2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19, Part 2

This upcoming Annual Enrollment may be unique, but the right planning, partners, and proactive solutions will allow you to bring greater peace of mind to your employees – even during these uncertain times.

Read Part 1 of this post here.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a workforce that is more scattered than ever before. This dynamic shift in the workplace has made leveraging the right technology a must for almost everything – from conference calls to online benefits enrollment.

As a benefits leader, it’s up to you to ensure that your employees have the tools and guidance they need to make smart decisions about their health, wealth, and benefits coverage, no matter where or how your employees may be working today.

Empyrean’s latest At-A-Glance Guide will help you navigate the AE planning process, so you can execute an open enrollment season that will reach your workforce – even during these difficult times. Download your free copy of the guide today!

The following tips will help you build a benefits communication strategy that resonates with your employees:

Acknowledge the situation around COVID-19
Between managing work responsibilities and family life, employees’ time and focus are at an all-time premium. Under normal circumstances, 56% of employees spend less than half an hour shopping for their benefits, and 14% do no research at all.1 Now, your employees may be tempted to spend even less time comparing plans – or worse, may simply select the same plans as last year. Be sure to acknowledge the difficulties presented by the pandemic in your OE communications, and encourage employees to leverage this enrollment to re-evaluate their needs, familiarize themselves with their all of their benefit options, and bring greater peace of mind to them and their families as the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop.

Transform in-office events into virtual experiences
With so many employees working from home, HR teams have to re-think the usual AE office mainstays, such as posters and benefit fairs. Regular reminders, educational materials, and events are all key to driving employee engagement – but now these options must be re-tooled to fit today’s remote workforce. Brainstorm ways to bring similar experiences directly to your employees through channels such as email, intranet and other online reminders, interactive webinars, and videos. Even if being held virtually, these events can still drive greater comprehension and value to your benefits package.

READ MORE: Explore ideas to help reach your employees while demonstrating care and compassion during these difficult times.

 Maintain a two-way dialogue with employees
When working remotely, it’s easy to rely on “one-way” modes of communication (such as email). After all, employees can no longer simply pop into your office or stop you in the hallway to ask a quick question. However, relying on just one form of communication can lead to a backlog of questions in your inbox and leave participants feeling isolated and overlooked when they don’t receive a timely enough response. Instead, encourage employees to start a dialogue via phone calls or online chat conversations (such as Skype). This will help keep lines of communication open, allow employees to get their questions answered faster, and re-emphasize the human element of HR – even at a distance. Better yet, leverage an client-dedicated Service Center to provide live, one-on-one assistance to employees without adding additional burden to your workload.

Help your employees help themselves
Selecting the wrong benefits coverage can lead to increased financial risks, more stress, and greater dissatisfaction for employees. The stakes of your benefits strategy may be higher than ever – but making the enrollment process as quick, easy, and effective as possible will lead to happier employees and more positive outcomes for your overall business. Emphasize employees’ self-service solutions from the very start of your AE communications. Your benefits administration technology platform should offer convenient mobile solutions for benefits selection, enrollment, and utilization that provide employees with the exact tools they need, right when they need them. With the right support at their fingertips, employees can make smarter decisions and save time and money in the process.

RELATED: Gain critical insights into the trends shaping employee benefits and discover how COVID-19 will impact employers’ strategies moving forward.

With the right planning and proactive solutions, you can help your employees experience greater peace of mind – even during these uncertain times. For more tips and ideas, download Empyrean’s new At-A-Glance Guide, “2020 Annual Enrollment Prep Guide: Achieve Benefits Success in the Age of COVID-19.”

While this upcoming open enrollment period may present new challenges, your benefits administration technology partner should more reliable than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about the way we work, but it does not have to derail your employee benefits strategy or compromise the service quality of your partnerships.

Download your free guide today and discover how the proper steps – supported by the right partner – can make all the difference to your benefits program and overall success.


  1. Aflac Workforces Report: 2019-2020 Workplace Benefits Trends.” Aflac, Inc. Columbus, GA. November 2019.