When was the last time you considered how well your employee benefits broker was performing? In the intense war for talent that we’re now experiencing across industries, you can’t risk overlooking any aspect of recruitment and retention strategy.
Employee benefits are one of your most effective tools to attract top talent and retain the top performers you have. With more open jobs that unemployed people currently in the US, recruiters and executives must do everything possible to keep their organization competitive in the talent marketplace.
The employee benefits broker your business works with plays a large role in how impactful your overall benefits offering in your ability to attract and retain talent. Think through the crucial questions outlined in this post will help you ensure that you’re working with a benefits broker that’s doing the most for your business.
1.Conduct a straightforward costs and benefits analysis
First of all, the amount of money you put into your employee benefits program is no small expense for your company. For most companies, benefits are the second most costly expense, just behind salaries, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). So, it’s a smart decision to enlist a skilled benefits broker to ensure those costs are kept low while driving the maximum value for your business. But you must consider how much value is your current broker providing to your business? And what are the measurable advantages that you can directly correlate back to their services?
The truth is, your broker may be providing subpar services that aren’t getting you the results you want or need (or that are visible to employees). What you need to happen: the money you put into a benefits program is well spent, and you don’t have to continuously worry about what your funds are going toward. You have too much on your plate to have to then keep tabs on your benefits broker, so review your current benefits program and employee satisfaction level to determine if your broker is meeting the mark.
2. Consider the latest technologies: Is your broker keeping up?
Approaches to employee benefits administration continue to be updated based on what’s happening in technology and business intelligence. When was the last time you had a conversation with your benefits broker about how they’re using these advances to push forward your company’s benefits strategy? If this conversation has never been had, or if you feel like your benefits broker isn’t using some of these technologies the way they could, it may be time to find a new employee benefits consultant.
Part of your role in choosing a benefits broker is ensuring that you find someone who not only recognizes the importance of proactive change, but who also incorporates these updates into the way they do business. It should be their responsibility to know what’s hot in the benefits market and what high-quality candidates are looking for, so that they can make effective recommendations to you and your team about offerings and updates. If your employee benefits broker is behind the times, your benefits package will be, too. And if that’s the case, you’ll have a much more difficult time attracting and retaining the best talent.
3. Assess business growth (or lack thereof)
If your organization is growing, chances are you need to make updates to many of the vendors or consultants you work with. Benefits brokers are no exception, as these professionals typically have specialties in regards to the size, industry, and culture of the companies they work with. If your workforce is growing rapidly, it may be time to assess whether a different broker would bring you better results.
When your company changes, it’s always a good idea to take a look at if your benefits broker can still provide the level of services you need. It may be especially smart to look at current and historical growth information and projections around the time when it’s time to think about revamping your employee benefits package for the coming year.
4. You haven’t looked around in a while
It’s of course easy to let consultant-shopping fall by the wayside once you’ve hired someone and have gotten used to working together. But when was the last time you looked around to see what else is out there? Even if you don’t end up hiring a new benefits broker, just taking this step could mean that you will reaffirm your decision in hiring your current broker. You may already have the best, most cost-effective person for the job—but you’ll never know if you don’t keep up with your research. If it’s been more than three years, as the SHRM suggests, start shopping for a new broker now, even if you don’t take any further steps forward beyond exploring your options.
5. Service and communication have been lacking
We’ve all experienced when a vendor just isn’t performing up to par. It can be easy to make excuses for these professionals or to hand out too many second chances, especially if we like the person and really want the business relationship to work out. But, we often end up having to do more work than we should be doing in these instances.
Remember: you’ve hired a benefits broker for a specific job. Really think about if they are providing every required aspect of that job, and ideally going above and beyond what is expected to provide the highest level of service. If you’re having to correct their mistakes, call or email them more than once for a response, or remind them about deadlines or new strategies to try, it’s probably time to call it quits and find a broker who will step up and provide everything you need.
6. Employees aren’t satisfied with the benefits program or with the enrollment process
In today’s candidate-driven job market, employees are often on the lookout for a better position. Even if they’re satisfied with their work, their role, and their company, they are always keeping their eyes open to make sure there isn’t something even better out there. One survey conducted showed that 78% of people are open to new jobs in 2019, and 38% reported to be actively searching for a new role.
Benefits play a large role in employees’ decisions about whether to stay or leave. So how happy are your workers with their current benefits package? You may hear complaints or praise at lunch or in the hall, and that could be helpful information when you’re starting to think about your benefits broker. Or, you may even want to implement a benefits survey where employees will feel encouraged to share what they don’t like or what they’d like added in the near future.
This can be a great way to find out if your benefits broker is getting you the package that includes everything the modern employee wants, from plenty of parental leave to gym memberships to excellent health and dental packages, and more.
But, there’s more to benefits satisfaction than just the benefits themselves—employees also care about the benefits portal and having easy access to benefits information. Assess whether information is readily and easily available to all employees.
What kind of benefits technology does your current broker use? The enrollment process should also be streamlined and simple so that employees aren’t dealing with a big headache once a year to get the benefits they want and need. You need a broker consultant who will use the latest tools to ensure that processes are simple and transparent for your employees.
The person behind your employee benefits package and process has a lot of influence on employee satisfaction and your ability to attract high-quality candidates. When you’re assessing whether it’s time to find a new benefits broker, consider:
- If the costs versus benefits are aligned
- If your broker is keeping up with the latest trends and technologies
- If your organization has grown significantly and may have new needs that your current broker can’t provide
- If it’s been more than three years since you shopped around
- If your broker’s communication and services haven’t been up to par
- If employees are complaining or aren’t satisfied with their current benefits package
If some of these considerations are true for you and your organization, it may be time to start shopping around for a new employee benefits broker. Remember that before you make a selection, it’s important to list all the ways your previous broker was not meeting expectations so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.