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5 ways to bolster your enrollment results

You have a strong portfolio. You have a strategy. But are you seeing the results you want? Read on for five ways that you can deliver more to your clients—and more to your bottom line—for 2024 open enrollment.

Enrollment results tip #1: Use plain language

Fewer than half of employees say they understand the costs of their benefits well. But their employers don’t fully recognize this disconnect, with 79% of them saying they believe their workforce has a firm grasp of the costs of their benefits.1

If your clients don’t think there’s a benefits literacy gap, they’re not going to take steps to close it. That leaves room for you to step in, and plain language can be a part of your plan, because it can help people understand the complicated world of benefits more clearly.

In one study, when a government regulation was explained in both traditional language and plain language, the amount of time that it took for study participants who were inexperienced in the topic to answer questions about the regulation was slashed in half.2 Given that most employees spend less than 30 minutes choosing their benefits,3 supporting employees in better understanding what’s available to them can help them choose the right plan — ultimately building trust in the value of benefits, potentially boosting engagement and enrollment.

Plain language is simple to implement (that’s the point, after all). Start with this checklist as you prepare and review materials for clients and employees.

Enrollment results tip #2: Tailor communications to different clients’ needs

Amping up your enrollment numbers begins with relationship-building. Echoing your clients’ values in your communications with them can help them see you as a partner—and echoing your clients’ values in materials meant for employees can help them see their benefits as a part of an overall relationship, not just a transaction.

Review the approach your clients use in their communications with you, and in their employee outreach. Is the tone warmer or more professional than your default voice? What values are they stressing—finances, physical health, peace of mind?

Tailoring communication means paying attention to the medium too. Roughly 82% of employees say that it’s important to be able to manage benefits online, so stress any availability of online resources that you’ve incorporated into your materials.1 That also means making yourself available in person when appropriate: Employees of all ages say they value the chance to have conversations with a benefits consultant.3

Enrollment results tip #3: Be transparent about costs

If someone doesn’t really understand the costs of their benefits, as is true of 48% of employees, it’s less likely that they’ll sign up to spend money for an unknown return.1 But there is one thing employees are aware of: The costs of health care are rising, including their premiums. And with 2023’s 7% increase in single and family premiums over 2022—more than the rise in wages, and more than inflation—they may be even more aware than usual.4

Creating holistic communication around costs can help. Experts also recommend framing benefits as a part of total compensation (without misleading candidates, of course) to drive home the point that while employees’ cost-sharing of health benefits can feel like money that vanishes from their paycheck, it’s ultimately part of why they clock in every day.

Enrollment results tip #4: Know what else your clients are concerned about

Yes, cost is a top consideration for employers when selecting a benefits provider. In fact, 20% of employers ranked this as their top factor. But they’re also concerned about brand reputation (21%), longevity (17%), financial strength (19%) and product ratings (7%).1

They also care about the specifics of the plans themselves. Nearly half of employers say they’re at least moderately concerned about a health care plan’s ability to support timely appointments and about a plan’s complexity for prior authorization requirements.4

You may not be able to supply answers for all of these on-the-ground questions. But investigating these key areas, along with understanding the availability of in-network providers and the affordability of the cost-sharing setup, will prepare you to better share the advantages of the plans you include in your portfolio.

Enrollment results tip #5: Don’t wait

Open enrollment may have a season, but benefits communication should be a year-round endeavor: Eighty-one percent of surveyed employees say that they want information about their benefits outside of open enrollment.5

Building relationships goes beyond client gifts and networking (though those matter too). It’s about anticipating your clients’ needs—and the needs of their employees—and making yourself proactively available to address them. The only way to do that is to make it a reciprocal relationship, which means showing up for them outside of open enrollment. That may be when you need them the most, but they need you year-round.

By regularly checking in, leaning into transparency, and remembering the full spectrum of their concerns, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smoother—and more bountiful—open enrollment season.

Ready to jump-start the season? Contact your Aflac benefits representative today.