The Survival Guide to Open Enrollment: The Sequel

September 14, 2017


Ryan Miller and Paul Ashley’s video blog on surviving Open Enrollment (OE) was such a hit, we decided to give it a sequel. If it works for Hollywood, it can work for FirstPerson and our clients, too.

And why not? With this time of year being so important to so many organizations, people just can’t get enough Open Enrollment survival tips. For this edition of the Survival Guide, we went straight to our Advisors, Managing Directors, and team leaders for their candid suggestions of how to make it through the ultra-busy OE season. We hope you’ll find their advice helpful.

“Write down the three things that you desperately want your people to hear/remember in your Open Enrollment presentation. Got them? Ok. Now circle the ONE that is the absolute most important this year. The honest truth is that employees are in a very different frame of mind when it comes to benefit presentations in the post-ACA world. They are already in fight-or-flight mode, and that doesn’t bode well for knowledge retention.”
Ryan Miller, Advisor

"Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society—the social ramble ain't restful."
Ed Miller, Advisor

“When in doubt, during OE or any other time in life, the healing powers of Africa by Toto should never be underestimated.”
Paul Ashley, Managing Director

“If too many employees come to you with questions, get one of those ‘out to lunch’ clocks for your door and set it for 5:01pm.”
Benjamin Ekhaus, Advisor

“Big, bold signs. Stick a poster on every bathroom door to remind employees when their elections are due and how to submit them.” Also, “try to be available to employees right after Open Enrollment meetings to ensure you don’t have the dreaded five-person line out of your office door the day it ends.”
Caitlin McGinty, Advisor

“At the end of a long day, do not underestimate the value of a good glass of wine, dogs who are happy to see you, and the Cubs in the playoffs."
Katy Stowers, Managing Director

“Take a mini-vacation and leave the office for lunch.”
Dianne Olthaus, Client Advocate

"If you make a change regarding in-network providers, make sure you find out if the CEO and her or his spouse are affected. Get them on board before you communicate changes to anyone else."
Julie Bingham, Advisor  

“Take time to get away. Life will still go on outside of this after it’s over.”
Laura Butler, Advisor

"When in doubt, just let it out and cry. For emergencies, beer is located in the fridge for immediate use."
Nick Scott, Director of Client Services  

“One word: Donuts. They do wonders to incentivize folks. On your way into the office swing by your local shop, buy a variety pack, and set them by your desk with a sign above that says, ‘Donut forget to complete your elections!’”
Alicia Kurtz, VP of Marketing & Communications

“If you run OE in November, buy a bag of your favorite half-price Halloween candy on November 1. Keep it in your desk and share it with no one.”
Ryan Miller, Advisor

Developing a Holistic Benefits Strategy

Written in collaboration with Alicia Kurtz.