As September begins, it marks the sad end of summer. But it also marks the beginning of one of the happiest times of the year – football season. College football has already begun, and the NFL will kick this week. And with the football season comes fantasy football.
Most of you are likely, at least, somewhat familiar with fantasy football. But do you know how this fake game relates to real life? Well, whether you realize it or not, your employee benefits program shares several similarities with fantasy football. In this article, we’ll detail five fantasy football tips that double as great employee benefits advice.
5. You Can’t Win the Year in the 1st Round, but you Can Lose it
One of the top rules for drafting a fantasy football team is you can’t win your league in the first round, but you can lose it. This rule means your first draft choice is simultaneously vital, but not the sole factor of your fantasy football team’s success. This rule, translated to employee benefits, relates specifically to the selection of your health insurance plan.
Health insurance was, is, and likely will continue to be, the essential piece of your employee benefits program. A 2017 MetLife study found 61 percent of employees who said they’re “very satisfied” with their company were satisfied because of their health benefits. A 2018 Gallup survey found similar results.
According to the study, 61 percent of employee’s desire health insurance over any other benefit. This want is largely because both costs of care are increasing, and quality of care is decreasing. Focus on providing affordable, quality health insurance for your employees and you’ll ensure you don’t sink your employee benefits program with a poor “first-round pick.”
4. Depth is Essential
In fantasy football, like in real football, having depth on your roster is imperative to your team’s success. Strange events transpire every year in football, and you don’t want your team to completely fall apart if one or two players’ performances suffer. Similarly, if your employee benefits program consists solely of a health insurance plan, one large rate increase could be disastrous to the value of your benefits program writ large.
So, how do you give your employee benefits more depth? The answer is voluntary, or enhanced, benefits. Voluntary benefits can include lines of coverage such as dental, vision coverage, short and long-term disability, or hospital indemnity. These benefits give employees essential coverage while costing your business either little or nothing.
Plus, employees value these voluntary offerings, especially younger employees. In a 2017 survey, 62 percent of employees under 50 years old wouldn’t even consider taking a job that doesn’t offer voluntary benefits.
3. You Can’t Just Set it and Forget it
Every week in fantasy football represents a unique challenge with different obstacles for each different matchup. You must check every week for injuries, bye weeks, and matchups to optimize the effectiveness of your fantasy football lineup. All these factors mean you can’t just set your lineup on Monday and forget about it until Sunday.
Well, just like a fantasy football lineup, you can’t set an employee benefits program and leave it. You must review your benefits on, at least, an annual basis. But if you want to maximize your benefits, you should review your benefits as frequently as possible. Look for ways to improve your existing benefits or change your benefits options to boost plan performance.
2. Educate Yourself or Lose
Your employee benefits program, like your fantasy football team, is doomed to fail if you don’t invest properly in education. And, just like fantasy football, there are a plethora of sites, apps, and articles you can use to help educate your staff. This education is vital to the success of your benefits plan.
Education is so essential to your plan’s success because many employees simply don’t understand the benefits their employers provide. In 2017, only 52 percent of employees claimed to understand their health benefits. And this understanding plays a significant role in employees’ engagement with their benefits plan.
Research by Unum found there’s a strong, positive connection between the quality of benefits education an employee receives and their perception of their employee benefits package. Not only do these employees value their benefits more, but they also have a more positive perception of their workplace as a whole.
1. Your Main Objective is to Minimize Risk
The main objective of fantasy football is to minimize risk. This objective should be, not-so-coincidentally, the exact same of your employee benefits program. Any quality benefits plan is established to reduce your (the employer’s) risk in the plan, as much as possible. Still, just like in fantasy football, it’s impossible to eliminate all risk in your employee benefits.
So, when building your benefits plan, it’s vital you first determine what your organization’s risk threshold is. Yes, you want a safe and secure plan, but you also want to take safe, cost-effective chances when possible. It’s when you take unnecessary, unforced risks that get you and your company into trouble.
Moving your plan from fully to self-insured is an excellent example of a method to control your firm’s risk. On the surface, it may seem a self-insured plan is riskier. And technically, on their own, a self-funded plan places more of your capital at risk than a fully insured plan. But after stop-loss insurance, and cost-containment strategies, such as a direct contracting, total risk of a self-funded plan is significantly lower than most would initially believe.
Similarly, because self-funded plans are more customizable and face less regulatory, it allows you to provide the best possible insurance plan for your employees. This customization is the most significant advantage of self-insurance and gives you control over a substantial amount of risk. Through these plans, you can eliminate surprise, exorbitant year-to-year rate increases.
As football kicks off this month, keep in mind its shared similarities with your employee benefits program. The goal of this fake game is the same as your real-life benefits plan – minimize risk as much as possible. The more control you maintain over your benefits, the better able you’ll be to match your employees with a benefits program they value.