Offering employee benefits is a necessary part of doing business, particularly in competitive job markets. But for many employers, the process of selecting, implementing, and administering a benefits package is overwhelming and time-consuming. For these business owners, working with a benefits consulting group can be the key to putting together the best possible benefits for their employees while saving both time and money.
Benefits consulting groups can assist businesses in a number of ways, from the initial selection of a benefits package through administering the plan and providing year-round support. With a team of consultants with expertise in different types of employee benefits, a benefits consulting group works collaboratively with a business to assist them in putting together an optimal benefits plan for their company and employees.
What Is a Benefits Consulting Group?
A benefits consulting group is a team of experts who have specialized knowledge about employee benefits, insurance, and other products that businesses may require. A consultant can assist clients with selecting, purchasing, and administering benefits. A well-established benefits consulting group should have a range of technology-based tools to help their clients put together a full package of employee benefits.
Typically, benefits consultants work on a commission basis, offering their services at no initial cost to their clients. A benefits consulting group works independently of benefits companies and insurance carriers, ensuring that the benefits recommended by a consultant are those that are best suited for the client. After a plan is chosen, a benefits consulting group may offer additional services to businesses, such as administering a plan, for either a fee or a percentage of the value of the benefits package.
Because a benefits consulting group offers services beyond just choosing an employee benefits plan, they often have long-standing relationships with their clients. They offer service and support throughout the year, not just when it is time to renew a package. In many cases, a benefits consulting group will run an employee benefits program on behalf of the business after it has been purchased.
How a Benefits Consulting Group Can Help Your Business
To attract and retain top talent, it is now more important than ever to have a comprehensive employee benefits package. A benefits consulting group can assist companies in putting together benefits plans that can help them meet their goals, including reducing costs and increasing employee satisfaction.
A benefits consulting group provides a range of services to businesses. These services fall into two primary categories: helping a business pick employee benefits and administering the benefits. By working with a benefits consulting group, companies can save both time and money by having the best possible benefits for their particular situation and eliminating the time and expense of running a benefits package in-house.
Selecting A Benefits Package
For many business owners, the most challenging aspect of putting together an employee benefits plan is figuring out which benefits to offer — and then deciding which benefit to choose from a range of options in each category of benefit. There are a wide variety of potential employee benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, disability insurance, retirement plans and even student loan repayment options. A benefits consulting group can evaluate a business’s budget and needs, and advise them on which benefits should be considered. This analysis will take into account a range of factors, including what other companies in the industry and region offer to employees. This advice will help a business maintain a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining employees.
By working with a benefits consulting group, a company often gains access to information that may not otherwise be readily available to them. A benefits consultant offers guidance regarding every aspect of a benefits package, taking into account employee wishes, tax advantages of different plans, and new benefits options. A benefits consultant may poll employees to determine which benefits are most valuable to them, or conduct an in-depth evaluation of a company’s finances to determine which plans may help to reduce costs or increase profits.
Based on this analysis, a benefits consulting group can then advise a business on which benefits they should be offering based on the market, what their employees want, and their budget. Using technology-based tools, a consultant can then assist an employer in picking specific benefits from each category. This support can be particularly helpful given that many employee benefits are governed by a complex web of state and federal laws. A benefits consulting group has expertise in these matters, and can ensure that the chosen benefits comply with all applicable laws.
Because benefits consulting groups do not work for benefits companies or insurance carriers, they can offer a range of quotes for each option. This allows a company to select the best and most cost-effective benefits for their employees by comparing the price and details of each particular offering. A consultant can advise companies on the optimal choice from each category, helping a business put together the most appropriate package for their needs. In this respect, working with a benefits consulting group gives employers a significant advantage in choosing a benefits plan.
After an employee benefits package has been selected, an employer is then faced with the next challenge: implementing and running the benefits. Many employee benefits are governed by state and federal law and have strict reporting and compliance requirements. A poorly-run benefits plan can cost a company a significant amount of time and money. It can ultimately make the benefits package less valuable through decreased employee satisfaction and overall effectiveness.
A benefits consulting group can eliminate much of the stress of administering an employee benefits package by utilizing technology-backed solutions to streamline the process and manage the plan effectively. By working with a benefits consultant, a company can reduce the burden of administering an employee benefits package and avail itself of year-round support.
While all employee benefits require a certain level of documentation, healthcare and retirement plans have further requirements under the law. This may include regular filings with the IRS and other government entities and thoroughly documenting different aspects of the various programs. A benefits consulting group can help a company with these tasks, making sure that a business meets its legal obligations for every part of its employee benefits plan.
Benefits consultants can assist employers with communicating with their employees about their benefits. This may include customized communications and web portal services to alert employees of their benefits and options, or guiding employees through the open enrollment process. A benefits consulting group can offer personalized education and enrollment sites for each client so that their employees can learn more about their benefits. These services can help employees complete the enrollment process, find answers to their questions on the site and locate their benefits information easily.
In addition, a benefits consulting group can provide year-round service for businesses on a range of issues related to employee benefits. This may include offering advice on human resources questions or advising clients on ways that they can reduce the cost of their employee benefits plans. Some benefits consulting groups have specialized human resources knowledge, and can advise companies on employment law issues such as workplace discrimination. These services can help a company reduce costs and decrease the potential for employee lawsuits.
Throughout the year, a benefits consulting group can also advise clients on developments in the field so that a business can ensure that its employee benefits package is still competitive and cost-effective. This may include a benchmarking review to analyze what other companies in an industry are doing with regards to employee benefits, providing a cost projection for desired changes to an employee benefits package or estimating renewal costs. At renewal time, a benefits consulting group can review a company’s claim history and other factors (such as employee wellness programs) that may help them negotiate a more favorable rate for the benefits options.
Administering an employee benefits package can be both burdensome and time-consuming for the average business owner. A benefits consulting group can reduce the workload and expense of running a benefits program through their expertise and by using technology-based solutions. They can also help to reduce the ultimate cost of a benefits package by utilizing their knowledge of each plan component to negotiate rate and premium reductions.
Finding the Best Employee Benefits Package for Your Business
When it comes to putting together and administering an employee benefits plan, many business owners find the process to be challenging. A benefits consulting group offers several advantages to businesses that will help them save both time and money. A benefits consultant can offer advice and assistance from the initial selection of a plan through administering the plan and renewing a plan, often at lower rates. Contact The Business Benefits Group today to learn more about employee benefits, and how a consultant can help you put together the optimal benefits package to save your company money and to continue to attract and retain high-quality talent.