Helping your clients select benefits packages is not like throwing spaghetti at the wall. You can’t just inundate them with options and hope that some of them stick with their employees. It’s not financially feasible and it won’t set your clients up for success with their employees. Instead, your role as a broker should be as a trusted advisor, helping them discover the right benefits and build a package that best suits their needs.
While this might look different for each individual client, there are a few steps you can take with all of your clients to help them discover the right benefits package that best suits their needs:
- Understand your clients’ financial situations
The way you present benefit options to clients will drastically differ based on their company size, revenue and operational expenditure budget. For large corporations where the benefits budget isn’t an issue, it’s okay to craft a plan that includes Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health insurance. However, for smaller companies looking to preserve their bottom line, or for organizations that don’t have many employees who need coverage, a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA) might be a better way to go.,
The same thought process should be used for coverage items like dental and vision, 401(k) matching, voluntary benefits, and time off policies.
- ...and their priorities
While financial situation is certainly a driver in discovering the right benefits, it’s not the only factor to consider. Take the time to understand your clients’ priorities. For example, if your client’s workforce is majority Millennials and Gen Z, offer options for student loan repayment, telehealth, and volunteer-based benefits. If your client is located in an urban setting, a commuter benefits program might work for them. If a main priority is employee retention, include benefits that have long-term ROI, like matching 401(k) contributions or tiered paid-time-off structures.
Taking their specific needs and priorities into account will help you guide them towards the benefit package that best suits their needs.
- Educate rather than just offer
Rather than telling clients what benefits you think would best suit them, arm them with relevant information they can use to make informed decisions with your guidance. Give them a complete understanding of what options are available and how to apply them to their organization. This requires a little leg work on your part, but it’s an important part of being a trusted benefits advisor. Communicate with your clients often to update them on legislative changes, policy changes, new offerings, and anything else they can apply to their benefits situation.
- Know what’s rising in popularity, and what’s declining
A common miss when putting together benefits suggestions for clients is to only add what is rising in popularity. While that’s helpful for including benefits like employee wellness programs, caregiver benefits, and student loan repayment programs, it doesn’t give a full picture. You also need to look at what’s declining in popularity, so you can help your clients trim back low-enrollment options. This will look different from client to client, but a good place to start is looking at benefits like preventive programs, wellness programs, onsite food services, onsite health screening services, and elective procedure coverage.
- Think outside the box with voluntary benefits
While basic benefits like health insurance are always good to include in suggestions to your clients, thinking outside the box will really help them craft a benefits package that suits all of their needs. Since 70% of employees agree that benefits beyond basic healthcare coverage would be a key consideration point for future job evaluation, you can help your clients get creative with voluntary benefits. Some valuable voluntary benefits programs include student loan repayment programs, caregiver benefits, commuter benefits, telecommuting/flexible work schedules, and tuition reimbursement. Help your clients discover benefits that improve their employees’ lives outside of the workplace as well as in it.
- Utilize technology that makes finding benefits easier
There are some excellent tools and software that makes benefits selection and administration easier for brokers, employers, and participants. For example, the new Clarity Consumer Benefits Renewal Portal is a powerful tool that puts renewal resources and employee engagement materials in the hands of individuals much more easily than with paper. Steer your clients in the direction of technology that can make their benefits experience simpler and more innovative.
Brokers play an essential role in helping clients discover benefits that best suit their needs. Employ these tips the next time you engage your clients to see what difference they can truly make.