So, you’ve hired a new employee benefits advisor to assist you in developing and managing your employee benefits program. Perhaps you interviewed a few different benefit brokers to evaluate your options, or focused on and moved forward with just one firm that seemed like the perfect fit. Now, how do you measure the quality of service from your new benefits partner?
Pinning the report card of your new benefits partner solely on short-term financial outcomes can be dangerous. For example, your group medical program might have a recent bout of large medical claimants within the first year of your partnership, unrelated to the new service arrangement, but making the renewal process quite challenging. Regardless of the scope of work provided -- strategic consulting, financial modeling, preparing employee communication materials, providing compliance assistance, etc. -- your evaluation of the quality of services provided can be measured by focusing on four primary components.
Attention to Detail
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the devil is in the details”, and with the employee benefits industry, this is no different. Accuracy of work provided as well as understanding an insurance provision(s) fine line can separate the service quality from one broker to another very quickly. By focusing and taking time on the details of your benefits program, the results can often lead to a variety of big positive results, including:
This goes without saying, but your broker should be returning your phone calls and emails, and even your text messages…promptly. You should feel like your new broker partner is an extension of your HR and benefits team and works proactively to anticipate potential benefit landmines. Your broker should create a stewardship plan with you up front, resulting in a comprehensive measurement tool. It should include an action plan of deliverables focused on your goals, needs, and expectations.
Each and every delivery item should be in the best interest of you and your business. The advisor should explain the pluses and minuses of options, and take time to educate and empower you for future situations. And sometimes you need to hear the words “no” or “I wouldn’t recommend that” from your broker partner, and understand his or her supporting thoughts on the reasoning is equally important. No hidden agendas.
Every employee benefits program is different. Does your new benefits brokerage team deliver novel service ideas and solutions to best meet your employee benefit challenges? Can they turn on a dime when you get the news from your CEO or CFO that says “we are acquiring a firm…..next week”…and your firm needs prompt due diligence work?
As with most HR vendors and programs, the effectiveness and success of your new employee benefits broker partnership should be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. Set collective expectations, agreeable work scopes and strong communication channels with your new benefits broker, and it should set you and your firm up with a great opportunity to develop a successful long-term partnership.
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