Take the Stress Out of Open Enrollment

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October 12, 2016

Open enrollment can be a tough time of year for company employees. Workers often find the task of choosing health insurance options tedious and daunting, not to mention dreading the cost. Mix in confusing insurance jargon, and now we see how employees could liken open enrollment to getting a root canal. And it’s your job to alleviate the pain.

Start by recognizing your employees’ anxiety and hesitation. Empathy and understanding go a long way. Then consider tackling the following steps to ease employee stress and guide decision-making.


Before jumping into this year’s open enrollment season, look at last year. What worked? What didn’t? How can you improve the experience this time? Start preparing early so you can tackle challenges before they arise.


Communication is hands down the most important tool during open enrollment. Employees will have questions—lots of them—so make yourself available. Hold a group FAQ session for broader information and open office hours for workers to ask more personal questions one-on-one. Keep the answers and information clear and concise, explaining terms and avoiding insurance jargon whenever possible. 


Ignorance fuels stress. It’s often the feeling that we don’t know enough to make a wise decision that worries. Educating employees early and often during open enrollment helps mediate stress and anxiety. Consider bringing in an insurance representative to lay out plan options, explain costs, and demystify the process. Allow time for employees to explore the choices and get detailed answers. The more they know, the better they’ll feel about making a decision. 

Lighten the mood.

We all know the feeling of being in an all-too-quiet, awkward social situation where someone cracks a joke to melt the tension. A similar tension often builds during open enrollment, especially as the deadline looms nearer. Try breaking that tension in a lighthearted way. Have some fun as a team to provide a more relaxed environment. Hold a company raffle for event tickets, gifts cards, or a specialty gift basket. Push a snack cart around with fresh fruits, nut bars, and water (let’s pass on the donuts and candy bars since we’re talking health insurance here). Bring in a coffee bar one morning for workers to enjoy special blends and mix-ins, or have a Friday potluck or catered lunch. 

Open enrollment doesn’t have to be a stressful time for your workers. It’s true that you can’t predict all the questions and feedback they’ll have, but you can make this a more positive experience through preparation, communication, education, and a little bit of fun. 

Have temp employees with us already? Then you get the added bonus of us handling all of the open enrollment fun for you! We work with all of our temp and temp-to-hire employees to communicate and educate them on their insurance options. If this is something you might be interested in, get in touch!