5 HR Tasks to Hand Off to Your Benefits Broker Today
Your broker’s support shouldn’t begin and end with renewals – they should be making your HR team’s job easier year-round. The best way to get the most out of your benefits broker is to think of them as external members of your team.
Your benefits broker should have an understanding of your business’s culture and help you, your employees, and your HR team to get the most out of your benefits packages.
Read on to learn more about the to-dos should be done by your broker.
How should benefits brokers support their clients’ HR teams in employee benefits management?
It can feel scary to offer up tasks to someone outside of your close-knit team. As a small business, you and your HR team have likely been “making it on your own” for some time now.
But this is what you hired your benefits broker to do: make your benefits administration (and, well, your jobs) easier. Besides, they’re well equipped to do that anyway; their insider knowledge gives them insight and perspectives they need to get more from your benefits package with less.
Support for HR teams from your benefits broker can come in many forms, but here are five of the best ways your broker can step up and help.
1. Answering your team’s day-to-day questions
Small HR teams shouldn’t have to navigate complicated benefits problems alone – they have enough on their plate as is. This is where your broker’s insider knowledge of the benefits industry should come in handy.
When you have a question on anything benefits, you should be able to rely on your broker for a fast answer. Your broker should be easy to reach and provide answers when you need them.
Generally, employers should be able to get a response from their broker in 48 hours or less. Any longer lapse in communication could be stalling your already strained HR. This radio silence can also keep your employees from getting the most out of their benefits packages.
If your broker is unresponsive or doesn’t help you understand the complexities of employee benefits, it may be time to consider changing your broker. You should find one that can support you and your team in whatever capacity you need; from helping choose the right plan options to assisting with enrollment and billing issues.
In short, your broker should always have your back, so you can confidently build (and manage) the benefits offering your employees need.
2. Helping employees choose, use, and understand their benefits
Far too many employees don’t understand their benefits — and that can be a huge strain on your ROI. A lack of understanding of benefits plans can lead to a lot of wasted time, money, and missteps (both for the employee, the HR team, and your bottom line).
The best brokers offer personalized support to employees to make sure they understand the benefits, know how to use them correctly, and can make informed decisions when choosing their plans. A knowledgeable broker can assist with onboarding new employees, answering questions about existing plans, making changes or updates when needed, and more.
Your broker should be on call to answer your employees’ benefits questions as they arise. By answering questions promptly, brokers can ensure your employees make the most of their benefits whenever they need help – whether they’re choosing the right plan during open enrollment, or faced with an unforeseen bill.
3. Helping you understand (and keep up with) all things compliance
Compliance can feel like a chore, but failing to comply with federal and state regulations can cost your business hefty fines in the long run. Your broker should help you stay up-to-date with the rules, while also proactively helping to ensure your plan is compliant.
Brokers should help HR leaders stay compliant with all regulations. This means making sure HR understands what’s required of them, reminding them of new laws and upcoming deadlines, and offering access to ERISA attorneys to answer any and all questions.
They should also offer ongoing educational resources, like webinars and seminars, as well as newsletters or other useful materials that can help keep your team in the know.
4. Finding opportunities to save money
Your broker’s main responsibility is to make sure you get the full value out of your benefits. This means making data-driven, proactive recommendations to max out on value (without maxing on cost).
By keeping an eye out for options to save money, your broker can help you build a strong offering with an equally strong ROI. Look for a broker who can offer creative ideas and solutions to keep costs down and provide ongoing support when it comes to renegotiations.
This is especially important when it comes to larger contracts, like those that involve multiple stakeholders. Your broker should be able to provide advice and counsel throughout the negotiation process, as well as thought leadership on market trends that might impact costs and how you can get ahead of them.
5. Supporting anything else you might need, benefits-wise (really!)
Your broker’s support shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all — because your business certainly isn’t. Your benefits broker should step up wherever you need help to give you the support you need.
In the end, having a flexible partner dedicated to understanding (and managing) all aspects of employee benefits is critical to helping you get the most out of your investments in employee wellness — while saving a lot of time for your team.
HR teams at small businesses are already so spread thin. The additional support from a thoughtful and experienced benefits broker can be the difference between a chaotic and stressful benefits year, or one that is collaborative, creative, cost-conscious, and successful.
An excellent broker will help you do more with less. Ready to upgrade your HR team's support with a new broker? Schedule a free benefits audit with one of our experts today.