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Offering a great benefits plan for your employees is important one of the most important initiatives you can do as an employer. Strong employee benefits help attract and retain top talent, allows your business to stay competitive amongst your competitive from a total compensation standpoint, and most significantly helps you care for the valued members of your team who work hard to help grow the organization, supporting them wherever life happens to take them.

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The question many employers have is how they can offer the best possible group benefits program and continue to stay on top of the changes within the industry each year. We understand that in the changing HR and group benefits landscape offering innovative and up-to-date programs can be challenging for many reasons. Some employers are concerned about ever-increasing costs of benefit programs, others wonder if what they offer is in step with what their employees really want from the program.

If you’ve been wondering how to improve your group benefits program, take a few of these steps.

Audit the Needs of Your Employees

Step one to strengthening your group benefits program is to learn about your employees and their needs through an internal survey. What do your employees think of what you offer them? Which benefits do they like, and which ones could they do without? Are there some they value more than others, or some they’d like you to add that perhaps are missing.

Conducting a short internal survey can help you determine how well your current group benefits program is meeting your employees’ needs and also shows that you have a vested interest in making sure your employees have the best benefits program that works for everyone. Surveys should be conducted often as can be done easily through a number of freemium survey software’s like SurveyMonkey or Formstack. Be sure to implement a process for following up on survey results as well. Conducting regular reviews of your benefits program is a great idea.

Human Resources Information System

The next thing you should consider is how easy it can be to administer & manage benefits using an HR software. Is your HR staff spending hours processing claims, or can they be processed and sent to the insurance carrier with a couple of clicks? Do your employees have access to a self-service portal?

Improving the technology you use to deliver your group benefits program is key to easing the administrative burden of it. A human resource information system can help you here. The HRIS makes it easier to keep track of benefits trends, automatically update carriers with employee profile updates, and even add compliance in your business. By collecting this information, you can make more informed decisions about how to better support your employees.                                    

Finding a Better Carrier Fit

If you’re using an HRIS, you should know this technology has made it easier than ever to switch carriers if your business is looking for a change. If your benefits provider doesn’t provide the best for your business’s unique needs any longer, there has been a change inside your business or simply it’s time for a change, there’s no reason you should feel obligated to stay with them. Instead, make the switch. Typically switching carriers can create additional work, such as re-carding employees, new enrolment process, and data transfers. However with an HRIS that has carrier connective, switching has never been easier.

Switching carriers can help your benefits program grow even stronger. First, you may be able to lower costs or create more value in the program. A new structure or a different benefits package could be the right solution for your dynamic and unique employees. You may even get better customer service. Finally, you’ll be able to provide the right benefits for your employees, which is really all that matters.

Speak to a Broker

If you’re struggling to find the time for your benefits program or you’re just not sure what options are available for you, it could be time to talk to a benefits broker. By partnering with a broker, you can leverage their experience and expertise to discover the best options on the benefits market.

The benefits broker may be able to point you towards a carrier with better benefits offerings for your business, or they may help you review the structure of your plan to give your employees more flexibility. A broker can help you build an even better group benefits program for your employees.

What Should You Do?

As an employer, you want to offer your employees a group benefits program they want, need, and will make use of. Considering the different generations that you may have within your organization, their individual needs, and what is best suited for the future as the landscape continues to change within group benefits.

The fact remains, it is important to continue to look at what group benefits are the best for your business, work with the right technology, and brokers to ensure you remain competitive and your program for your employees.


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Margaret Reid

As the senior vice-president of Apri Insurance Services Inc., Margaret is a benefits consultant and manager of technical support. She has almost 40 years of experience in employee benefits as well as processing health and dental claims, benefits administration, and client service and groups sales. Margaret worked at Crown Life, a major insurance carrier, for 20 years, then worked at CG&B as the manager of their group department. She moved to B.Comm Financial Insurance Solutions in 2007, which merged with several other benefit consulting companies in 2011 to create Apri Insurance Services Inc. Margaret has unintentionally followed in her father’s footsteps. He was a group sales rep with Crown Life when she was a child and helped her get her first job in group insurance, which led to her current career path.

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