Too Many Benefits?

As a business is there such thing as too many benefits for your employees? Coming from a benefits company of course we would say no there isn’t. From an employee perspective, the answer would lean more towards yes there is to many benefits.

Reasons

The reason why employees think that there are too many benefits is that they are confusing. The average employee doesn’t know when to use an accident plan vs a short-term disability. Or why they would want to pay for group life insurance when they could get it on their own.

Lack of teaching employees the benefits is not the businesses fault. The human resources as amazing as they maybe they aren’t licensed in almost all the situations for benefits. It should be the company offering the benefits that takes the time to explain what they are, how they work, and what to do if they have a question. Adding benefits should not be another nightmare for the owner it should be an opportunity to attract higher skilled employees and retain the best employees.

For benefit companies, we want to provide the most to reach to every employee so that they don’t feel left out. Therefore, there is never too many benefits. Benefit companies love to provide the basics, but are itching for opportunities to connect the local community to the business. Discount programs is one that is rarely utilized but can be very helpful to the employees. Partnering with other businesses to provide your employees to reduce their bills, improve themselves, or treat to something special is meaning full and should not be overlooked.

Focus

As you run your business it is important to focus on building, sales, and margins. But in the long run your employees are your best customers. Take care of them and they will be showing everyone they know the business you are trying to grow. There can be too many benefits, and there can be not enough benefits for your company it is a matter of choosing what is best for you and being able to choose a company that is willing to walk you through that process. Look around and you will find one.

As a side note there are benefit companies that specialize in specific parts of the benefits package. So, don’t be closed to them, because they may be the best connection to all your other resources.

Employees

If you have noticed that your employer has either too many or too few benefits for your taste the simplest way is to bring it up to them.  They may be juggling many things and are not thinking about it at that time.  Maybe take some ideas with you on how you could or would change them.

Having worked for a number of employers they all take the opportunity to listen, and have even gone further when I have brought ideas and wanted to be the one to do the work for it.  Try it out and see what you think.  The worst that would happen is that they say they don’t have time now to think about it.  Even in that case when the time does come you will be the first person to be though of.

Benefits Managers

It is fascinating just how much the world changes.  Day in and day out things change.  We may not see them as big or very relevant at that point. But they find a way into your life.  Looking back a little more than 7 years and our phones were just getting apps we could check email on wifi.  Now just see what you can do with your phones now.

Learn New Or Keep Old

As small business owners there is constant struggle for maintaining your benefits.  Do you keep your old ones because of the fear of having to start over?  Do you learn about new ones to keep up to date with the latest and greatest?  These seem to be very different ideas from each other.

Learning new things can be difficult, time consuming, and even distracting for you.  But it means that you are all the more involved in what is going on in your business.  Believe me the employees will notice when you are involved.

Keeping the old benefits will take much less time off your hands.  It will be more familiar for your employees as the open enrollment period comes about.

A Possible Alternative

For you there is an opportunity for an alternative solution.  This would be to meet in the middle.  This alternative would allow you to stay on top new and exciting opportunities/improvements to your benefits.  It would also allow you to see opportunities for developing what is familiar to you and your employees.  Many times carriers will update their policies and programs that go with the policies.  Unless asked about then the new improvements and additions will not be added or even talked about much of the time.

How To Get To Middle Ground

At this point you may be asking well how do I get to this middle ground.  How do you stay on top of the new yet keep ahold of the old. The simplest solution is to get a benefits manager.

What do you need to know about benefits managers?

First, is that a good benefits manager should be willing and able to do all the work for you.  You should not need to hire a new human resources person in order to add a benefit to your employees.  They should meet with the employees and help them understand all of their options.  As part of this the benefits manager should be a fiduciary to the employer and employee.

Second,  they should have a plan to keep you in the loop about your benefits.  You as an employer should expect at least three touches through out the year outside of daily account activity.  What to talk about with your benefits advisor is a whole nother topic that you will be able to learn about.

Third, they should always be willing to research and learn about something that you have heard about or have seen in your travels and business building.  Whether you hear it at a conference or in an email it is always good to open start a conversation with them.

Last, benefits advisors at this time should not ask for any additional compensation.  The advisors work directly with the carriers and businesses involved with your benefits.  This means they will be paid by other means opposed to your business.  As a side note a great majority have your best interests in mind.

Finding the middle ground can be difficult but find yourself an amazing benefit manager and you will not regret your decision.

Independent And Dependent Agents

Have you ever thought why you have always been able to be quoted prices on multiple companies?  Why some people you talk to can’t sell more than one company?  Well I am here to teach you that there are 2 types of sales agents out there.  Not including whether they are ethical or if they know what they are doing those can be weeded out and fixed.  What I am talking about is the independent and dependent agents.

Dependent Agent

The dependent agent is one who may be able to quote you many companies but would only be able to sell you one specific company.  This means that they are tied to a company.  This has both good and bad for these sales agents.  Those that are dependent on one company have better and more access to this one company.  They may have exclusive rights to sell certain products that are not available to those that aren’t.  That is why these sales agents may be more proficient in what they are trying to sell you.  Which is good to be knowledgeable when selling.

Another advantage for the sales agents that are dependent is that they are able to have additional bonuses. The company they represent want their product sold so they will go to additional lengths to keep those agents that sell only their product.  They will offer additional bonuses, trips and even more on each product sold.

One of the main setbacks of a dependent sales agent is that they can only sell the one product so if there may be a comparable product that a client would want the agent would not be able to sell that product.  This is where the independent agent fits into the picture.

Independent Agent

The independent sales agent has their hands in many companies and has tools to be able to quote from.  As with the dependent agent there are goods and bads for an independent agent

For the independent agent the greatest good and greatest bad come from the same source.  The ability to have access to many products.  The good is just that, but the bad comes from the lack of knowledge about each and every product.  What most sales agents in this case will do is learn from each provider what the best product is that they can offer as agents and will add that to their knowledge.

Another good of a independent sales agent is that they do have access to many different products.  They are normally able to customize the product to your needs.  The independent agent tends to have more of a needs based approach with their clients.

Each of these agents strive for the best for their clients.  With all outside factors being equal you should feel comfortable in either situation.  Let me know your thoughts on dependent and independent agents by commenting below.