tools to Build Your Communication Calendar

Sample message ideas and resources to help you build out your participant communications.

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Let’s face it. Open Enrollment is overwhelming for both employers and employees. It is no wonder 1 in 3 benefits professionals report that communications are often lost, overlooked or misunderstood. While we may never get rid of the overload at open enrollment, we can lighten the load with a year-long communication strategy which looks to provide more bite-sized, focused messages over time.

The following is intended to be a guide and resource. A few best practices to consider:

Be sure to make it SMART

(Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time Bound)

Potential communication goals
  • Send one benefits reminder communication per month.
  • Hold a benefits education workshop for employees once per quarter.
  • Invite benefits partners to speak with and educate employees (outside of open enrollment).
  • Commit to starting open enrollment education 30 days earlier than in the past.
  • Try one (or more) new channels of communicating with employees.

Make sure your messages are noticed by leveraging the tools and channels employees are actively communicating in. Over 80% of employers reported using three or more methods of communication during open enrollment in 2021. You will likely need more than one communication approach to reach employees.

Channels to Consider
ChannelMost popular uses
Internal sites/tools (intranet, sharepoint, payroll, BenAdmin platform, etc.)
  • Aggregate information & resources
  • Formal announcements
  • Ability to manage benefits
Collaboration tools (Teams, Slack, Messenger apps)
  • Reminders
  • Short-form communications / tips
  • Share stories / Q&A
Email, text, mailed communication
  • Notifications, reminders
  • Links to more detailed info
In-person / virtual meetings
  • Formal announcements
  • Share stories / Q&A
Newsletters / Benefits Communications
  • Reminders / Tips
Social Medial Groups
  • Extended learning
  • Reminders
  • Share stories / Q&A
Tip #1: Follow the 10-20-30 Rule

Most employers use PowerPoint slides to communicate during Open Enrollment. This is fine to do, but you want to make sure you don’t fall into what’s called “death by PowerPoint”.

Aim to meet the benchmark of 10 slides, 20 minutes, and 30-point font. 

Tip #2: REACH Employees
  • Record: You will never get all employees in one place at the same time, but you can ensure they don’t miss out. 
  • Engage: Incorporate polls and prizes.
  • Answer questions: Employees will have questions, so make sure you allow plenty of time to address them.
  • Catch attention: Use visuals, video, and sound to catch attention and keep interest.
  • Humor / Humanize: Use humor and humanize your content to make your presentation both relatable and engaging
While your Communication Calendar should be flexible and adapted throughout the year as communication needs arise, the key is to create a plan and remain committed to incremental education of employees.

Sample Communication Messages and Resources

The following sections are intended to outline possible message flows by plan type and related resources. Don’t be afraid to adapt to your employees’ needs and check out our complete Resource Center and Blog for even more options, including many resources available in Spanish.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Health Savings Account

Commuter Benefits

Visit Our Resource Center for more Information and Materials (Spanish Included!)