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The fall open enrollment season is upon us, and in the midst of the pandemic, employee benefits feel more important than ever. 

While COVID-19 continues to spread in our communities, healthcare coverage can offer some much-needed peace of mind. Holistic benefits feel timely, too: a financial-wellness program could be key for employees facing furlough days, while an identity protection benefit like ours can help shield participants from COVID-related fraud

With so much of the workforce still at home, though, open enrollment will look a little different this year. For most companies, the format is migrating online, which poses new challenges — and creates new opportunities. Here are three tips for creating an experience that’s informative and engaging for workers near and far. 

Consider your demographic

A good open enrollment strategy will be tailored to the population it serves. Before you plan your rollout, spend some time considering what makes sense for your workforce. 

Different companies will have vastly different needs. A start-up composed of digital programmers who are mostly working from home may require one approach, while an industrial firm populated with skilled laborers socially distancing on site requires another.  

Here are a few things to consider when deciding which solutions will work best for your demographic: 

  • Do employees have access to the internet and employer-provided technology, such as computers, mobile phones, and data plans?
  • Do they work at a desk or in the field? 
  • Are they tech-savvy? 
  • Where are they located? What time zones need to be accommodated? 
  • Will schedules allow for a synchronous event, either virtual or in-person? 

Prepare for tough questions

In these challenging times, employees may have some difficult questions about how the pandemic and resulting financial crisis will affect their benefits. 

Prepare for an uptick in asks like these, and consider incorporating the answers into your educational materials: 

  • What are my options for medical leave and life insurance?
  • How am I covered if a loved one contracts COVID and I need to take time off to care for them? 
  • How is our company supporting working parents while schools are closed? Is there a paid parental leave policy or child-care program? 
  • If I’m furloughed, will my benefits continue? 
  • What will happen with my benefits if I’m laid off?
  • What options do I have if I don’t feel comfortable returning to work when the office re-opens?

Send the message over multiple channels 

A successful virtual enrollment program takes careful planning, but it offers plenty of perks, like unprecedented convenience and broader access to information. 

Any and all of the following tools might be used to support your rollout: 

  • With an online benefits site and mobile app, workers can access benefits materials anytime, from anywhere. Special features such as chatbots and FAQ pages help employees find the details they need. 
  • Virtual town halls or webinars, either live or pre-recorded, let your HR team address employees’ questions directly. 
  • Digital flyers and text and email campaigns can spur engagement. Use good design and a variety of formats to make the material more interesting and easier to digest. 
  • If employees prefer printed documents, mail enrollment packets and educational materials to their home address. Print materials such as mailed postcards or buck slips have also proven to be effective tools for increasing benefits enrollment. 

Need help creating some of these materials? Ask your benefits providers for an assist. 

Here at Allstate Identity Protection, we can support your enrollment initiatives with tools and resources, such as a custom enrollment microsite for your company and online educational webinars for your employees. We can also help out with electronic communications such as emails, videos, and social media campaigns. One other tool we use to support enrollment: our Digital Footprint Assessment, a short quiz that enables employees to assess whether their personal information might be exposed. 

By using multiple streams of communication, you’re more likely to reach a larger segment of employees — and that’s key to upping engagement.

  
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