Renewals. I've seen them slide across my desk for over a decade. And it took almost that long to realize that in this industry, there’s nothing ‘new’ about them. When we think of the word renewal, we think of an awakening or a recharging. The word evokes feelings of fresh-starts, new life and rejuvenation. And yet, the most common mistake that people make with their employee benefits, is to renew without any real renewal at all! In fact, most employers will buy a benefits plan and, despite their evolving business, never make any changes to it. It is this common, detrimental mistake, that is truly the catalyst behind our mission to rethink benefits.
Here’s the good news: it’s an easy mistake to fix. A Bloom Benefits Group advisor knows the right questions; targeted, purposeful questions that encourage you to (re)think. You may only want to reconsider a single aspect of your plan (a common request for those looking to curb costs). Or, maybe you want to swim in a sea of possibilities (dive in!). Either way, we do what big corporations won't - at renewal, we have meaningful conversations to find out exactly what we don’t know.
“Thinking again can help you generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems. It’s a path to learning more from the people around you and living with fewer regrets." -Adam Grant
In the spirit of entrepreneurship, ask yourself 'Why?'. Why did you buy benefits in the first place? What goals do they help you achieve? Are you using your benefits to attract and retain the best people? And is it working? Or, are you trying to standout in your industry (think: Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For)? Is having happy, healthy employees integral to your business strategy or corporate culture? For some employers, their 'why' is a personal mission to give back to their community. And for others, employee benefits are an obligation or industry requirement (and that's ok too).
Today, the reason you need employee benefits might not be the same as when you started. Your business has changed, so it's important to ask yourself if your goals and stategies have changed too. Asking 'WHY?' is the best place to start rethinking your benefits.
Ask WHO + WHAT
Consider your people. WHO are they? Are they happy and healthy? If you’re buying benefits products to ensure happiness & health (and maybe a little productivity too), then those two factors are the best indicator of a successful program. If your answer is no, then it's time ask "Who are these benefits for?". Over time, have the people on the plan changed? If you are lucky to have low turnover, you might find yourself in a new demographic as your staff ages. Technology, the economy and your client-base are just a few of the reasons your staff may evolve over time. As employees change, so do their needs. What are those needs? With thoughtful analysis, and not necessarily increasing costs, we can shift coverage to where it is needed.
Surprisingly, you may already have solutions for employee wellbeing in place. The uptake on Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) is low; approximately only 3% of employees who have access to an EAP use the mental health services they provide. If you have an EAP in place, ask yourself WHAT you can do to increase utilization, so you and your employees can benefit from the results.
One of the best tools a Bloom Benefits Group advisor has in their arsenal is the Employee Survey. An employee survey allows employers to get a better idea of the needs, and wants, of their employees. It is through surveys that we can find out if current benefits are inadequate, or just under-utilized. When employees don't realize the coverage they currently have, an education session from a Bloom customer service representative provides a simple solution. Renewal is the perfect time to consider employee surveys and education sessions.
If your business has experienced growth, it has likely increased in employee size. Programs that were too expensive, or simply weren't available to your small business may now be an option. When it comes to buying employee benefits, there is power in numbers.
We've talked a lot about your people, but what about your processes? HOW do your benefits work? If everything is running smoothly, great! But if you are having process-related challenges, a renewal is a great time to address them. Perhaps you need to cut down on administration; a simple change in technology might be the answer. Not all insurers are created equally when it comes to technology, if your business is progressive, ask a Bloom advisor to match you with an insurer that is too.
Your business is evolving, and it's important that your employee benefits do too. Even great plan designs need to be overhauled from time to time. At Bloom we know the key - asking the right questions is the best way to successful solutions. Renew and rethink your employee benefits with an advisor today.
Brian Ross, President of Bloom Benefits Group, has over 15 years of experience as a benefits consultant. He gets energized by implementing thoughtful programs, based on real data, to create stronger, more sustainable benefit plans.