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Employee Benefits Consultants: Understanding Their Role & How to Select the Right Partner

/ April 27, 2023 April 27, 2023

The healthcare world can be incredibly complex and difficult to navigate. Organizations want to offer valuable benefit plans to attract and retain talent while keep costs down. Because of this, it’s important to have an employee benefits consultant that is a trusted advisor, not only consulting on your employee benefits plans, but acting as a true partner that you can turn to whenever you are looking for advice across your business.

The Role of an Employee Benefits Consultant

Employee benefits consultants play a crucial role in plays a crucial role in helping organizations design, implement, and manage their employee benefits programs. Some of the key responsibilities of an employee benefits consultant include:

  1. Analyzing employee benefit plans: Benefits consultants analyze an organization’s current employee benefit plans to identify areas where the organization can improve its benefits offerings. This includes assessing the cost and effectiveness of current plans, as well as identifying emerging trends in the industry. At Exude, we refer to this as our “evaluate” stage. Spending the time upfront to get to know you and your business is critical component to our consulting approach. We review four core areas of your benefits: culture, cost, compliance, and communication. We’ll investigate things like how well your organizational goals are aligned with your benefits strategy, and how your plans compare to the industry.
  2. Recommending benefit plans: Based on their analysis, consultants recommend benefit plans that meet an organization’s goals and objectives. They provide guidance on choosing the right insurance plans, retirement plans, and other benefits that will attract and retain top talent. We call this our “evaluate” stage. Your employee benefits consultant will develop a detailed strategy that directly ties not only to your company’s goals and business plan, but also your company culture and mission.
  3. Negotiating with vendors: Benefits consultants negotiate with vendors on behalf of the organization to secure the best rates and terms for employee benefit plans. At Exude, given that our partnerships are built on our outstanding reputation of in-depth financial analysis, transparency, and integrity, this allows us to negotiate with carriers based on merit and track record. We share with our carriers the same information we share with our clients, which is: a thorough analysis of plan designs, claims data, market trends, and benchmark data.  Using a data-based approach enables efficient and effective conversations resulting in successful outcomes for our clients.
  4. Communicating with employees: Employee benefits consultants work with your organization’s HR department to communicate benefit plan information to employees. They educate employees on the available benefits, enrollment procedures, and any changes to existing plans. Our consultants create a customized strategy based on the needs of your organization. We understand that your organization works hard to provide competitive benefits to your employees and will make sure the true value of your plans is communicated along the way to them. Whether that be through digital communication, postcards, in-person events, or a mix of all of the above, we’ll ensure your employees are up to date on your offerings.
  5. Ensuring compliance: Benefits consultants ensure that the organization’s benefit plans comply with all relevant laws and regulations. They also monitor changes in legislation and adjust benefits plans accordingly.

Exude makes it a priority to keep you ahead of the curve on new and upcoming legislation, especially related to Federal and State laws across the country, the Affordable Care Act and COBRA, HIPAA, ERISA and DOL. Our team will research and translate all the legalese of impactful legislation into a language you and your team can easily understand. We make sure we get the time-sensitive information that you need into your hands through the appropriate channels.

The above topics are just a summary of some of the things an employee benefits consultant should be doing for their clients. Overall, the main role of an employee benefits consultant is to help your organization create a comprehensive employee benefits package that supports employee satisfaction, retention, and wellbeing.

Now that you understand the role of an employee benefits consultant, how do you select the right one?

Selecting an Employee Benefits Consultant

  1. Expertise: Look for a consultant with experience in the employee benefits industry and a deep understanding of the latest trends and regulations. A consultant with expertise in your specific industry can also provide valuable insights and recommendations.
  2. Communication skills: Your consultant should have strong communication skills and be able to clearly explain complex benefit plan options to your organization’s HR department and employees. Effective communication is critical to ensure that employees understand their benefits options and can make informed decisions.
  3. Problem-solving skills: Your benefits consultant should be a skilled problem solver who can identify potential issues with your organization’s current benefit plans and propose effective solutions.
  4. Technology proficiency: Your consultant should be comfortable working with technology and have experience with benefits administration systems. They should be able to provide guidance on selecting and implementing the right technology solutions to support your benefits program.
  5. Reputation: Look for a consultant with a strong reputation in the industry and a track record of success in helping organizations design and manage their employee benefits programs.
  6. Flexibility: Your consultant should be flexible and able to adapt to your organization’s unique needs and goals. They should be willing to work with you to develop a customized benefits program that aligns with your organization’s culture and values.

At Exude, our benefits consultants all have 10+ years of experience and have worked across all industries, geographies, and market segments. They work with organizations to create a strategic benefits program that fits the needs of each unique organization.  They will recommend a strategy that is aligned with your goals, all the while taking into consideration your culture and budget constraints.

If you’re looking for support with your healthcare plans, contact one of our expert employee benefits consultants today!