From the March 2012 issue of Benefits Selling Magazine • Subscribe!

How to work with the right enrollment firm

Enrollment firms provide the expertise needed to steer your employees toward the benefits that are the most cost effective, while simultaneously increasing employee engagement through an understanding of the totality of your benefits plan. A firm that understands your needs and the needs of your employees can help you blast through your benefits performance metrics.

So how do you find that firm? Think of it like finding a long-term companion.

Plan for a long-term relationship. First, determine what attributes are most important to you in the businesses you work with. Is it looks? The enrollment firm should present a professional, modern and interesting aesthetic with its communications material and personnel. Is it brains? The enrollment firm should have a firm grasp on the benefits offerings from your carriers. Is it empathy? The enrollment firm should be interested in making sure your employees get the information they need to make informed, beneficial decisions.

Let them talk. Enrollment firms should talk about what kind of enrollers they hire. In addition to being licensed producers, they are ultimately the ambassadors of your benefits plan, and should share the basic principles of your company. If they don’t reflect your company’s values, they won’t be successful with your employees. Ask them about their enroller training programs, and their philosophy behind enrollments.

See if they’re interested. They shouldn’t be doing all the talking. You want an enrollment firm to ask you about the unique situation your company is in. They need to know your benefits objectives (increased retention, cost savings, implement plan changes, etc.) and priorities. They need to know your employees (demographics, locations, contact methods, communications opportunities, languages spoken, etc.) and their needs.

See if they’re paying attention. Based on what you’ve shared, toss out a few hypothetical but feasible situations that match your needs. Can they offer multilingual enrollers? Do they communicate with employees through more than just posters on the break room wall? How would they communicate a plan change that increases costs on employees?

Ultimately, you don’t want an enrollment firm to come in unprepared, perform the enrollment, and exit. That’s a scenario that isn’t good for you or your employees. You’re looking for a firm that will help you meet your goals, onboard your new hires with select benefits, and provide ongoing customer service. Your business should go to an enrollment firm that is committed to the long-term education and success of your employees—and your plan.

About the Author
Lydia Jilek

Lydia Jilek

Lydia Jilek is the head of voluntary benefits and strategy for ING U.S. Insurance’s employee benefits business, overseeing the overall voluntary benefits strategy. She can be reached at lydia.jilek@us.ing.com.

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