To me, the worst thing about August is that it pretty much gets skipped right over. By now, people are tired of the heat and are craving the relief of the crisp fall air and their cozy sweaters. Believe it or not, I’ve already seen Halloween decorations decking the shelves of my local grocery store. And with fall comes that seasonal staple you either love to love or love to hate—that’s right, the pumpkin spice latte.
So while summer dwindles to a close and everyone looks ahead to their perfectly spicy and warm autumn beverage, let’s see what the PSL can teach us about the busy health benefits season, also just around the bend.
I thought I might be jumping the gun here with this post, but this first point proves that it actually may be the perfect time to discuss. Just like the pumpkin spice latte is dreamed of for months before its arrival, you want to create the same sense of anticipation around health benefits season.
Benefits communications shouldn’t just be handed out at the time of enrollment. There should be pre-communication to get your employees looking ahead to prepare for enrollment. Highlight the good and the new during this time to remind employees that benefits season isn’t always about bad change or confusion, which they may have come to expect. Get your employees looking forward to this opportunity to learn more about their health benefits.
As the summer passed by, you spent your days conducting off-cycle meetings and research about your clients’ needs. Use what you’ve found to make them look forward to your benefits planning meeting. Reach out to let them know you’re excited to show them the solutions you’ve found. Clients want to hear you’ve been thinking about them and their specific issues. Encouraging them to look forward to your meeting can make the entire experience more positive. And if you can’t bring good news, which we know happens, bring them options…which brings me to our next point:
If the pumpkin spice latte has taught us anything over the past decade, its that anything can be pumpkin spice latte-d. Coffee, tea, cookies, cream cheese, alcohol, Jell-O, cereal, yogurt, peanut butter…you name it and someone has probably created a pumpkin spice version of it. How does this relate to health benefits?
Employees like options when it comes to benefits. There are several ways to do this. A cafeteria plan allows employees to opt into the benefits they want, like hospital indemnity or an HSA. Some supplemental expense reimbursed insured plans allow you to customize coverage by offering different coverage levels to different employee groups, providing another way to offer versatile benefits.
Similarly, your clients don’t want you to walk in with one option of one benefits structure. Bring them different options of how to layer their benefits structures to meet different goals. If the client doesn’t like one idea, have another one ready to present to them. To be able to bring in these different options to your benefits meetings, you have to have versatile options and innovative plans in your portfolio, so make sure you’re on the lookout for these types of tools now!
Pumpkin spice lattes are a classic. No matter how many you had last year, there they are again at the top of your fall to-do list.
The way an employer can become timeless is to place high value on health benefits in the first place—so if you acknowledge the importance of these benefits you may be halfway there already! Realize that another company can always offer your employees more money than you, but great health benefits are few and far between. Understand that a company can’t perform without the health of its people. And see that trendy benefits like ping pong breakrooms or free lunch may come and go, but health in itself is timeless, so supporting employee health as a top priority can make the company timeless as well.
The health benefits industry has faced a lot of change in recent years,which has altered benefits offerings greatly. But one thing that can never be erased or reformed is a consultant’s advice. Brokers are the ones to guide clients through the ever-changing landscape. If you remain on top of the industry news, listen to your clients’ needs and actively advise and solve problems, you can be as timeless as a pumpkin spice latte, even amongst change.