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Benefits and Budget: How Brokers Help Clients Balance the Two

Quick look: Business leaders are constantly in a tug-of-war with benefits and budget. While there must be room to accommodate both, inflation has made it increasingly tricky when figuring out which one should be prioritized. Fortunately, employers have expert support at the ready with brokers stepping in to ease the back-and-forth by providing solutions which create a better balance.

The rise in healthcare costs continues to plague businesses. Per a Willis Towers Watson survey, 54% of employers reported their healthcare costs will go over budget, making controlling them a top priority.

Nonetheless, health insurance is second to payroll when it comes to highest spend, putting employers in a tough position. Insurance premiums are going up but so are employee demands, which means everyone is fighting to find a balance between the two. Companies can’t simply eliminate health insurance and other employee benefits and expect to stay competitive.

With changes coming from every direction, employers are trying to figure out how to maneuver the different pieces to create a sustainable plan. As trusted advisors, brokers are now relied upon to optimize both HR and financial needs of their clients so everyone comes out on top, a feat easier which is easier said than done. Fortunately, brokers know how to navigate these types of issues and with the added support of a PEO solution, they have a unique advantage when securing customized client solutions.

5 ways brokers can help clients

The significant workplace shift is largely due to the aftermath of the pandemic combined with current inflation. It remains an employee-dominated space as people are becoming more vocal about their healthcare needs and demands and readiness to negotiate a role suitable for them.

This power dynamic means businesses and brokers have had to up the ante with regards to compensation and benefits to keep and attract the best workers. Here’s how they achieve it:

  1. Staying agile

Trends and new information are dispersed faster than ever. What’s necessary one minute can change in the next. Therefore, brokers must have benefit conversations with their clients year-round. Rather than limit interaction to quarterly or annual check-ins, the communication should be constant to align with addressing changes.

Strategy flexibility helps to create plans which speak to what is currently beneficial to a company, which might be vastly different than what it was a year or even six months ago. Additionally, brokers must also serve as a bridge between finance and HR teams to clear up misunderstandings either may have. Rather than working as separate entities battling between saving costs and amping up benefits, everyone can share their perspectives to collaborate on ideas which incorporate both.

  1. Implementing data-driven decisions

Decisions made without data don’t hold much weight. To help clients feel confident with the direction they’re headed, it’s best to establish benchmark data to track and measure results. Chosen data points should align with each client’s specific business priorities and anticipate how these may evolve over time. In addition to calculating rising costs for healthcare and higher wage expectations, each company also has specific growth goals in mind.

Using personalized data to drive decisions can be looked upon to decide whether the return on investment (ROI) is worth it or if a company needs to pivot. For example, adding new benefits come with a cost but so is losing employees due to lackluster health plans. And the latter usually is accompanied by far greater expenses to recoup.

  1. Making it personal(ized)

The world is driven by personalization, and employee benefits are no exception. Rising to meet workforce demand requires an ongoing evaluation to ensure the best health plan is chosen. Each year a company may have different requirements than the year prior due to workforce changes and updated government regulations.

Therefore, brokers must focus on what is necessary for clients where they are today while also forecasting future needs. Implementing a catch-all solution is not effective, as many will end up spending more on benefits which may not even appeal or apply to their employees. Without personalization, it’s determining a budget for a problem without really addressing what the problem is.

  1. Expanding professional relationships

Brokers have long held an important advisory position with regards to choosing health plans but are now asked to connect other crucial areas to keep a company on track. This involves integrating technology, understanding financial constraints, and anticipating the twists and turns of the industry, at large.

As a result, brokers are bridging the gap to deliver resources, expertise, and experience for their clients through a PEO solution. A PEO provides outsourced HR services including benefit administration, payroll, tax, and recruiting management, risk and compliance services, and more. It is an integral part of a company’s operations, allowing employers to focus on growth.

  1. Being unafraid of disruption

The standard way of doing things simply doesn’t work the way it used to. Brokers should be prepared to shake things up. Reviewing a handful of health plans is being replaced by a wide variety of options at a lower cost and better offerings.

To secure this valued trifecta, they lean on the capabilities of a PEO to give their clients (and themselves) a leading edge. In addition to the all-encompassing HR services a PEO provides, brokers can rely on the added value ExtensisHR offers, which includes:

  • A person-to-person approach to tailoring HR services to align with clients’ changing needs
  • A dedicated customer service team with an 11 second customer response time
  • An 82% Net Promoter Score compared to the average 37% of outsourced HR providers

Balancing company budget with maintaining competitive benefits requires full-time effort and an ability to strategically maneuver as the times call for. A PEO solution puts brokers at an advantage to support the continuing growth and success of their clients. And with transparent pricing for services, it simplifies budgeting and makes it easy to evaluate ROI.

Learn how ExtensisHR can benefit your portfolio. Contact our team today.

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