Employee Benefits

Open Enrollment Communication Doesn’t Cut It For Employees

Employees want to know what their benefits are throughout the year

A new report from LegalShield reveals that offering a diverse benefits portfolio is not enough—employers must take the additional step of ensuring awareness and demonstrating relevance. Download the complete report here.

ADA, Okla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today’s employees want more control over their benefits packages, with ongoing communication and education to make informed decisions that cater to their unique needs and those of their families. Unfortunately, a recent report found that employees spend only 18 minutes enrolling in their benefits, risking missed opportunities for valuable benefits that improve their overall well-being. Comprehensive benefits education is crucial for financial, physical, and emotional health.

New data from LegalShield shows that 81% of employees would welcome ongoing communication about their benefits throughout the year, with 47% feeling unprepared to make informed decision about enrollment choices during Open Enrollment. The survey also revealed that non-traditional voluntary benefits, like legal and identity theft protection, are in demand. Of the respondents, 42% had legal matters in 2022, with 68% interested in enrolling in a legal benefit plan. Furthermore, 60% of employees had been subjected to identity theft attempts, with 51% interested in identity theft protection benefits. Employers who listen to their employees’ needs and provide ongoing communication and education about benefits can empower them to make informed decisions, while non-traditional voluntary benefits can attract and retain top talent.

“The norm in today’s world is to be constantly connected and have access to information. Employers must communicate employee benefits in a relevant and timely manner to keep their workforce informed and help them make decisions that align with their needs,” said Emily B. Rose, LegalShield’s SVP of Broker & Partnership Sales. “Regular benefit communication ensures employees are aware of their options.”

Insights from LegalShield’s Benefit Enrollment Experience Survey

LegalShield surveyed over 800 adults with full-time jobs and access to benefits through their workplace to gain insight into their:

1.) Level of awareness and comprehension of their voluntary benefits at time of election

2.) Receptivity to benefit communications and education activities throughout the year in addition to the annual open enrollment period

3.) Consideration of voluntary legal and identify theft protection benefits

These survey results can help employers understand the current state of employees’ knowledge of their voluntary benefits and consider more comprehensive communication strategies, boost voluntary benefits enrollment, and ultimately increase employee engagement and retention.

Many Employees Don’t Know If Certain Benefits Are Offered At Their Workplace

When asked if their employer offered a legal assistance and/or identity theft protection plan within their benefit options, nearly one in three people did not know.

  • 27 % don’t know if company offers a legal plan
  • 31% don’t know if company offers identity theft protection
  • 52% of employees felt they didn’t receive sufficient information during open enrollment
  • 47% of employees don’t feel prepared to make informed decisions about enrollment choices

Even when employees know a particular benefit is offered, they often lack sufficient understanding to make confident, well-informed enrollment decisions

Employers must communicate employee benefits in a relevant and timely manner to keep their workforce informed and help them make decisions that align with their needs...

According to the findings, more than half of respondents (52%) stated they didn’t receive sufficient information during open enrollment. Additionally, almost half of employees surveyed (47%) reported feeling unprepared to make informed decisions about enrolling in the offered benefits.

These results suggest a significant lack of awareness about key features and coverages provided through their benefit plans, often leading to uninformed selections and lower participation. When employees understand their benefits, they are more likely to enroll.

Most Employees Would Welcome Information About Their Benefits Throughout The Year To Supplement Open Enrollment Communications

When asked if they would like information throughout the year about their employee benefit options and how specific plans can assist with major issues of the moment (e.g., student debt, data breaches, debt collection), 81% answered “yes.”

Where is the gap?

The LegalShield survey highlights a critical gap in employee awareness of their workplace benefits, their fundamental value, and relevance to daily life. HR managers and benefits specialists who prioritize strategic communication around voluntary benefits will be able to increase enrollment, improve the employee experience, and contribute to their overall well-being.

Enrollment Communication Strategies That Maximize Voluntary Benefits’ Potential

1.) Communicate consistently throughout the year—not just during open enrollment

Employers can increase employee awareness and understanding of voluntary benefits by providing relevant information throughout the year. Remember, 81% of survey participants would welcome benefits information delivered throughout the year. Such communications can be very effective if they focus on major issues of the moment and how a particular benefit can help.

2.) Ensure that enrollment platforms provide access to additional educational resources

Many benefit administration and enrollment systems limit the amount and format of information that can be provided about a particular benefit in order to create standardization and consistent navigation. An understandable objective. However, employee learning can be inhibited as an unintended consequence. As such, when possible, enable links to more comprehensive educational content from the product provider (videos, informational websites, virtual fliers, webinars etc.). The days or weeks preceding Open Enrollment are an excellent time to present information to employees about new or unfamiliar benefits so that they are equipped to make informed enrollment decisions when the time comes.

3.) Encourage employee attendance at benefit meetings—live or virtual— for enhanced learning

Providers will often support on-site meetings or video conferences to give employees a more interactive and tailored overview of the plan being offered. Such meetings create opportunities for Q&A which greatly enhance understanding and relatability.

4.) Use multiple delivery methods and content formats to reach employees

Using multiple delivery methods and content formats maximizes the chances of reaching and engaging a diverse group of employees with different learning styles and work environments. Employees learn and work in various ways; some prefer reading, while others prefer watching videos or attending in-person or virtual meetings. By offering multiple delivery methods and content formats, employers ensure that the information is accessible and impactful.


A voluntary benefits package is only as good as the communication and education strategies supporting it. Providing employees with access to legal services, financial monitoring, and identity theft protection and restoration, can help alleviate financial and legal difficulties that may be causing anxiety and affecting job performance. Less stress and increased feelings of security can enhance job performance and satisfaction, leading to higher employee retention.