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4 Ways to Get Ahead for Open Enrollment Season: Employee Benefits Communication Strategies

How benefit communication packages can streamline the enrollment process for insurers and employers in the upcoming season.

As open enrollment season approaches, insurance providers are gearing up to present their members with valuable employee benefits communication packages. 

This period is crucial for both employers and employees as it sets the stage for the upcoming year’s benefits – preparing digestible, actionable, and resonant employee benefits packages is a necessity for insurers and the employers that seek their services.

Open enrollment season acts as the gateway for employees to select the benefits that align with their needs and lifestyles. It’s a great opportunity for providers to stand out and make meaningful change in employees’ lives through comprehensive benefits packages.

But the clock is already ticking — nearly half (47%) of all employers say that remaining competitive with their benefits package is one of their biggest challenges (2023 Aflac Workforces Report). 

Insurers have a huge opportunity to help employers offer competitive benefits in a market where they’re overwhelmed with choices. But every year, insurance providers struggle to communicate their value and the value of their benefits to their members – especially as the deadline is approaching. 


What’s Wrong with Current Employee Benefits Communication Packages?

Every year, insurers struggle to effectively communicate the value of employee benefits in an informative, digestible, and engaging way. Why?

  • They’re difficult to understand  Design is more important than many insurers might realize. Walls of microscopic text overwhelm members and make it difficult for them to make informed decisions. As a result, employees miss out on valuable benefits simply because they couldn’t grasp the information given to them…leading to a decline in employee satisfaction across the country.
  • They’re a chore vs. a priority  When employee benefits packages are delivered in complicated formats, like extensive paper documents with complex jargon, the poor user experience can cause employees to avoid them altogether. Even if they realize the importance of their benefits, the task at hand might appear too challenging to take on – causing employees to miss out on benefits entirely.
  • They’re not tailored to members  Think about today’s insurance landscape: the market is oversaturated, people’s attention spans are lower than ever before, and it’s nearly impossible to cut through the noise. When benefits packages are generic, lacking personalization like members’ names, demographics, and insurance needs, why would employees give them the time of day? They need content that they can connect with and that applies to their specific needs.
  • They’re not accessible  Even though we live in an age of complete digital transformation, many insurers have not caught up in their delivery of benefits packages. They need to give their members options and meet them where they are – which is often across paper AND digital channels. When insurers expect employees to rely solely on pamphlets or more traditional methods, they’re not considering the lifestyle needs of their audience.

The Challenges Insurance Providers Face When Preparing for Open Enrollment Season

As open enrollment season approaches, insurance providers are under a significant amount of pressure to get employees to get involved with their benefits. Some barriers holding insurers back include:

Tight timelines  Insurers have less than three months to deliver packages to employers. In those three months, they must:

  • Gather and analyze employee demographics and other relevant data
  • Strategize effective and engaging packages
  • Design and execute the correct materials
  • And deliver them on time.

In their busiest season of the year, how do they make time for all of that?

Higher expectations, lower budget  Emerging from the pandemic’s demand for flexible work environments and increased benefits, employees expect more from their employers than ever before. 

At the same time, a tight economic landscape means employers need to manage costs where they can. Member engagement should increase after every open enrollment season, but how can you do that while staying on budget and meeting expectations?

Increasing competition, lack of innovation → Employee benefits comms vendors aren’t helping insurers stand out from their competition. 

The design and user experience of employee benefits packages can make or break member engagement – but most vendors aren’t taking that into consideration. 

Providers need vendors who will do more than just print them off pages of insurance jargon without accounting for creative strategy. They need a partner who understands their needs AND cares about the employee experience.

Why Open Enrollment Season Matters

According to a Bank of America study, 80% of employers report that offering some sort of employee benefits package resulted in more satisfied, engaged, and productive employees. 

When benefits are that impactful on employee satisfaction and work output, it’s imperative that employers garner as much involvement as possible. 

Insurers need to equip employers with eye-catching, informative, and effective employee benefits packages. Armed with digestible, visually engaging packages, employees are empowered to make informed decisions about their benefits.

Great employee benefits communication drives engagement and increases utilization

When employees understand how to make the most of their benefits, they’re encouraged to be proactive and take advantage earlier on. When they’re pressured to rush their decisions, however, they might not read or totally comprehend their benefits – leading to regret and job dissatisfaction once they’re locked in for the year.

Great employee benefits communication leads to job satisfaction and loyalty

According to a Metlife study, if employees are satisfied with their benefits, they are 70% more likely to be loyal to their employer. Benefits are a top priority for today’s workforce; employees that understand and appreciate their employee benefits are more inclined to stay at a job. 

Great employee benefits communication improves work productivity

The perks of employee satisfaction are immense. In addition to increased loyalty, when employees are satisfied with their workplace, they’re 31% more productive on average – whereas unhappy employees’ productivity plummets by around 10%. When employees feel valued and supported through a strong benefits program, they are more likely to bring their A-game to work.

How to Improve Your Employee Benefits Communication

In today’s dynamic job market, a well-crafted employee benefits communication package can give companies a compelling, competitive edge. When employees evaluate their benefits packages, there are many factors that contribute to their decision-making process.

Clear Communication

Benefits communication packages should be delivered in clear and concise language, avoiding complicated jargon and overwhelming text design. The easier it is for employees to comprehend their options, the more likely they are to make informed, confident decisions about coverage.

Benefit Comms Direct Mail Example
Employee Benefits Comm Direct Mail Example

These direct mail pieces Drummond created show how simple design and text can go a long way in communicating benefits. The concise text and layout make it straightforward for employees to understand and choose their benefits.


Again, when communicating employee benefits, the user experience of employees must be top of mind. Packages often contain a lot of information to digest – employees will most likely want to reference packages more than once before making their final decisions. Their benefits should be communicated in both physical and digital formats, with those formats interconnected and easy to locate.

Data Security

Insurance providers handle some of the most sensitive client information of any industry. When insurance providers and employers are taking the extra measure to secure employee information, it builds trust and security between the two. When employees are confident that their information is being handled safely, they’re encouraged to actively participate in their benefits and trust their providers more wholeheartedly.

We are ISO 27001, SOC 2, and HIPAA certified to reduce third-party risk, securely process customer data, and improve your customers’ trust in YOU. Find out why third-party risk should be at the top of your mind and how to manage it in our recent blog, “Why Print Security Matters: Managing Third-Party Risk in Healthcare and Finance”


Building an Employee Benefits Communication Strategy

If employee benefits packages are designed with the user experience in mind, insurers are more likely to provide increased value to the employers they serve. That means when open enrollment rolls around year after year, they’re more likely to return time and time again.

How can you act NOW and STAND OUT before this open enrollment season?

#1 | Personalize

Understanding employee needs and catering to them makes it easier to grab and maintain their attention. Insurers should be designing content that removes the obstacles for members to find what’s relevant to them. 

Segmenting and targeting employees based on their preferences and needs increases their engagement. 

By addressing employees by their name and understanding their concerns based on demographics – like age, location, and role in the company – they feel seen and understood. 

By doing this, employees are more invested in their benefits because employers are displaying a commitment to their priorities.

When searching for a print partner to bring their employee benefits communication to life, insurance providers need to consider the degree to which they can customize packages.

#2 | Make It Accessible

Convenience and efficiency are key when it comes to providing accessible employee benefits. 

By utilizing methods of communication like direct mail and digital channels, employees can access and manage their benefits at their own convenience.

Incorporating benefits within employee portals, email campaigns, and mobile apps, communicate the available benefits to employees and enable an easy flow of information.

Drummond Benefit Comms Graphic

Technology like QR codes can customize and simplify the enrollment process because employers can leverage workforce data to analyze employee information and offer personalized recommendations. 

These can be digitally printed and used in several types of marketing materials like posters, brochures, tabletop signs, and more.

Employee Benefits QR Code

Geodis’ employee benefits poster allows them to access their employee benefits website and additional resources to learn more through a QR code.

#3 | Use Innovative Printing Techniques

Creative design and execution of packages helps coverage options stand out and leave a positive impression on employees. 

Tactics like 3D elements can add dimensional features to printed aspects like titles or logos, drawing more attention to important content. 

From fold out panels to pop-up elements, three-dimensional features direct employees’ focus and keep them interested when they might feel overwhelmed by their options.

#4 | Find The Right Partner

From coordination to differing expectations, working with multiple vendors on one project can be stressful. 

But working with one vendor to design and execute your packages reduces supply chain risk and potential delays. They have the space to become familiar with your printing needs and can ensure timely delivery of packages before open enrollment. 

Partnering with a vendor capable of ideating, innovating, producing, and distributing it all is key to boosting efficiency in communicating your benefits.

Get Ahead This Open Enrollment Season

Open enrollment is already stressful for insurance providers, employers, and their employees. Ease that stress and get ahead in open enrollment season by developing innovative packages that will leave a long lasting impression on employers, and leave them with satisfied employees.

By working with Drummond, our in-house creative and innovative teams have the expertise to understand your processes and execute them, easing your team’s lift and meeting your tight deadlines. Reach out to us today and let us help you take that first step towards a smoother and more successful open enrollment season.

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