How to Assess a Large Organization's Need for Switching Voluntary Benefits Platforms
Voluntary benefits, also known as employee-paid benefits, are playing an increasingly important role in employee satisfaction and retention within large organizations.
Aptly named as they are in addition to the traditional benefits companies typically provide like health insurance, voluntary benefits are additional perks that employees can choose to purchase through their employer.
When employers offer these supplemental benefits, it helps them attract and retain top talent, in addition to improving staff engagement and satisfaction.
What are Some Examples of Voluntary Benefits?
Voluntary benefits include dental, vision, life, critical illness, and pet insurance. Identity theft protection, discounted group rates for gym memberships, commuter benefits, and legal insurance are also popular supplemental benefits. Additionally, a health savings account (HSA) that allows employees to save money on out-of-pocket costs while employers make contributions tax-free is a common addition to a workplace's voluntary benefits package too.
Why Should Employers Continually Reassess Their Offerings?
As with any aspect of a benefits package, business leaders must make it a point to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their companys' voluntary benefits platforms. With so many different options available these days, it can be a challenge to determine which platform will offer voluntary benefits and other features that give the most value to employees and employers alike. In this article, we'll explain the steps a large organization can take to determine if it should switch its voluntary employee benefits platform or not.
Evaluate Your Existing Voluntary Benefits Platform First
Before considering a switch to a new voluntary benefits platform, it's important to take a thorough look at the effectiveness of your current platform. This includes evaluating how well it meets the needs of both your organization and employees.
What Features and Benefit Options Does It Offer?
To start, it's essential to examine the current benefits offerings and features of your existing voluntary employee benefits platform.
Ask the following questions:
- Does it offer voluntary benefits in a wide range of options that meet the needs of all your employees?
- Is the platform easy to use and navigate?
- Do employees have access to customer service, benefits brokers, or other support if they have questions or issues with their benefits?
What Problems and Issues Have Arisen in the Past?
It's also a good idea to identify any challenges or issues that have previously occurred with your current supplemental benefits platform. For example:
- Is the administrative burden of managing the platform high for the HR professionals in your company?
- Do employees frequently encounter issues with claims or accessing their voluntary employee benefits?
If the platform is a high administrative burden on your HR team or lacks features, it's time to think about what other employee benefits platforms can offer your organization.
How Much Does It Cost?
In addition to reviewing the features and effectiveness of your personalized benefits platform, it's also necessary to identify all of its costs. This includes not only the costs to you as the employer but also any costs that your employees may incur when accessing their benefits.
Consider the following:
- Are the costs of your voluntary benefits reasonable and competitive in the market?
- Are there any hidden fees or surcharges that are causing frustration or dissatisfaction among your employees?
Taking the time to assess all aspects of your current voluntary benefits platform will provide valuable insight into whether a switch to a new platform is necessary.
Next Identify All the Benefits of Switching Platforms
After you've reviewed your existing platform, the next step in the process is to identify the potential benefits of switching to a new one. It's imperative that there's a clear understanding across the board of what the advantages will be for your business and how this will ultimately benefit your employees and eventually your clients too.
3 Benefits of Making the Switch to the Right Platform
There are several possible upsides to moving your organization to a different voluntary benefits platform. Three of the most common ones are listed below.
There will likely be substantial cost savings
One advantage of moving to a new voluntary benefits platform is the possibility of significant cost savings for both your company and its employees.
For instance, the switch could result in lower administrative charges for you and accessing benefits could become more cost-effective for your employees too.
Note that it's essential to carefully consider all the fees and expenses that are involved so as to ensure that your potential savings are worth the investment.
It will likely improve staff satisfaction
Another benefit of making the switch is the potential for an improved employee experience. By leveraging a new benefits platform, employers can many times enhance and tailor the overall user experience for their employees.
For example, a different provider might offer a more user-friendly platform that makes it easier for your employees to access their benefits and customize their benefit plans in real time.
Moreover, other benefits platforms may provide a wider, more relevant range of benefits packages or better customer service and support that helps educate employees.Another platform might also offer more comprehensive analytics reports on employee usage, giving your organization more visibility into the needs of its workforce and their buying habits.
The right benefits platform will provide valuable data on your employee demographics so your company can tailor its offerings and additional coverage appropriately. In addition, this information can inform decisions regarding payment options and pricing tiers, ultimately leading to better rewards and higher satisfaction among your employees.
Gathering input and feedback from your staff about their experiences with your current platform is vital. Analyze survey results or just ask them verbally how a new platform can meet their needs better. Remember that paying attention to this part of the employee experience can ultimately boost employee retention.
It will likely increase efficiency
A different voluntary benefits platform may also prove to be more efficient for both your HR staff and employees. Efficiencies can be found in more streamlined administrative processes and benefits administration, easier access to information via an online platform for employees (no matter their geographic location), and automated features.
Determine how much time and the number of resources your organization currently uses to manage your existing platform. Compare that to how other voluntary employee benefits platforms will save your business time and reduce your employee workload.
It's crucial that your organization carefully weighs all the potential advantages, including financial benefits, of switching against the expenses and efforts involved to do so.
While a new benefits strategy and platform may offer cost savings and improved employee morale, the process of switching can be time-consuming and disruptive. A business should consider all of the factors mentioned above before deciding whether or not to change employee benefits platforms.
Decide if Your Company Will Change Platforms or Not
It's time to make the final call. As you and your team tackle this big decision, remember to carry out the following actions:
#1: Gather Input and Feedback
Before making a decision, be sure to gather input and opinions from fellow business leaders, management, HR professionals, and employees on the potential switch. It's important to take various perspectives into account and to address any concerns or issues in advance of making any drastic changes.
#2: Carefully Consider All Factors
Carefully weigh all factors, including the potential benefits, costs, and efforts involved in making the switch, as well as the potential impact on your employees and their morale. Do the possible advantages and cost savings appear to outweigh any negatives? Have you considered all future ramifications? Making a pro and con comparison chart and using other decision support tools or programs can be helpful in this situation.
#3: Make an Informed Decision
Based on all the gathered information and accompanying analyses, make an educated decision on whether your organization should move to a new voluntary benefits platform in the near-term or leave things as is. If your company decides to switch to a new platform, begin developing a plan to ensure a smooth transition. This might include communication and training for employees, as well as support for your HR staff during the implementation process.
This isn't a decision to take lightly. Without a doubt, it will have significant implications for your business and its employees.
Hiring A PEO: Offering Voluntary Benefits Another Way
A professional employer organization (PEO) is a type of business service that assists employers with managing their human capital needs. When an organization partners with a PEO, it outsources various HR tasks like employee benefits administration (voluntary benefits management), payroll and tax processing, and risk management consulting that would otherwise be normally handled internally. Sometimes PEOs work with benefits brokers or benefits advisors who specialize in creating customized benefits services for organizations.
By outsourcing these functions to a support system like a PEO, companies can save significant time and money while having the security of outside professionals when it comes to labor law compliance.
Benefits for companies include:
- Greater flexibility in staffing options
- Improved employee benefits packages at reduced costs
- Improved employee morale due to better benefits administration
- More effective ACA compliance
- Increased planning for health insurance renewals and open enrollment
- Comprehensive talent services like recruiting, hiring, employee training, and performance management
Hiring a PEO allows companies to maximize their existing resources and potential growth by putting professional attention on their human capital needs. This is another option that should be on the table as your business determines how it wants to handle its voluntary benefits strategy and administration.
As an increasingly critical part of an employer's overall employee compensation package to attract new talent and retain existing employees, business leaders should take the initiative to regularly assess their companys' voluntary benefits offerings. From retirement benefits to critical illness coverage and other lifestyle benefits, these kinds of perks have been found to improve employee engagement and satisfaction.
Switching to a new voluntary employee benefits platform can offer a range of benefits to a large organization, including significant cost savings, improved employee wellbeing (which can mean retaining talent), and increased efficiencies like simplified benefits administration. However, before committing to this change, a business should painstakingly consider all factors, including all the required fees and necessary effort it will take to make the switch.
Ultimately, large organizations must continually seek to meet the needs of their business and employees by assessing, adjusting, and potentially switching their voluntary benefits platform and offerings.
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