5 Common Small Business Benefits Management Pitfalls
Finding a small business employee benefits broker can be a daunting task. We break the process down into five easy-to-follow steps: defining your business’s goals and needs, making a list of potential candidates with small business experience, running an RFP process, getting recommendations from other small businesses, and finding a broker who’ll be committed year-round.
Benefits management can be hard work, especially for a small business. Small business benefits management is a year-round gig, and benefits can be difficult to understand. Plus, small business HR teams often have overflowing plates, and not enough bandwidth to take on additional tasks that can appear with benefits management.
Far too many small business owners fall into a couple of benefits management problems. Here’s your guide to recognizing potential issues, avoiding problems, and getting the most out of their benefits packages.
Here are the most common small business employee benefits management problems.
1. Not hiring the best benefits broker for your needs
When it comes to hiring the right benefits broker for a small business, the most name-recognizable option might not be the best for your business or its needs. Your broker should help make all aspects of benefits management a breeze — and a name brand doesn’t always mean they can do that.
Because brokers are not one-size-fits-all, the best brokers for Fortune 500 companies may not be the right fit for your business. Instead, we recommend finding a broker who specializes in working with small businesses.
(Hint: If you choose the right benefits broker from the start, you’re much less likely to fall into any of the other traps on this list.)
2. Building a one-size-fits-all benefits package
Your employee population is unique with their own unique needs. So a one-size-fits-all benefits offering probably won’t cut it.
The best way to avoid this pitfall? Lean on data. Try regularly checking in with your employees via benefits surveys, or by monitoring benefits utilization throughout the year.
Your broker can provide data and insight here, to help you build a package that can flex to meet your employees’ needs.
3. Not keeping up with compliance requirements
It’s easy for compliance deadlines to sneak up on you, but failing to adhere to compliance requirements can cost you.
Employers could end up being hit with fees if they fail to meet compliance requirements. Your broker can help you avoid compliance failure by reminding you of upcoming deadlines and keeping you up-to-date on new federal and state regulations.
4. Relying on outdated tech or tools
Sure, it can be difficult to learn a new platform, but innovative technology and tools can make or break the efficacy (and efficiency) of your benefits administration.
Implementing up-to-date tech can streamline your processes and improve results, saving you time, money, and bandwidth.
5. Being afraid to make changes to your offering (or your benefits broker)
Your industry and employees aren't stagnant -- and your benefits strategy shouldn’t be, either. It should grow and shift to meet your (and your employees') needs.
A thoughtful employer takes the time to reassess their benefits. Ideally you’ll partner with your broker to dig through the data and make tweaks every couple of months. But don’t leave this only in the weeks leading up to your renewal date; with so much pressure from a deadline, renewal season is not necessarily the best time to do so.
(And while you’re at it, when was the last time you reassessed your broker? Or did an RFP?)
How can small businesses avoid these common problems in benefits management?
Most of these objectives fall on HR’s plate. And we’ll be honest — HR professionals at small businesses rarely have the bandwidth to handle it all.
Instead, your broker should be picking up the slack.
(In fact, if you find yourself identifying with any of the problems on this list, that’s a sign your broker isn’t doing their job).
Leaning on your broker for year-round support should be the norm. You should be able to reach them easily and get a thoughtful response quickly. You should think of your broker as a valued unofficial member of your team. If this isn't the case, it may be time to move on.
Ready to find the best broker for your small business? Schedule a free consultation today.