Choosing the Right Employee Benefits Consultant
Your organization needs an effective benefits strategy to attract top talent in today’s competitive market. The best way to approach your benefits strategy is to work with a benefits agency that understands the changing trends in benefits and new hire expectations. Benefits consultants also help reduce costs associated with benefits implementation and management while improving the health and welfare of your workforce. Here we offer the ultimate guide in selecting a benefits agency in 2023.
Three Reasons Companies Choose the Wrong Benefits Agency
Before we begin, understanding the most common reasons many organizations end up with the wrong broker can help. Here are three reasons you might fail in choosing the right benefits partner:
- You don’t understand the skills and services a good benefits consultant should bring to the table
- You don’t take time to compare what the benefits broker offers to your needs
- Feeling your current benefits partner is “good enough” despite changing trends in technology, benefit preferences, and recruitment trends to attract top talent
Failing to address these three critical issues will interfere with your chances of finding the right fit for your organization.
What is the Best Time to Start a Benefits Broker Search?
The more time you give yourself ahead of renewal, the more likely you’ll make the right decision for your benefits consultant. Check your benefits plan renewal date so you can start the process with enough time to research your options. If you have an employee benefits agency, ask them what new services are available for their next renewal process. They should be able to tell you, or at least give you a date the information is available. It also raises red flags you are shopping around, so they consider how they can improve their offering.
At Paypro, we encourage organizations to begin 3 to 6 months ahead of benefits renewal. We believe it’s valuable to be on the longer end, so any new potential consultant has adequate time to evaluate the current plan, then design and benchmark new plans appropriately, while simultaneously establishing logistics such as data feeds and reports.
Cultivate a List of Candidates
It all begins with a list of three to six candidates you wish to interview. The main considerations when conducting your search include the following:
- Are they familiar with your state regulations and benefits compliance needs?
- Do they have experience in your industry?
- Do they have the team to provide the level of service you expect?
- Do they have expertise in complementary workforce management services?
- Are they technically advanced with self-serve software?
- Do they have the proper licenses and liability coverage?
- What other areas of expertise set them apart, such as white glove administration, HR support, workforce automation to conduct benefits-related manual tasks, employee engagement, etc.?
Review each candidate’s website to determine if they meet your criteria, and then set up consultations to discuss their capabilities. Compare the candidates based on the above details and anything else you deem relevant to your search. Don’t forget to let your current partner toss their hat in the ring. If you fail to find suitable candidates, continue your search.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP allows you to provide a detailed explanation of your benefits needs. Each candidate then responds to your RFP, describing why they are the best candidate to fulfill your needs. Whether you’ve narrowed down your candidates to a few or feel you want to learn more about all the candidates you interview, the RFP is the best tool to help decide whether a broker is suitable. The RFP process includes the following:
- Cover Letter: Explain who you are and why you need a employee benefits partner, and provide your contact information.
- Broker Overview: Detailed information about the consultatnt, including their structure, team experience, fees, licensing, and errors and omissions coverage.
- Employer Service Model: Overview of their service model and how their team will interact with your company as they design, implement, and manage your benefits program.
- Employee Services: The level of support they offer employees once the program is deployed, such as self-serve options, white-glove administration, support through the claims process, etc.
- Health Plan Cost Control: The tools and analytics that improve their capabilities and help control the cost of implementation and benefits provision.
- Wellness: Their knowledge in the wellness arena and the USP for improving employee engagement and well-being.
- Compliance: Compliance with all applicable regulations, including but not limited to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), HIPAA, ERISA, Privacy rules, COBRA or other regulatory requirements at the state and federal levels.
- Complementary HR Systems and Support: The tools and services offered to streamline your HR processes, such as HR software to help manage benefits administration and other HR tasks.
- Enrollment and Employee Services: How do their enrollment process and benefits management improve the user experience?
Once you review the RFP submissions, you can decide what agencies you wish to interview before making your final decision. This is your last chance to ask follow-up questions based on their RFP responses. You can then review all the information provided by the finalists and make your selection for your partner agreement.
Your benefits require a personalized approach to design a benefits plan aligned with your HR strategy, budget, and organizational goals. Following these guidelines will help you find the best benefits agency for 2023.
About the Author
Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.