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The Value of Upskilling for Building Stronger Broker-Client Relationships

Upskilling matters in building a strong broker-client relationship.

Quick look: These days tailored benefit plans are in demand more than ever. Though the foundational elements are still there, there’s been continual change regarding their value, as well as what businesses now expect from brokers. Therefore, upskilling and reskilling have become an important part of the broker’s journey, because, like any other profession, staying in the know is essential to staying competitive. 

The industry has changed significantly over the past several years as new norms have been introduced and a diverse workforce has demanded individualized benefit solutions. Continuing education is already a requirement for brokers and acts in their favor when delivering quality service to clients.

Upskilling includes broadening knowledge of current industry trends and compliance regulations, which is only the beginning of what brokers can do to differentiate themselves. Advanced technology and dispersed workforces have also created a more urgent need for brokers to seek new knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis.

Why upskilling matters

Clients expect immediate answers and easy-to-use systems when it comes to benefit administration and implementation. Without learning the latest technologies, brokers may struggle with time and client management. They may be stuck on outdated ideas and methods without knowing there are others more preferred. 

The industry has proven it can change in an instant, and brokers who are unprepared to keep pace risk losing clients to someone better equipped. However, by prioritizing upskilling and building connections, brokers can adapt to changing needs and ultimately, keep clients happy. Here’s where the value lies:

Better serves customers

Businesses are looking to their brokers for ways to customize their benefits to meet modern needs. It didn’t seem too long ago when employees chose from one of a few standard benefit plans without too many questions or extensive explanations. Now, employees want a personalized approach

A one-size-fits-all solution is less applicable and doesn’t provide nearly the same value. What may work for one company may not for another. Therefore, the more brokers can learn what employees want in terms of benefit options and technology, the better they can help their clients reach their goals. 

Enhances productivity

Job productivity increases when there are new skills and knowledge put into play. When learning technologies and techniques, brokers work more efficiently and effectively. 

They are able to make better decisions and provide solutions. Plus, more time is dedicated to client growth and expanding products and services versus being bogged down by administrative tasks. 

Helping clients make the best decisions means knowing what trends are most relevant to their employees. In the past few years alone, this has included a shift toward mental health benefitslong-term medical care, and financial wellness programs. What were once voluntary options have now become part of the main benefit plan. 

Also, annual laws and regulations take effect which brokers must be aware of so clients have accurate information. When working with clients with employees in more than one state, this becomes even more important to track. They must be proactive with changes and communication to avoid penalties and fines.

Keeps brokers competitive

A SHRM survey notes 40% of employees worry their job skills will become outdated or taken over by automation or artificial intelligence. Yet another reason why many consider professional development and continuing education as deciding factors when choosing to stay with a company. Plus, upskilling can spark fresh ideas to make client interactions more meaningful.

Not only does it help insurance companies keep their top-performing brokers, it helps brokers set themselves apart from their peers. And with businesses leaning on their broker partnerships for guidance, any differentiators are an advantage. Because of this, in addition to developing new skills, brokers are also expanding their connections to include a professional employer organization (PEO). There is a services gap a PEO partner provides, which can strengthen current broker-client relationships as well as build new ones.

Where to seek new skills 

Since each state has its own continuing education requirements brokers must follow, it’s smart to leverage organizations like NABIP to strengthen skills and receive necessary credits at the same time. Additionally, there are multiple resources to stay up-to-date with industry news, such as, Employee Benefit Adviser, and ExtensisHR’s broker resource center

ExtensisHR provides educational resources covering a range of topics for broker partners. This is to support them in being well-equipped when talking with clients and providing solutions. In addition to the broker resource center, as a broker-friendly PEO partner, ExtensisHR also offers:

Service expansion

Clients are constantly looking for creative ways to boost employee satisfaction. Brokers who connect with a PEO partner instantly provide their clients access to a wide range of services and support. This leads to better business relationships and more satisfied, long-term clients.

Personalized solutions

Having a team of HR experts to collaborate with about strategy and doing what’s best for clients proves invaluable, especially in this ever-changing time. Employers want a customized approach when building benefit plans to increase employee participation and overall satisfaction.

Competitive commissions

ExtensisHR works hard to create a seamless process to generate quotes quickly to help brokers get business through the door. Brokers remain in charge of their earnings through a residual-based compensation structure.

Furthermore, working with a PEO partner elevates a broker’s overall capabilities and offerings. Clients receive the convenience of having a suite of HR services available to them; the support of a fully dedicated HR team to collaborate with; and the comfort of knowing they have experts on their side to keep them in compliance. Plus, ExtensisHR’s proprietary HR technology streamlines HR activities and creates reporting so companies can make informed, data-driven decisions. 

Brokers who focus on areas of improvement will secure better relationships with their clients. Whether this involves automating processes, introducing helpful tools, or enhancing the customer experience, there are numerous ways upskilling can help them deliver more. 

ExtensisHR supports brokers and businesses in their growth goals by providing comprehensive HR solutions and person-to-person support. Learn how our services can benefit you. Contact our team today.

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