With the beginning of October comes pumpkin spice everything, Halloween candy and costumes and last, but certainly not least, the start of open enrollment for millions of employees across the country.

Open enrollment is an opportune time to engage employeesand remind them about all the benefits they receive from their company. However, without the right mix of internal communications and marketing, employees could miss out on this important time period and their benefits.

While I’m sure your communication plan has already been laid out, here are six tips you can use to amplify your existing plan to engage employees during open enrollment.

  1. Photo contest – Hold a photo contest to get employees excited about open enrollment and give them the chance to win some cool prizes. Employees love free company swag and the majority of employees have phones capable of taking photos.
  2. HR rides the elevator – Where is one place employees are trapped for a few moments? The elevator. Place HR employees in elevators throughout open enrollment to answer questions and remind employees to complete their enrollment form. If your company doesn’t have an elevator, consider placing someone at the main entrance in the morning and afternoon.
  3. Leadership communications – Instead of sending out an open enrollment communication from a generic work email address, consider sending it from the HR leader or employee managers.  For most companies, the open percentage for communications from leaders/managers is 10 to 15 percent higher than coming from a generic mailbox.
  4. Simplify – PCP, OOP, PPO, PRI, OON and EOP. Five of those abbreviations are commonly used during open enrollment, and one is the country code for a U.S. territory. And I bet you can’t tell which is which (stay calm, the answer is at the end). Don’t assume employees understand the language used in communications and materials. Go back and reread your communications and make sure you break down the content into understandable and digestible information.
  5. No one size fits all – Employees must act fast during open enrollment. Don’t assume email will work for all employees or that post card in the mail will actually make it to their home. Reach employees with multiple channels because what works for one group might not work for others.
  6. After open enrollment – For some reason open enrollment is the only time companies seem to talk about the benefits employees receive. Remind employees throughout the year how to use their benefits and navigate the various health and insurance websites.

Don’t let open enrollment communications be routine this year. Take a second look at your plan to see if there is any opportunity to enhance your communications to inform and engage employees.

And for all my trivia nerds out there, PRI is the country code for Puerto Rico.