Preparing for Open Enrollment With a Hybrid Workforce

With open enrollment season approaching, now’s the time for HR professionals to kick off their planning. Due to the pandemic—and employees’ desire for flexibility—many employers now find themselves with a workforce on a hybrid schedule. It’s imperative they make appropriate adjustments to lead a successful open enrollment period.

As a flexible model designed to support a distributed workforce of both on-site and remote employees, hybrid workplaces have become increasingly common. A Mercer survey found that 83% of employers are considering flexible work arrangements more than they did prior to the pandemic, and 73% plan to implement a hybrid environment. In this model, employees may be on-site some days and work the other days remotely, or specific departments or roles may need to work on-site while others can work remotely just as effectively.

With an increased number of employees working remotely, employers have had to adapt and rethink all aspects of the employee experience—including open enrollment.

Leverage Virtual Opportunities for All Employees 

During 2020, virtual open enrollment initiatives played a significant role for many organizations, and they are likely here to stay. Of course, offering virtual open enrollment opportunities doesn’t mean that an employer needs to scrap their traditional open enrollment process entirely. In a hybrid model, many employees continue to work in a brick-and-mortar location. Most employers already have robust open enrollment processes for those on-site; still, it’s worth considering how virtual channels can supplement a benefits strategy for remote, hybrid and even on-site employees. Here are a few tips for leveraging virtual channels and opportunities:

  • Host a kick-off webinar or virtual presentation. An engaging event can help employees start thinking about benefits and be effective at providing employees with the key information they’ll need. A head start on open enrollment can help troubleshoot potential issues ahead of time and avoid a scenario where masses of employees need assistance at the same time when its time to enroll.
  • Create a benefits website. A one-stop location will allow employees to hop online, engage with resources and learn more. Some employers even use mobile apps to support benefits education and enrollment.
  • Provide employees with the technical support they need. Examine how an open enrollment experience can be accessible for all employees, regardless of their location. Benefits can often be complex to enroll in, but employers can take steps to change this perception among their workforce. Consider the user experience of an enrollment platform and how employees can receive timely support when they need help.
  • Prepare easily accessible materials for employees to review. Employees will want to review materials with their dependents and decision-makers. Digitally distributing benefits resources will enable them to do this, as well as...

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Combined HR Services provides practical human resources information and guidance based upon our experience in the industry and our experience with our clients.  Combined HR Services are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.  Combined HR Services are designed to provide general information to human resources and/or business professionals regarding human resources situations commonly encountered.  Given the changing nature of federal, state and local legislation and the changing nature of court decisions, Combined HR Services cannot and will not guarantee that the information is completely current or accurate.  Combined HR Services do not include or constitute legal, business, international, regulatory, insurance, tax or financial advice.