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6 Reasons Why You Should Roll Out New Benefits Outside of Your Open Enrollment Period

Considering rolling out mental health benefits in your organization? Learn about the 6 benefits of offering off-cycle enrollment.

In today's challenging recruitment environment and economic uncertainty, employee benefits are increasingly important in recruiting and retaining employees. However, employers who fail to make effective changes quickly could lose valued employees to rapid turnover. Over half of the U.S. workforce is experiencing some form of burnout

When asked in a survey why they intend to stay at their organization for at least the following year, the number one reason cited by employees was, "The benefits I receive here meet my needs." Yet, most companies only update employer-sponsored health benefits in Q4 during the typical open enrollment period.

While open enrollment is traditionally the most common time to introduce new benefits, it may not be the most effective time to encourage the adoption of new offerings. Sometimes, it might be too long a wait for employees. 

Off-cycle benefit rollout  allows employers to make changes outside the traditional open enrollment timeframe, improving employees' health care experience and saving your organization money.

Here are the benefits of off-cycle benefit rollout  and everything you need to know.

What Is Off-Cycle Benefit Rollout ?

Just like it sounds, off-cycle benefit rollout is when an employer decides to provide new health care offerings outside of the typical open enrollment window. There are various reasons why employers may wish to move their benefit offerings. 

Some companies hope to assist employees with new options sooner, while others might want to take advantage of a less busy time of year. An organization that chooses an off-cycle rollout period to introduce new benefits may maintain the off-cycle schedule each year or match yearly renewals after new benefits are adopted.

Benefits of Off-Cycle Benefit Rollout 

Since organizations are accustomed to traditional open enrollment periods, the concept of off-cycle benefit rollout might seem inconvenient. However, the end of the year is usually a hectic time for businesses. Choosing an off-cycle period can put employers and employees in a better position to make important choices about the healthcare benefits that will offer the most improvement. 

Consider these advantages of off-cycle open enrollment for new health care and mental health benefits

Longer Information Cycles

When offering new benefits to employees, it's important to use measurable data to determine what your employees want most from their health benefits. However, the process can be rushed when such offerings are crammed in with typical re-enrollment requirements. 

Off-cycle enrollment has the opportunity to be much longer, less rushed, and more intentional in meeting employees' needs. Employers can answer employees' questions and get feedback ahead of re-emphasizing the new benefits in the next Open Enrollment cycle..

Better Data-Informed Decisions

When employees were asked about how their employer collects feedback about their benefits program, 55% of employees reported there is no known formal feedback process in place. Meanwhile, employers say they have difficulty keeping track of employee satisfaction with mental health benefits (71%) and employee feedback on benefits overall (69%). 

Without accurate feedback, benefits are less likely to be used. This could be why fewer than one in three employees who enrolled in any mental health benefits feel that it meets their needs.

Off-cycle rollout allows employers to gather more data during a less stressful time.  As a result, you can better understand where things sit within the organization to tailor options to the current needs of your employees. 

For example, Modern Health's Insights Hub provides employers with on-demand access to key metrics on their organization's health and well-being, areas of need, and utilization of benefits. With this information, employers can better understand the most valuable programs for employees.

Enhanced Employee Engagement

The end of the year isn't only busy for businesses. Employees facing the holiday season, the busy end of the year, and open enrollment can be too stressed and anxious to consider new benefits. 

Off-cycle enrollment can be at the time of your choosing. As such, registration can be during a much quieter time of the year when employees are less likely to feel rushed and can learn more about their options. The option was a success for Remote, who rolled out Modern Health outside of the traditional open enrollment period and saw more than 74% registrations. Similarly, Hopin rolled out Modern Health benefits during Mental Health Awareness and reached a 35% engagement rate within the first four months.

New Benefits Can Prevent Financial Stress

Findings from the 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey revealed that 41% of full-time employees live paycheck to paycheck. The number jumps to 57% for employees in fair to poor health. More concerningly, employees living paycheck to paycheck are 48% more inclined to avoid or delay medical care.

In fact, two in five employees delayed care in the last year, with a quarter citing cost as the reason. Off-cycle open enrollment can give employees access to new benefits promptly, potentially helping them to avoid going into debt for services they need. 

Better Deals on the Benefits

Open enrollment is a busy time of year for healthcare companies. It's also a time of high demand. When you choose off-cycle benefit rollout, you won't be searching for benefits simultaneously as everyone else. 

As a result, you may be able to negotiate discounts . Furthermore, benefits providers will have more time to be attentive to you and help you meet your enrollment goals.

Increased Value of Your Total Benefits Package

When traditional enrollment is taking place, employees can concentrate on what is important and evaluate other benefits at a more convenient time. Additionally, global employers may evaluate their benefits at different times. 

Therefore, going off-cycle may align better with a global workforce. As a result, new services are more likely to be adopted.

Off-Cycle Benefit Rollout  With Modern Health

Research shows that 79% of employees are likelier to stay at a company that provides high-quality mental health care services. From previously mentioned research, employers recognize the importance of such advantages as 84% plan to increase/enhance employee mental health benefits in the next year. 

Modern Health offers mental health benefits with various diverse care options to engage and support people across the globe.  

Programs include:

  • Clinical therapy
  • Specialized coaching
  • Digital resources
  • Circles: Community sessions
  • EAP services, including 24/7 counselor phone line, onsite crisis support, work/life services, manager supervisory services

Adding Modern Health off-cycle allows your employees to access high-quality, easily accessible mental health benefits, including culturally centered care, when the need has never been greater. Mental health benefits are most utilized after ones for physical health. 

When those benefits meet the needs of employees, adoption rates increase, and organizations recognize a higher ROI. Request a demo to learn more about supplying your employees with high-quality mental health services during an enrollment period that best meets your needs.

Modern Health

Modern Health is the comprehensive mental wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, self-service wellness kits, an international network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists available in 35 languages all in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.