Just like football season comes this time every year, so does the busy benefits season. And for you, both brokers and employers, that means it’s go-time. Get your game face on, and get out there team!
But before you jump into play, let’s discuss 2 unique tips that can get you ready to perform at your best.
Off-cycle meeting time has passed, and now it’s time to help clients address their benefits needs.
Sometimes when you go into these meetings, an employer will tell you what they are unhappy with and you present a solution. Though there is nothing wrong with this type of client meeting, it is a reactive approach.
While it’s easy to be caught off guard by a client’s change in decision, it’s important to remember that you are the quarterback, the catalyst who directs the plays. It’s okay to use a proactive approach. Take what you’ve learned in your off-cycle meetings, and put together plans ahead of time. Your clients will appreciate the level of thought and preparation you have put into their dilemmas. This builds trust and solidifies your standing as their benefits guide and expert.
It’s true, some level of reactive planning will always be necessary, like when a client presents you with new information or decides something you had not discussed before. But it is always better to have a plan going in.
For you, benefits season can also bring the fielding of employee complaints regarding their degraded or changed benefits plans. But there are a few things that can help dispel some of that discontentment.
Your broker will hopefully come into your benefits meeting with an understanding of what you are looking for in the upcoming year in terms of your benefits. And you are there to present any new information. The missing party is, of course, your employees.
Consider bringing them into the play ahead of time. Give them a poll on what benefits they find most important. Perhaps they give something more weight than you would have imagined. Maybe even have an open company discussion to show them that they, too, have a say.
The reasoning here is that even if something must be changed or downgraded, you may be able to add or upgrade another benefit of value to your employees. But you’ll never know if you don’t ask. People also tend to support what they helped create!
Even if you don’t conduct a poll or have a company discussion ahead of time, there are other ways to diffuse confusion and dissatisfaction. Benefits communications are often complicated and cumbersome. Work to help your employees understand their benefits offerings so they are confident in their choices and know how to use their plans.
Hold Lunch and Learn’s where you break down the changes and walk through different options. Maybe even offer one-on-one advisement sessions. If a plan has been degraded, make sure your employees understand the new limitations of their coverage so they don’t think they have more protection than they do and end up in a difficult situation. If you’re offering new worksite voluntary or other supplemental plans, make sure your employees understand these new offerings, too.
Lacking benefits communications is a major source of benefits dissatisfaction, so don’t just throw employees into the game. Give them the tools and designated time to understand. They are big players in benefits busy season too and need your help to make it through!