How ROI helped Adobe reimagine open enrollment in a year when nothing was normal.

The Show Must Go On

If you work in the U.S., chances are you’re familiar with open enrollment. And if you’re an HR professional in the U.S., then you’re especially aware. That’s because every year open enrollment is the one thing on the HR calendar that can’t be missed. Like Tax Day for accountants, it’s the one event that happens rain or shine—or in the case of 2020, whether a global pandemic strikes.

For many companies, open enrollment is a major undertaking, requiring months of preparation, weeks of outreach, and numerous people to make sure employees understand the latest benefits offerings and make their elections before the enrollment period ends. It’s a massive amount of work that can tie up HR departments for weeks at a time.

Fortunately, open enrollment is one area ROI has lots of experience in. So when Adobe’s benefits team asked us to help them run their campaign last fall, we put on our thinking caps and started innovating.

Adobe Open Enrollment

Thank you, thank you, thank you… To the whole ROI team for bringing our benefit programs to life through your creativity, strategic vision, and true partnership. You have helped us create the story of how Adobe cares for our employees with a meaningful and engaging approach that highlights the Adobe community and our culture.

– Mary Kay Gilhooly, Director, Global Wellbeing

What was needed

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Adobe expressed a desire to reimagine how the company conducted its open enrollment so that more employees would participate. Increasing awareness was especially important because the company was switching to a new benefits platform, which would undoubtedly take getting used to, and there were several big changes coming that the benefits team was excited about, such as expanded cancer support, mental health support, and financial assistance.

But then the pandemic struck and suddenly many of Adobe’s plans had to be shelved. No longer could the company host in-person fairs like it had traditionally done or promote open enrollment in its offices since all the facilities were closed. Instead, everything had to be rethought, reworked, and conducted online. Still, this being open enrollment and all, the show had to go on.

Services provided

Communication strategy and plan

Key messaging

Visual identity

Templates and banners

Training materials & presentations

Full collection of home mailers, articles and other print and digital assets

Full project management and execution

Post-project reporting

Adobe 2021 Open Enrollment email banner
Adobe 2021 Open Enrollment Email Banner

What we did

Fortunately for Adobe, ROI has a ton of experience helping large organizations implement their open enrollment strategies, and we had already worked with Adobe’s benefits team on previous campaigns. But now we were being asked to take on a much larger role, and in a year when nothing was normal.

Knowing things would have to be different due to the pandemic, the first thing we did was pull together a team of people to brainstorm ways to reach employees using every resource available. No idea was too bold, and from that initial discussion a new plan arose, including an online chat show in which the benefits team shared their own personal benefits stories and explained the latest changes, which turned out to be a massive hit.

From there, we then coordinated every aspect of the campaign, developing strategic communication plans, creating home mailers, writing numerous emails and articles, conducting surveys, and even designing the set for the chat show. On top of that we also conceived the theme of the campaign and made sure the message connected to the topics employees would be most interested in. Titled, “It’s your life … live it well,” the theme became the campaign’s backbone, highlighting many of the benefits that would be useful to employees during a time when so much of their attention was on their health and well-being.

Reimagine Meeting with the Adobe team, January 2020
A key to our success is always solid planning that gives us the structure to quickly pivot when needed

How it turned out

The 2021 campaign was a monster success. Roughly 75 percent of enrollees attended the new open enrollment chat show—a viewership that would make the major TV networks envious—and nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said the amount of information they received was just right, an increase of four points over the previous year, a big achievement considering all the limitations the pandemic created in reaching them.

Open enrollment and benefits web page views were also up a whopping 30 percent at Adobe, and most significant of all, actual enrollment increased nearly 10 percent, proving once and for all that when it comes to open enrollment, there’s no limit to the amount of innovating you can do. You just have to be willing to think big and have the right partners, because the show must always go on.

Digital, print and event materials made this campaign come to life

The team that made it happen

Janice Smith Collins ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Janice Smith Collins

Senior Vice President

Stacy Cintas ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Stacy Cintas

Senior Consultant

Jennie Ivory ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Jennie Ivory

Senior Consultant

Michael Lynberg ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Michael Lynberg

Vice President

Beth Miller Thiel ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Beth Miller Thiel

Vice President, Account Manager

Linda Pederson ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Linda Pederson

Vice President, Strategist

Denise Rotman ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Denise Rotman

Senior Creative Strategist

Mark Briggs ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Mark Briggs

Senior Graphic Designer