It’s that time of year that may strike fear into your heart if you work in human resources. No, I’m not talking about Halloween. For many, it’s open enrollment time. And if your employee base has a strong millennial presence, you may be struggling to figure out how to get them to complete their benefits elections in a timely manner (or at all).
Are millennials just difficult by nature? In my experience, they are not. But they do have their reasons for resisting the process and dragging it out until the last moment.
I don’t understand benefits. Many young workers, particularly those who have just turned 26, have had little to no exposure to employee benefits. To these people, reading an enrollment guide, chock full of jargon, is probably like trying to understand a foreign language.
I never go to the doctor so I don’t need insurance. When people are young and healthy (and likely make a young worker’s smaller salary), they may wonder why they should blow any of their hard-earned money on health insurance that they don’t think they need.
I’m more interested in other things. People in this demographic may simply not be paying attention. Open enrollment messages, which tend to be less than entertaining, probably don’t make the cut, considering all the other compelling messages vying for their attention.
So what’s an employer to do?
- Begin engaging your audience well before enrollment begins. Don’t wait until you’re ready to kick off the enrollment process to start getting their attention. (Remember this for next year.)
- Provide education around the fact that your employees who don’t have insurance will pay a penalty, thanks to health reform. It’s possible your millennial employees don’t know this.
- Remember that those who turn 26 this year may be enrolling in benefits for the first time, now that they can no longer be on their parents’ plans. Spend extra time with targeted messages aimed at demystifying the process.
Use their favorite channel.
Maybe most importantly, think about what every millennial has, and is likely never without: a smartphone. Why not use this one-to-one channel to engage your employees with highly targeted messages? With a text program, you can:
- Start early with messages and keep them coming throughout the entire process.
- Let employees text their questions and get quick, accurate answers in return.
- Send links to helpful information, which may include your company’s intranet.
- Offer step-by-step instructions on how to enroll.
Wondering how to get started?
A variety of companies offer the necessary technology for setting up a text program. Lockton has worked with some of these companies to help our clients implement text campaigns, and we can help you, too. Please contact your Lockton Account Team for more information.
Have you used text messaging in your open enrollment process? If so, tell us your story! You can comment below or send us an email.