There’s no denying that 2020 changed the way we live and work. Companies and organizations around the world had to pivot quickly and find new ways to connect, get work done, and retool processes. Modern connectivity not only made this possible — it also opened up a new realm of possibilities.

The open enrollment (OE) process was no exception. Changes made out of the necessity of the moment have become best practices, and many of our learnings can (and should!) be taken into the future. Read on to find out what takeaways from the 2020 open enrollment period can be used to better engage and support your employees in 2021 and beyond.

Benefits are more important than ever

Considering we’re living through a pandemic, it should be no surprise that access to health care benefits through an employer is more important than ever. In fact, 75% of adults now rate this as one of their top considerations for job satisfaction.

When it comes to the open enrollment process, passive employers will let employees continue with their previous plans with little to no communication. However, we strongly recommend that employees take an active approach by asking employees to review their plans and make changes where needed. Benefits of an active approach include:

  • More engaged employees
  • Employee loyalty
  • Up-to-date information
  • A good understanding of current workforce needs
  • Better benefits education for employees

Benefits are not a one-size-fits-all solution

Everyone has unique needs – whether they are financial, physical, or mental. Some of these needs may have been caused by or amplified in 2020. Again, this makes it more crucial than ever for employers to play an active role in the open enrollment process.

Make sure you’re available to your employees to answer their questions. The best open enrollment process is one that will guide them in finding the right option for their specific situation.

Information was communicated differently in 2020…and employees were receptive

Due to stay-at-home orders, many employers delivered open enrollment information differently in 2020. This included hosting live webinars and trainings, being available for online chats during certain parts of the day, and holding virtual open enrollment fairs. These virtual engagement methods were met with positive reviews from employees. Moving forward, this more convenient approach can lead to higher morale around the OE process.

Virtual open enrollment periods are the new norm

Nearly all companies conducted open enrollment virtually in 2020. While this shift may have happened by necessity, the response was so positive that 85% of those companies plan to continue to do so in future years regardless of employees being remote or on-site.

If your company is considering virtual open enrollment, now is the time to make sure you have the right technology in place for a seamless experience. An HR technology solution like Workday®, for example, will provide your employees with an efficient, convenient process for updating benefit elections.

The 2020 open enrollment period may have presented unique challenges but it also provided valuable takeaways. We now have clear data that shows how the right communication and technology can ensure your employees feel supported, leading to better engagement and overall loyalty. The key is to plan early and thoughtfully to ensure a smooth OE period in 2021.

Work with a Workday® expert to ensure a seamless open enrollment process. Learn more about our custom solutions.