Allen Niemynski January 7, 2021 6 min read

Guiding Clients Through Benefits Administration 2021

How to optimize benefits administration plans

In multiple surveys, over half of employees say health coverage is the greatest factor in job satisfaction, and more than three-quarters say the quality and affordability of benefits options influence their engagement and productivity.

Amid the continuing pandemic, employers are navigating a tightrope between providing the benefits—and benefits advice—their employees need and deserve and getting the best return on their benefits investments.  

In the face of these challenges, employers of all sizes will rely more than ever on brokers for expert benefits insight and guidance.  

To help you help them, here’s a framework you can use to advise clients on steps they can take to optimize their benefits plans. 

Use data as your map and compass

While we are all in uncharted territory, the data you and your clients have gathered over the last few years remains your best resource.   

With this data in hand, you’ll be prepared to help clients see and understand what benefits are most important to employees, what channels they use most often to access benefits information, and which programs and features are underutilized and should be either improved or eliminated.  

Armed with this insight, you can work with your clients to design a benefits planning process that works for employees and achieves employers’ participation targets.  

Data insights should guide priorities

Only after you’ve worked with clients to identify and understand key historical data will you be ready to place those insights into the context of the “new abnormal”, and help clients optimize their benefits platforms and processes.  

A great place to start is by benchmarking employers’ needs and challenges as they navigate COVID-19. The results from this research can be used to provide employers with peer-based perspectives to help inform and support their benefits decision-making.  

Building the benefits blueprint one question at a time

Getting clients to think carefully about their benefits administration wants and needs is an area where your expertise really shines.   

They need you to be the calm center of their daily storm of challenges,  and they need your advice on how to build the best possible mix of benefits options.  

The COVID-19 crisis is magnifying these challenges and changing what benefits  employees need at an incredible speed. Employee benefits needs are changing too quickly for your clients’ benefits teams to keep up with it all. They hope you have the answers to their questions, but they absolutely need you to help them find the RIGHT questions to ask in the first place.  

Also worth re-emphasizing, part of your job is to keep pulling them back to data-driven decision-making. Once you and the client are satisfied that you understand their priorities and what they mean for their benefits strategy, you’ll be ready to narrow down your tech and benefits administration recommendations to those that match up with their top priorities.

Next steps

COVID-19 is putting unprecedented strain on your clients’ HR and Benefits teams. As a trusted adviser, they are relying on your insights and advice more than ever before. 

 This means you must be able to rely on your tech and admin service partners to help simplify complex problems, customize and integrate solutions for each of your clients, and provide you and your team with unparalleled and dedicated expert support. 

 In July 2020, benefitexpress partnered with Employee Benefit News to help brokers understand employers’ needs and challenges as they navigate COVID-19.

Almost three quarters of respondents stated they were looking to switch/invest in benefits administration technology over the next 12-18 months.

Based on our findings we expect 2021 to be a busy evaluation year. Start having these conversations with your clients now and let us know where we can help.

Looking for more of the trends and stats behind this topic? Our white paper includes many more tips about how to optimize your clients’ benefits administration plans in 2021. Download our white paper today!