Benefits Communications, Employee Engagement, Open Enrollment

The State of Employee Benefits Following Open Enrollment 2023

January 23, 2024 | Winston

For most, the start of a new year marks a fresh beginning; however, for many HR professionals, January means the end of open enrollment (OE). While OE certainly brings about its challenges for HR and benefits professionals, it also can give them a clearer idea of what’s working and what’s not for their employees. This OE varied across industries, but the consensus this year and the past few years was that there was a greater focus on employee wellness and satisfaction. Today, we’re diving into some of the most prominent takeaways from this OE period and how this may affect the industry in 2024.

Customized Benefits

The one-size-fits-all benefits approach is no longer an effective method for HR to engage employees in enrollment because benefits that are important for one employee may be a non-factor for another. This is primarily due to the broader age demographics in the current workforce.

For example, more Gen Z and Baby Boomers are working together in today’s workforce, and those two groups expect different things from their employers and benefits packages. According to an article by WeAreTechWomen, Baby Boomers want more technology regarding workplace priorities, while Gen Z reportedly wants their organizations to prioritize more socially conscious initiatives. Gen Z employees also want their company to offer more holistic benefits such as flexible hours, extended PTO, and more, while Baby Boomers are looking for caregiver benefits and offerings that support retirement goals. Employees, in general, want more personalized and voluntary benefits to help satisfy their specific needs, and HR teams would rather cater to those wants with customized offerings than try to fulfill a diverse workforce with dissimilar priorities with a general package. Check out this video to learn how Winston can help support the needs of a multi-generational workforce!

One-on-One Support

Following open enrollment, many employees cited feeling most supported in their benefits journeys when they have one-on-one support from their HR and benefits teams. However, during open enrollment, these departments are usually spread thin. Therefore, enlisting the help of a benefits administration partner like our team at Winston can help bridge the gap between benefits support and employees. Resources like call centers, digital and print communications, and our HRally® platform make it easier than ever for HR professionals to reach their employees wherever they are without overburdening themselves with too many tasks.

Planning Ahead

Planning ahead is crucial for a successful OE period, and what many have discovered in the past is that starting earlier for OE prep can help make things go a lot smoother once it arrives. In the months following OE, professionals can get ahead of planning for next year by looking into the following:

    • Conduct surveys with employees about offerings they want to see in next year’s packages and what benefits have value versus less value to them.
    • Keep up with reports and articles from reputable sources for benefits information on the latest trends throughout the year.
    • Determine which tools were helpful for your organization during enrollment, such as HR automation or benefits administration tools, and look into ways to improve that technology or implement it if you haven’t already.

While the 2023 OE period may be over for most, HR and benefits professionals know that employee benefits change year-round, and it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. If you’re looking for easier access to benefits updates, Winston posts statistics and industry trends so you can keep up all in one place. Check out our social channels!

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Disclaimer: This content is strictly informational and should not be used as specific advice on insurance products, legal, accounting, and/or tax related matters. Insureds should always contact the appropriate licensed professional for their insurance, legal, accounting, or tax needs.

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