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Having a strong employee benefits package can set your company apart from other employers who are recruiting high-quality candidates at a time where job vacancies are high and good prospects are highly sought after. Therefore, a good benefits package is vital in both recruitment and also employee retention. However, building a robust benefits package with the best possible benefits can be overwhelming and very time-consuming; this is where an employee benefits consultant can be a valuable asset to your company.
Employee benefits consultants are independent contractors that support companies of any size by researching, acquiring, implementing, and managing benefits packages. Consultants can advise on a host of benefits that go much further than just medical coverage, which may include things like:
- Dental Insurance
- Vision Insurance
- Flexible Spending Account
- Health Savings Account
- Health Reimbursement Account
- Pharmacy benefits
- Life Insurance
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- 401(k) and 403(b)
- Retirement Plans
- Employee Assistance Program
- Health and wellness benefits
- Paid vacation time
- Paid sick leave
- Continuing education
- Tuition reimbursement
Understanding that there is no “one size fits all” solution, an employee benefits consultant can ensure the benefits packages align with your company vision and values. For example, suppose your company promotes wellness and healthy lifestyles. In that case, an employee benefits consultant can help curate a package with benefits supporting that goal, like a gym membership or stipend or a weight loss contest for your employees.
An exceptional employee benefits consultant will possess the five following essential qualities:
Your employee benefits consultant understands the complexities of the ever-changing benefits world and can provide expert advice on the healthcare marketplace. Compliance is a required component of any benefits programs, and the consultant must have expertise on federal benefits regulations and stay up to date on compliance. In addition, a benefits consultant must understand these regulations or the penalties for being non-compliant; your company may encounter thousands or more in fines and legal fees. A great employee benefits consultant will work proactively to ensure your business complies to avoid these unnecessary costs.
Unlike a benefits broker who primarily contacts you around renewal time, a benefits consultant will develop a more committed long-term relationship and reach out to your business throughout the year to analyze the plan and ensure its success. To have this type of successful relationship, a great benefits consultant will be collaborative.
A key factor of your employee benefits consultant developing a collaborative relationship with your business is complete transparency. The consultant must be candid about both the services they will provide and the costs involved. Being forthright is a critical element of a successful relationship, and the crucial factor of transparency is honesty. A great employee benefits consultant will be able to manage the expectations of the business, its employees, and the carriers to make sure everyone is pleased.
A great employee benefits consultant will have the skill to explain complex concepts to the business and its employees so that it is easy to understand. Ensuring employees have a complete understanding of their benefits plan is vital to maximizing the value. In addition, the employee benefits consultant should educate employees using different techniques and tools to successfully convey information so that employees will be more engaged and invested in their plan.
A great employee benefits consultant will become an integral partner within your business regarding your employee benefits plan. The consultant must have the capability to link a company’s goals and objectives and think strategically about designing a robust benefits plan and managing the plan’s performance to those stated goals. A strategic benefits consultant is vital to the long-term success of your benefits plan.
Selecting a superior employee benefits consultant can be a daunting task but rewarding for your business and your employees when the best candidate is chosen. When interviewing your employee benefits consultant candidates, consider the above five essential qualities to ensure the best possible benefits plan your employees deserve.
If you have a tip for identifying a great employee benefits consultant or the red flags of what to avoid, our audience would love to hear from you; share your insights, knowledge, or past experiences in the comment section below!
Will Rauch is a Senior Employee Benefits Consultant who joined SWBC in 2019. He strategically consults and partners with employers of all industries, with a strong emphasis on mid-sized employers ranging anywhere from 50 employees to 1,000 employees. Will’s background includes 10 years of business to business managed professional services in both the U.S. and international markets. Will is a graduate of St. Mary’s University with a double major in Corporate Financial Management and International Business.