Adversity breeds innovation, as the saying goes, and that certainly applied in 2020.  As I reflect on the year, I’m thankful for a team that took our challenges in stride and used our situation as an opportunity to innovate, grow and move forward regardless.   

When it became clear early this past summer that the pandemic was going to last for a long time, our team started contingency plans for open enrollment. While enrollment seasons in the past involved extensive travel, a blur of hotel rooms, laryngitis brought on by a steady stream of in-person presentations and reams of printed paper that would rival the needs of a FedEx Office location, we needed a better way.  

I could not be prouder of the result. Benefits Engage launched as our new virtual solution to open enrollment. It included on-demand video benefits presentations, digitized benefits guides, a streamlined, paperless enrollment process and a virtual health fair.  

Our ultimate goal was to create an open enrollment experience that kept associates safe, informed and engaged. And the feedback from our clients and their associates has been steady and consistently positive:  

  • I am so excited to enter into the 21st century with benefit elections 
  • The process could not have been easier!  
  • Open enrollment is going better than ever 
  • The only way to manage OE going forward 
  • This just cut out about an hour of our time with new employee orientation!!!! 

As I reflect on these comments, I’m overwhelmed with pride. Some of the most common words sent as feedback were fun, easy, amazing, awesome and excitingthose aren’t words typically associated with employee benefits and the open enrollment process!   

I also recognize the incredible amount of hard work, determination and sacrifice required by our team to make this experience possible. Using adversity as a catalyst, MJ was able to create something that was innovative, memorable and remarkably effective.  

In the not-so-distant future, I hope we will each look back on this time during the pandemic and realize the positive changes we made in all our lives. For me, this has included new opportunities to spend time with my family that wouldn’t have been possible in a “normal” year. I’m personally thankful for UNO cards, backyard family football games, time spent with my kids before school and dinners together as a family. Professionally, I’m thankful for the amazing people I’m lucky enough to work with every day. I’m thankful for the kindness and consideration they have for each other and for our clients. I’m grateful for their willingness to step out of their comfort zone and get the job done from home…usually on a Zoom call. And speaking of Zoom, I’m also thankful for laughter – how is it that we’re still struggling with the mute button?! 

As we head into the new year, I’m more confident than ever that our MJ team has the talent and sense of purpose needed to overcome any adversity. We already proved that with innovation and determination, we can accomplish nearly anything together. So, here’s to a great 2021! 

Happy Holidays!