After wrapping up benefits enrollment for 2017, HR leaders and business owners are now reflecting on the challenges they faced and considering what tools or partners they’ll need to make it easier next time around. This presents brokers with an ideal opportunity to take inventory of potential client issues and think about the best solutions to offer this year.
Many of the brokers I speak with tell me their top concern right now is the regulatory uncertainty that comes with the new administration. While change is inevitable, brokers can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and wait to see how the regulatory environment unfolds. In order to differentiate themselves, they need to take action now to ensure they can provide clients with expertise on all things related to human capital management (HCM).
As benefits selling season ramps up, here are a few value adds to consider as you assess your offerings.
Market benefits to attract millennials.About 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, creating a talent crunch as companies compete for skilled workers among Gen Xers and millennials. According to Unum, more than 87 percent of millennials say benefits play a significant role in their choice of employer and 86 percent say that benefits play a significant role in their decision to stay with their employer. This presents brokers with a unique opportunity to collaborate with clients and develop strategies to market their benefits to attract and retain millennials. By tailoring their marketing and communications to highlight benefits like flexible work hours or tuition reimbursement programs that matter deeply to millennials, your clients will be better equipped to recruit top talent.
Offer self-service options. Employees want a benefits shopping experience that’s as easy as buying the latest best-seller on Amazon. They want to be able to review and select their benefits options on their mobile devices and compare plans and costs in real time. Self-service benefits enrollment frees up HR leaders to be more strategic by reducing in-person meetings with employees and benefits questions via phone.
Ease the compliance burden. The ever-shifting regulatory landscape can be overwhelming to HR teams responsible for compliance with federal requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Affordable Care Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Failure to comply can be costly. According to ADP, the Congressional Budget Office total penalty exposure for employers in 2016 could be as high as $31 billion. To be valued as a true partner, you need to help your clients stay current on the latest regulatory changes and help evaluate their technology and reporting to make sure they’re getting the data they need to meet their compliance obligations. If they’re still using disparate HR, payroll and benefits systems, they may be opening themselves up to increased compliance risk.
If you don’t have the HR and compliance expertise your clients require, it’s time to think about hiring an associate who does or enlisting a third-party. When considering a partner, make sure to thoroughly assess whether they have the tools and resources needed to meet your business objectives and then establish common goals and interests right out of the gate.
HR and business leaders have a lot on their plates. If you can’t help them fill in their HCM gaps, they’ll find someone else who can. By focusing on the areas that matter most to these leaders and collaborating with the right mix of partners, you’ll set yourself up for a successful new year.