What is the most important factor to your company’s success? Many argue that it’s your employees. Without exceptional employees, it’s nearly impossible to have an exceptional business.
If your employees are so vital to your business, it’s obviously important to treat them well. Your company’s benefits are an important factor in employee satisfaction. So, if you want satisfied employees, it’s imperative your benefits plan meets their needs.
Enter a benefits consultant. Unlike a typical insurance broker or salesperson, a benefits consultant transcends transactional interactions.
An actual benefits consultant works to build relationships and improve your bottom line through strategic benefits implementation.
But how do you know when a person or agency is, in fact, a consultant? Here are five qualities to look for in a benefits consultant.
The first thing your benefits consultant needs to be is knowledgeable. Benefits consultants need to understand the ins and outs of the benefits world in relatively great detail.
Compliance, the health marketplace, and risk & disease management are all topics your consultant should know. Additionally, the benefits industry is full of laws, regulations, and minute details your consultant has to be aware of.
If you or your benefits consultant don’t understand these, there could be serious consequences. A lack of understanding may result in penalties and fees that could cost your business millions of dollars.
Similarly, to maximize the effectiveness of your benefits plan, your consultant has to know how to build and customize a benefits plan for each client.
One of the main differences between a benefits broker and consultant is the type of relationship they have with you (their client). Brokers tend to have transactional relationships. Most of their contact will be around your plan renewal and will taper off, or cease, after that.
Consultants, on the other hand, pursue a more fully-realized relationship. An outstanding consultant should contact you throughout the year, and consistently work to analyze your plan and ensure its success.
So, when looking for a benefits consultant, be sure you find one that is collaborative in nature. The more cooperative your consultant is, the better this relationship will be. And the more likely you are to be satisfied with your benefits policy.
The third quality you want your benefits consultant to have is transparency. Transparency is a key to developing the collaboration between you and your benefits consultant.
Your consultant should be open and honest about both the services they will provide and cost of these services. Honesty is a critical component of any successful relationship. And an essential part of transparency is honesty.
Therefore, a transparent consultant should be an honest one. This honesty is also important because a core function of a benefits consultant is to manage expectations surrounding the benefits plan, for all three parties.
Employers, employees, and carriers all have a particular, and different set of expectations regarding any given benefits policy. A superior consultant will use transparency to manage each of these groups’ expectations and ensure everyone leaves satisfied.
4. Informative and Educational
It’s one thing to have knowledge about a subject matter. It’s an entirely different skill, to be able to teach others about that subject. A key to a good benefits consultant and something that is particularly significant to The Olson Group is education.
An excellent consultant should have the ability to relate difficult concepts to your staff and you, in an easy-to-understand way. Employee understanding is integral to maximizing the effectiveness of your benefits.
A successful benefits consultant can provide the education necessary for your staff to gain this understanding. Similarly, your consultant should have different methods and tools for effectively communicating information to your employees, regarding their benefits plan.
An open and clear channel of communication is integral to a successful employee benefits policy. Because, the more your employees know about their benefits, the more engaged and satisfied they will be, with their plan.
As previously intimated, a real benefits consultant should work collaboratively with you and your business. Part of this collaboration needs to include a level of insight from your consultant.
You should be able to rely upon your consultant as a true business partner, with regards to your employee benefits. An exceptional benefits consultant should:
- Have the ability to connect organizational issues and goals to your benefits plan
- Manage the plan’s performance to stated goals
- Manage project tasks within your employee benefits program
Employee benefits play a role in multiple facets of any organization. Because of this, it’s imperative your consultant is able to think strategically.
Creating a strategic employee benefits plan is paramount for long-term employee benefits success. So, without an insightful consultant, a strategic, long-term benefits plan is difficult to establish.
Choosing an employee benefits consultant to work with is challenging. Look for these five qualities when selecting a provider, and increase your chances of working with a true benefits consultant.
All you have to do is consult this article before picking your consultant.