HR Insights


How to Make the Most of Email During Open Enrollment

Posted by Gretchen Knurr on October 3, 2017


It’s no secret that email is the default mode of communication in most companies. When it comes to informing your employees about open enrollment, emailing them is fast, convenient, and ideally, efficient. But how can you make sure your emails are going to actually be read? Just as emails are fast, convenient, and efficient for you to send out, they need to be the same for your employees to read. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of emailing your employees during open enrollment.


Emails need to be relevant and timely, and they also need to require a swift response. If you want a quick response to your emails, you also have to ensure that they do not take a long time to read. A good email will have the following:

1. Compelling subject line

Having a great subject line is key when it comes to your email being opened. Here’s a telling statistic for you: 35 percent of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone. A compelling subject line will describe the email content, create a sense of urgency, and be personalized in some sense. Your subject line should essentially tell your employees, "If you don't open this email, and open it soon, you're going to miss out on something big."

2. Clear call to action

An email to your staff is not a place to dive into multiple paragraphs detailing different things. Save the multi-topic discussions for your staff meeting or company newsletter. You want a response to your email, so keep it simple. The call to action needs to be visible enough that it’s the first or second thing employees notice. Make the type of response you want obvious.

3. White space

No one likes visual clutter in their inbox, so make sure your emails have enough white space to keep them looking fresh. Ample white space allows your employees' brains to interpret, scan and break down the content into easy-to-read pieces. Having sufficient white space incorporated into the body of your email makes it easier (and faster) for employees to identify the call to action.


Answering the call to action should be convenient, taking as little time as possible. One way to achieve this is by including a hyperlink or a clickable button within your email. Not only does this make responding convenient, it also makes the call to action simple and easily identifiable within the email. One special note on including a clickable button: make sure if you do that your emails are mobile optimized, so that employees can respond from their mobile devices.

No matter how much you prepare your employees for OE, inevitably there are going to be a lot of questions that pop up throughout the process. Make sure to assign at least one person who will serve as the point of contact for all incoming emails from employees who have questions and concerns. Utilize one of your emails to let employees know who is the designated benefits communications representative at your company during OE.


Take a little time to edit each of your emails and remove anything that is unnecessary. No one tries to write a lengthy monotonous email, but sometimes it still happens even to the best of writers. Every time you draft an important email to send to your company, schedule in 5-10 minutes of editing time. Remove anything repetitive. You can even draft a coworker to help you with this.

You should have a strategy for your email communication before, during, and after enrollment. This can be a series of emails that encourage employees to take specific actions, with links to the enrollment site and benefit information. This bit of preplanning can take a bit of time, but it is well worth it. By planning ahead, you can ensure that your emails will be efficient throughout the OE season.

What content is critical for your employees to receive before, during, and after OE? Take some time to brainstorm. Start thinking ahead today and strategize what types of emails will be most useful for you to engage with your employees during the OE period.


  1. 7 Super-Simple Ways to Improve Your Open Enrollment Emails in 2017 (Writing Tips for Non-Writers)
  2. 10 Email Tips for Communicating Benefits Open Enrollment
  3. Benefits Communication: 3 Things the Most Effective Emails Do


How to be an HR Rockstar by Promoting the Health of Your Employees | CareATC, Inc.
Gretchen Knurr

About The Author

Gretchen Knurr

After 5 years of working in higher education, Gretchen brings a fresh perspective to research-based content through freelance writing and editing. You can usually find her working in a coffee shop filled with natural light and easy access to a hot cappuccino. When she's not finding new insights into modern HR topics, she is probably hiking in the mountains of Colorado or re-watching The Office. 

Post Topics Benefits & Compensation, Resources for Managers