For many brokers, the breakneck pace of open enrollment season may not evenleave time for doctor appointments or lunch breaks, let alone bigpicture thinking and moments of introspection. I imagine many ofyou taking the time to read this are doing so with bleary eyes andfrazzled nerves. But I recently came across a couple of things thatmight give you a little boost as you battle end-of-the-yearburnout.

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The first is a recent study by the Society for Human ResourceManagement, which provides the latest evidence of the importantrole that benefits play in job recruitment. The report found thatwithin the last year, 38 percent of recruiters had leveragedbenefits to recruit employees at all levels of their organization.That figure is up significantly from 26 percent in 2013.

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And the positive trend carries over to employee retention.One-third of the recruiters surveyed said their company wasplanning to enrich its benefits plan in the hopes ofkeeping workers on board, a big jumpfrom just 18 percent in 2013. With salaries largely stagnant, therole played by benefits is growing more vital every year.

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Which brings us to the second item. According to ConnectHealth,the majority of Americans now believe that choosing a health careplan is more difficult than solving a Rubik's Cube. Of course, itdoesn't help that so many of them aren't even familiar with themost basic industry terms. For example, the survey found thatnearly four in 10 Americans—and nearly half of millennials—areunable to correctly define the term “deductible.” So it's no wonderthings get ugly when they try to go it alone. Americans whopurchase their health insurance online spend an average of 117minutes selecting a plan, while 46 percent spend two hours or more.And when all is said and done, more than one in five say they aredissatisfied with the experience.

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So what would make the process easier? Top answers include acost-comparison tool, a more streamlined, time-efficient processand personalized recommendations based on their financial needs.Or, as ConnectedHealth president Joe Donlan puts it, “Americans areseeking tools to help them cut through the clutter and betterunderstand their health care needs, as well as evaluate those needsagainst their finances to ensure they can afford proper coveragenow and as they plan for the future.”

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Isn't that a pretty accurate description of the role a brokerplays?

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From recruiters and employers to consumers, benefits are clearlymore important than ever. But there is still a huge knowledge gapout there when it comes to education and plan selection. Peopleneed help.

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As you make your way through the end of year craziness, you mayoccasionally be tempted to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Based onthe flood of evidence we see each and every day, the answer is aresounding yes.

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and BenefitsPRO.com. He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.