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Navigating Emerging Benefit Trends: 7 Ways Brokers Are Controlling the Pace

Keeping up-to-date with benefit trends. Learn the 7 Ways brokers are controlling the pace.

Quick look: The importance of benefits hasn’t diminished, but implementing the same tried-and-true plan may no longer be the best strategy. Keeping up-to-date with benefit trends allows brokers to differentiate between which are fleeting and which deserve a second look.

Benefit and HR trends are continuously evolving, causing business leaders to increasingly seek broker advice as they refine their approach to recruiting and retention. Technology has driven today’s swift pace but so has the shift in mindset of what people want from their jobs.

Employees no longer want to fit into a benefit plan. They want a benefit plan that fits them.

However, employees aren’t the only force initiating the need for expanded benefit options. New regulations and federal healthcare laws require businesses to make changes as well.

Accurately tracking the influx of information and making it applicable to clients is a full-time job in itself. But instead of being overwhelmed by the pace, here are ways brokers can use benefit trends to their advantage and avoid being left behind.

1. Diversify resources

It’s not enough to know what the current trends are, brokers must also anticipate what’s next when guiding clients on what’s best for their business goals.

Being well-informed means gleaning data from several channels and outlets, including everything from industry publications to expert webinars. Engaging with other professionals is also helpful as it provides additional insight into emerging trends and inspires creative benefit solutions.

 2. Leverage technology

Automation has created efficiency in HR and benefit administration and management. Brokers and business leaders can save valuable time and resources by streamlining processes, measuring performance, and enhancing the employee experience.

Technology has also transformed employees’ expectations. Remote accessibility, personalized solutions, and increased convenience all factor into how people choose their benefits. This includes expanding provider networks and telemedicine options, as well as providing benefit education and communication in multiple ways. Leveraging technology to align with client goals adds another layer of value to help set brokers apart from the competition.

3. Understand compliance

One of the most complex parts of benefit planning is understanding the ins and outs of compliance and the ever-changing regulations. Not only must brokers be adept at deciphering legal terminology but also how laws specifically apply to their clients.

Knowing how to navigate the requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), as well as state-specific guidelines, is a critical part in keeping companies protected.

4. Focus on a holistic approach

Physical health insurance and retirement planning has always been the cornerstone of a traditional benefit strategy. However, employees’ preferences have shifted toward a holistic approach which embodies all aspects of daily life, including mental health, financial wellness, and extended care for family members, and in some cases, pets.

Some of the top benefits of the past year included flexible work arrangements, student loan debt repayment, and professional development. These types of demands continue to grow and have become a determining factor in whether or not an employee experiences benefit, and ultimately, job satisfaction.

5. Collaborate with clients

When positioned as a trusted advisor versus simply a vendor, it becomes a collaborative effort. Empower clients to share feedback regarding their company’s specific needs to inform benefit strategies. They will feel more comfortable taking calculated risks when they have data and expert support driving their decisions.

The addition of certain benefits may cost more, but the value could lead to higher retention rates and better recruiting options, making it worth the investment. Keeping track of benefit trends and presenting data as it pertains to individual business goals, can encourage SMB leaders to look at offerings from different angles.

6. Offer customized solutions

Customization is the new standard when it comes to benefits. With multiple generations making up the workforce, applying a catch-all solution is no longer applicable.

By tailoring benefits, brokers and SMBs can deliver what’s most relevant based on demographics, company culture, as well as popular trends. This alignment helps with cost management, benefit engagement, and overall employee satisfaction.

7. Partner with a PEO

Brokers can expand their networks and offerings by partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO). A PEO grants access to a wider array of competitive benefits at negotiated rates to meet clients’ evolving needs. They also have a team of experts dedicated to tracking benefit trends and making recommendations accordingly.

Through a suite of comprehensive services, a PEO partner like ExtensisHR offers HR, payroll, and benefit sourcing and administration, recruiting and retention assistance, and risk and compliance management with the use of proprietary HR technology to manage tasks and measure performance.

Putting clients first with ExtensisHR

Guiding SMB clients and their employees to find a benefit plan which fits their unique needs calls for a PEO partner focused on a people-first approach. ExtensisHR values the importance of maintaining strong client relationships through a proven commitment to excellence. This is highlighted through:

Dedicated customer service

ExtensisHR upholds a 95% same-day case resolution with specially appointed team members providing support. With familiarity with a SMB’s work population and special circumstances, they can provide a personalized level of attention.

Top-tier industry credentials

Brokers can also feel confident connecting their clients to ExtensisHR’s expertise and ability to handle a wide range of HR challenges. ExtensisHR is in the 1% which maintains ESAC Accreditation, Certification Institute (CI) for Workers’ Compensation and Risk Management, and is an IRS Certified PEO (CPEO).

Reputation of success

For over 25 years, ExtensisHR has partnered with brokers and SMBs to reach their growth goals. With a track record of year-over-year growth, ExtensisHR also more than doubles the average Net Promoter Score tracking client satisfaction.

Working with a PEO partner gives brokers a competitive edge and helps them keep pace to be ready for whatever comes next. ExtensisHR is focused on creating value for your clients by extending service offerings and providing customized HR solutions so SMB leaders can focus on the growth ahead. 

Learn how we can work together to protect and expand your book of business. Contact our team today.

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