By Denise Szott
Brokers, now more than ever, need a proactive strategy to help employer clients meet a growing demand for enhanced employee benefits.
To do so, brokers must be ready to leverage their resources. An expanded employee benefits voluntary products portfolio, which may include identity theft protection, financial counseling or casualty coverage, among others, will help them meet their clients’ demands and desire to boost worker satisfaction and retention through attractive, customizable benefits packages.
Industry data shows voluntary product sales have grown every year since 2004, with only one dip after the 2008 recession. Research also shows that 80 percent of employers offer workers four or five voluntary products, with a slightly smaller proportion offering six or more. To meet these increasing demands and save themselves time and effort in expanding a voluntary portfolio, brokers should follow these five guidelines:
1. Offer the best products. Brokers must arm themselves with an understanding of the client, which will help them know which choices to introduce. They must know the overall benefits strategy and how enhanced options fit in. Brokers should look at employer and employee wants and needs. How satisfactory is the current menu of benefits?
2. Gauge understanding. Brokers can gain valuable insight by surveying employees’ knowledge of benefits. If workers don’t fully comprehend what is being offered, measuring the popularity of benefits can be difficult. With information in hand, brokers can use survey results to guide them in follow-up efforts to boost employee understanding and to begin formulating an applicable voluntary portfolio.
3. Assess hierarchy of needs. Understanding the employer’s perspective will help the broker hone a more satisfactory enhanced benefits plan. However, some clients will be unsure what they want or need. An informed broker can lay out tailored options, choosing from their already expanded, flexible lineup of voluntary employee benefits.
4. Apply expertise. Once needs have been assessed, an action plan can be put in motion and the broker can craft a presentation offering specific recommendations. The broker must be able to communicate the advantages of the offerings to the employer and provide assurances that the solution the client buys into will deliver on its promises and not introduce problems. Key elements the broker should cover include: a recap of information gleaned regarding employee participation rates, an analysis of any variance between client data and industry averages, a review of trends and new products, and a general enrollment plan. Together, these will create a targeted plan that incorporates innovative, tailored recommendations that offer enhanced value and impact.
5. Ensure implementation. Communication is key. A well-timed, multipronged approach is most effective for reaching employees without burdening them with information overload. Products don’t sell themselves. Human interaction, educational meetings accompanied by clear, concise print and email communication, along with pain-free opt-in and deployment processes will maximize employee engagement and enrollment.
As companies look for new ways to enhance their compensation packages, brokers must be at the ready with a robust voluntary employee benefits portfolio that employers can offer as elective add-ons to increase employee satisfaction.
For a deeper dive into this subject, check out this white paper, “Growing Your Voluntary Portfolio the Right Way.”