Nowadays job seekers are not simply looking for a decent paycheque. They are looking for a company that caters to all their needs, providing employee benefits that reward them for hard work, going beyond the usual dental and medical, because engaged employees make for a productive workforce.
They are looking for family friendly benefits, more paid time off, mental health benefits, work from home benefits and additional perks and treats. Employers wanting to attract and retain good candidates need to make sure that they are up-to-date with current trends, yet many may not have the time or resources to do this themselves.
This is when an employee benefits provider comes in. Insurance provider IPMG describes an employee benefits provider as a service or broker that helps you navigate the world of employer insurance and benefits, which could include health insurance, medical, paid leave, sick leave, retirement accounts and rewards platforms.
These providers help you understand the options, keeping track of usage and ensuring that your benefits program is compliant with government regulations, which will give you more time to manage other aspects of your business.
It is important that your employee benefits provider is the right fit for your business so we have come up with a few ideas of what to look for when choosing an employee benefits provider.
You may already have attractive benefits in place, but you are wanting to optimise and add to these. You will need to think about whether a new provider will include these current benefits, and whether or not they offer better benefits over and above what you already have.
When considering a new provider make sure that they are able to work with you to come to the best solution to incorporate both your current benefits and future needs. It may be worth doing some research as to what benefits are currently being used, to make sure you know what the must-haves are in a future provider.
When choosing your provider you should be taking a close look as to what features they offer. It is important here to understand what your staff are looking for as part of their employee experience so send out a survey and look for common themes.
Many benefits providers will offer the usual health insurance, paid time off, dental, eye care and retirement, however, some people may also want pet insurance, wellness benefits or rewards and recognition. Make sure your provider caters to all your staff needs before selecting.
Decide also whether you are looking for an off-the-shelf or bespoke product that can be tailored to your needs, whilst considering taking your budget into consideration.
IPMG advises that you ask any potential employee benefits provider what kind of data you’ll be able to access and the type of analytics you will receive, as the more data you have about your program, the more power you have in your choice.
“This type of information can help you make informed choices about your benefits program each year and could even save you money in the future.”
Essentially analytics help management to better understand what benefits are being used more and make adjustments to their plans where necessary.
As part of your research look into how up-to-date the provider’s technology is. According to SHRM your benefits provider should offer decision support tools to help you make informed decisions.
Their technology should be able to adapt and scale to new offerings, equipped to handle necessary volumes and able to accommodate your needs, so also look into how well they automate workflows for administrators.
Employees are used to using intuitive technology in their daily lives, so as part of this technology platforms should offer intuitive interfaces and definitions of terminology they don’t understand, as well as easy-to-use guides.
And naturally, all technology on offer should be well equipped with security features.
Sage recommends that you check what security your provider has in place as they will be holding sensitive information about your employees. They advise that you check that they follow data protection laws and offer good online security measures.
Check their security certificates and ask how they look after their security and keep it up to date, and do some research to make sure that no red flags have ever been raised.
This could be as simple as testing the call-centre to see how long they take to answer their phones and deal with your query. IPMG advises that even if your team is driven by technology, it’s still important to have someone that you can actually speak to should you have a specific query that needs to be urgently addressed.
Find out how accessible your provider will be, and if they have a team to help you or are they working independently and will they be able to help you wherever you or your team is situated? Make sure you understand what support is offered up front before signing on the dotted line.