Challenges of Communicating Open Enrollment With Hourly Employees
If you’ve run an open enrollment program before, you may remember all the confusion and chaos that quickly ensued. In industries like manufacturing—with thousands of distributed hourly employees, multiple shifts, and language barriers—you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Email is unreliable
In a 2020 report, 43% of employers said they found it challenging to communicate to deskless workers, and manufacturing hourly workforces are notoriously hard to reach. Most manufacturing hourly employees are not given a company email address, so they often have to provide their personal email address—which they may not check regularly.
Word of mouth is often in one ear and out the other
Relying on word of mouth communication is a recipe for disaster. When it comes to open enrollment information, the number of details to remember is endless! Think: deadlines, terminology, costs, and what’s covered and not covered. Without proper documentation for employees to reference later on, critical information is at risk of slipping through the cracks.
Paper packets are often lost or misplaced
No one likes having to keep track of paper documents. Especially on a manufacturing floor (where employees aren’t sitting at a desk all day) paper handouts often get lost, misplaced, or even accidentally tossed out.
Coming up with a plan for open enrollment communication that actually works
The tried-and-true strategies for open enrollment communication that work well at smaller organizations with a majority salaried workforce may not be as successful here. What you need is a plan that caters to your diverse team’s unique needs and requirements.
Present open enrollment plan information where employees are most
It all starts with meeting them where they are. As we mentioned before, manufacturing hourly employees don’t have corporate email addresses.
But they do have a mobile phone.
Ninety-five percent of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent, and unlike mobile apps, there’s no need to install a new technology on personal devices and no learning curve because everyone can text.