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Why Forecasting Is Important to Build Better Employee Benefits

Brokers and business leaders must continually look toward the future when benefit planning or potentially face a pileup of two-week notices.

Quick look: Finding quality talent is a significant undertaking. Therefore, in order to protect their investments, it’s wise for companies to engage in strategic retention efforts. After all, what attracts a job candidate may not be what keeps them as employees for the long term. Brokers and business leaders must continually look toward the future when benefit planning or potentially face a pileup of two-week notices.

Today’s employees expect healthcare coverage and retirement plans to be part of the standard. As a result, current benefit strategies may not be as impactful as they once were. To stay competitive, benefits must also include options like flexible work schedules, employee assistance programs, and mental wellness services. Incorporating these trends will entice employees to stay; without them, they’re likely to go elsewhere.

However, an overhaul of benefits can be costly, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Thus, forecasting becomes valuable, both to boost employee morale and save on expenses. It provides an opportunity to review what’s no longer working and replace it with what is. Because when job satisfaction is low, retention rates usually follow, and Gallup reports the cost of replacing an employee can equal as much as one-half to two times the employee’s salary. 

By constantly evaluating employee benefit needs and industry trends, brokers and SMBs can allocate company budgets to address the most relevant and effective plans. And with calling on the support of a professional employer organization (PEO) partner, there’s the additional advantage of securing premium benefits at competitive prices as part of an all-encompassing HR solution.

Strategizing a successful benefit plan

Brokers can help clients maximize their budgets by regularly reviewing benefit plans, health insurance, and offerings. When making changes to a plan, companies should consider where they currently are and compare it to where they want to be in the future. Here are three steps to building a strong strategy:

1. Evaluate current employee benefits

Brokers and their SMB clients should work together to analyze which benefits have the greatest employee participation and provide the highest return on investment (ROI). Employee surveys are a helpful tool to take out the guesswork of what is deemed most valuable. Plus, employees will feel prioritized when company leaders show they’re invested in their feedback and are willing to evolve to meet their current needs. 

Regularly asking for employee feedback and demonstrating due diligence can be a relatively small effort with a big payoff. Too often talent slips away due to lack of attention. Research shows over half of existing employees say no one in leadership spoke with them about their job satisfaction or about their future place in the organization. Keep the conversation going year-round to optimize benefit plans.

2. Incorporate benefit trends

Some of the most sought-after benefit trends include the aforementioned mental healthcare coverage, employee assistance programs, and retirement plan options. Though other voluntary benefits like tuition reimbursement, financial counseling, and pet insurance have also risen in popularity as to what employees value most. 

However, any trend must be looked at objectively, as not all are suitable for every company. Instead, creating flexible benefit plans can meet employees at different stages in life. Age, location, and demographic are factors which can drive participation patterns and SMBs must be prepared to adapt accordingly.

3. Compare benefits with competitors

It’s also strategic to review competitors’ benefits to uncover potential gaps and insights which can pave the way to a better benefit plan. The goal isn’t to strictly duplicate what other companies are doing but rather get ideas of voluntary benefits or plan structures and customize based on a SMB’s budget, employees, and growth goals.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to break benefits down into categories, such as by health, vacation, and other company perks like personal development stipends and remote work opportunities. By analyzing all the data together, a PEO partner like ExtensisHR can then help brokers and their clients prioritize what’s most important and create an ideal benefit solution.

Improving retention with the support of a PEO

Most of the time, a complete overhaul is unnecessary when SMBs remain proactive. By staying ahead of the curve and forecasting what’s next, it allows insights to lead the decisions about which benefits to offer. With the support of a PEO partner, brokers can ensure their clients’ budgets are being spent in areas which will retain and recruit the best employees. 

People want to feel companies are invested in their physical, mental, and financial health and well-being. And offering a robust and flexible benefit package is one of the best ways to keep employees happy. ExtensisHR offers Fortune 500-level benefits using advanced technology, resources, and expertise to streamline administration, compliance, and support. These include but aren’t limited to: 

  • FSA/HSA health plans
  • Dental and vision benefits
  • 401(k) retirement plans
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Legal services
  • Pet insurance
  • Fertility benefits
  • …and much more

Additionally, brokers can feel confident connecting their clients with a team of HR experts with industry credentials and a track record of success. As a Certified PEO with accreditation from the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) and the Certification Institute, ExtensisHR takes pride in offering nothing but the best for every client. 

Benefits will continue to be an important part of any retention strategy and deserves constant attention to make it impactful. It’s not a one-and-done process but rather a continuous conversation between brokers, clients, and their employees to adapt to industry changes and trends. 

As a broker-friendly PEO partner, ExtensisHR provides an extra advantage by helping brokers build their portfolio and strengthen business relationships. With a person-to-person approach, they help SMBs grow faster, save on costs, and lower employee turnover, all which leads to sustainable client success.

In addition to benefit planning, ExtensisHR offers in-depth HR and risk and compliance services. To learn more about how our customizable solutions can benefit you and your clients, contact our team today. 

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