for companies large and small? Learn more here.