Open Enrollment Survival Guide for Benefit Administrators

Open enrollment or annual benefits enrollment can be a crazy time of the year no matter how many employees you service. Even the most seasoned HR professional can get stressed, but there are many ways to help keep things from getting out of hand. A good way of keeping yourself focused is to put together a survival guide of reminders and tools, some of which we’ve listed below.

  1. Start taking your vitamins: This time of year can mean stressful days where you aren’t eating right or getting enough restful sleep. Taking vitamins consistently can help keep your body up to the task and prevent you from burning out before the close of enrollment.
  2. Put a handful of paperclips in your pocket: Besides the obvious practical uses, paperclips are a good reminder to stay organized physically and mentally. Things can easily start to fall
    apart when you are working with so many details, so use the paperclips to figuratively and literally keep things together.
  3. Walking or comfortable shoes: It may not seem very professional to wear gym shoes to work, but you should at least make sure that your shoes are comfortable and you are taking good care of your feet. Open enrollment can mean a lot of back and forth walking and a lot of hours standing. All that action on typically hard floors can do a number on your feet, ankles, and even your back.
  4. Pencil and eraser: Mistakes happen. It is important to be able to erase them and move on to the correction without thinking too much about it.
  5. Elastic Bands: Like paperclips, you should keep a few rubber or elastic bands in your pocket to remind yourself to stay flexible. There may be things that need to be changed or that might go wrong that will stretch you mentally and physically. Remember that just like a rubber band, you too will break if you are stretched too far.
  6. Sticky Notes: Leaving a note for someone, including yourself, is a great way to stay organized and keep the lines of communication open. Choose a few colors that would represent specific topics and stick to that pattern. Just try not to use so many sticky notes that it covers your entire computer screen or wall.

A few more practical items that you should keep within reach are things like a phone charger or extra battery, extension cords, bottles of water, and nutritious snacks. Just remember breathe and take care of yourself and your team. Also, it helps to partner with a benefit consultant that has some experience with planning and implementing open enrollments. Their expertise will give you insights and tools to add to this survival guide that will get you through your open enrollment with significantly less stress.