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August 25, 2022

Five key strategies for a successful open enrollment

Get the most out of your HR technology this year

Shannon Klick

Each year, a lot of strategy and planning must come together to make your benefits open enrollment a success. You have to identify the right mix of options with the right insurance companies, the best way to communicate your benefits, how to enroll your employees in the plans, and ultimately how to get those changes back to the insurance companies and to payroll.   

With that in mind, these are some key strategies for having a successful open enrollment.  

1. Start early with technology.

The right technology can make the difference between an efficient, productive open enrollment and potential train wreck. Simply put, don’t wait until the last minute to parse out what you’ll need.

For instance, if you have a benefits administration solution, it might be time for a refresh. First off, ensure your communications about benefit plans make sense to your employees. Be sure to also replace any outdated forms and send out messages to inform employees that open enrollment is coming. Evaluate any vendor software enhancements and, critically, test the solution again before you release it to employees. 

If you currently don’t have a benefit administration technology solution, consider this a sign to look into it further. In the past several years, remote work has become commonplace and technology has adapted to make the enrollment process easier.   

2. Engage a consultant.  

Generally, the first key step in the technology consulting process is for them to perform a needs analysis. This will help them understand the needs of your organization and better set expectations in terms of vision and budget. From there, a consultant can provide vendor recommendations and help guide you through the procurement and implementation process.

Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) has technology consultants to help you not only choose the solution that can handle your specific wish list, but also to account for benefits and eligibility complexities in your potential options. Coordinating your technology with the selection of benefits carriers and your eligibility rules can save you an enormous amount of time.   

3. Consider a voluntary benefit strategy with employee service support.

Voluntary benefits are a cost effective and powerful way to provide employees more choice for their unique situation. Adding service support allows the vendor to be the contact point for your employees and makes the enrollment process easier and more navigable.

This additional layer in your benefit strategy takes that workload off HR and provides a neutral third party to share messaging, audit the data, and handle administrative tasks. One of the best parts of the voluntary benefits/technology/employee support strategy is that with the right mix of vendors, it can bring down the cost of the solution overall. 

4. Make sure your technology solution works—and works for you. 

Whether you already have a system in place or you’re making an initial investment, make sure you allow enough time before open enrollment to thoroughly test your technology to ensure that everything you plan for it to do will be manageable in the coming year. While HR technology is a helpful tool, there is always room for potential human error.

For example, go through the solution for each employee class and tier to make sure that the messaging, rates, forms, and details all say what you expect. Vendors perform testing as well, but they aren’t seeing it from your eyes, knowing your employees. Once the enrollment solution goes live and insurance company connections are set up, review and audit billing statements for payroll deduction accuracy as the final step in your testing process. 

Additionally, ensure the technology you’re using isn’t overcomplicating things or making the process less manageable. If your tests are repeatedly unsuccessful or cumbersome, it’s maybe worth engaging a consultant if you haven’t already and find a solution that best works for your organization.

5. Start talking about this now.

Make sure your consulting team knows your timeline and vision so they can bring in the right resources and help you plan accordingly. Have a checklist of items you want to cover, including costs, integrating well-being into your health care plan, and educating employees. At MMA, our goal is to create exactly the right plan for your organization to help make open enrollment—and beyond—as successful as possible.

Also, make sure all internal stakeholders are fully aware of the open enrollment timeline and agree on everyone’s responsibilities. Plan and communicate your vision clearly to your stakeholders. This phase of the process can take an inordinate amount of time so getting internal buy-in long before open enrollment begins is essential.


Open enrollment can be quite a challenge. You’re now communicating with four to five unique generations in your employee population and each one accesses and consumes information in different ways. The differences in work behaviors and benefits preferences have never been greater. However, the amount of resources and technology available to HR teams and open enrollment professionals has also never been greater. While there are many ways to have a successful open enrollment, it’s never a bad idea to have the right partner, the right tools, and enough time to prepare. 

Fortunately, MMA is here to help. Reach out to your MMA representative today and learn how we can help you have a headache-free open enrollment this year.