The simple answer to the question of what are the most important elements of a successful open enrollment meeting would be to fulfill the objectives of the three constituents: the employer, the employees and the consultant.

It starts with understanding the requirements of the employer and any unique company characteristics. What is the size of the company, are they on an HRIS system, do they provide decision-support tools? Are they multi-location, have they acquired a new company, are the benefits changing dramatically, or are the contribution strategies being modified? Will the senior leadership team attend the open enrollment meetings?

There is nothing more frustrating than preparing for an open enrollment meeting and having limited attendance. Does it make sense to include the spouses either in person or via conference call? Frequently they are the primary utilizers of the plan.

Clear communication
Most employees are change resistant and any plan changes often create anxiety. The open enrollment meetings need to educate the employees as to why there are changes, what they are and how to benefit from the new plan offering.

Slideshow
Top 10 trends influencing the workplace
Employers can expect to see more technology, a bigger focus on employee benefits and an enhanced job candidate experience in the next few years.

It’s imperative that they attend either in person or via conference call. The meetings should not be a data dump, but rather an entertaining experience with humor, examples and facts. Appropriate visuals enhance the meeting experience and help to maintain interest.

As consultants, we know that well educated and informed employees are happier, more content employees and require less servicing. The investment in quality employee enrollments meetings helps to fulfill the objectives of all the constituents: the employer, the employees and the consultant.

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Andrew Torelli

Andrew Torelli

Torelli is area senior vice president at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.