With rising healthcare costs and a competitive job market, offering a comprehensive benefits package has grown increasingly important. Unfortunately, crafting a well-balanced benefits package can be complicated.
The percentage of employers in California offering health care benefits declined from 69 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2020, according to the California Health Care Almanac. Today, employees are also burdened with paying a larger percentage of their health expenses with higher copays, deductibles, and premiums.
In an ever-evolving business landscape, more employers are recognizing the importance of supporting the productivity and well-being of employees and turning to employee benefits consultants to provide insights, expertise and valuable resources.
With help from a reputable employee benefits consultant, California businesses can effectively design, implement and manage competitive benefits packages that align with their budget, company goals and employee needs.
What Does an Employee Benefits Consultant Do Anyway?
Employee benefits consultants work closely with organizations to advise them on employee benefits matters, such as suitable health plans, retirement funds and insurance policies for their business.
Benefits consultants use industry knowledge to discuss benefits packages and plan options with organizations to help them develop benefits packages that will help attract and retain talent. They also perform internal reviews and utilize data analysis programs to help businesses better understand how implementing certain benefits could help or harm their profits.
Examples of duties and responsibilities performed by employee benefits consultants include:
- Meeting with clients to discuss their unique needs
- Assessing a company’s current benefit offerings
- Determining what benefits to prioritize based on the company’s financial situation
- Recommending a selection of benefits options
- Following up with businesses to measure the plan’s level of success
Responsibilities of an Employee Benefits Strategy
Employee benefits can empower organizations to attract and retain talented employees. However, developing a successful employee benefits strategy requires the knowledge of an experienced employee benefits consultant.
With guidance from a consultant, businesses can craft an employee benefits strategy that gives them a competitive edge and supports the physical, mental and emotional needs of workers.
An employee benefits strategy should perform several key responsibilities:
- Evaluate the needs of employees. Request feedback from workers on what they want to see improved or added to their current benefits offerings.
- Assess business goals. Organizations should understand their main business goals and how maximizing benefits could help them reach these goals faster.
- Review finances. Employers must know how much they can realistically allocate toward their benefits program.
- Provide employees with options. Workers are more likely to remain loyal to a company that offers flexible benefits that meet their evolving needs.
Expertise in Employee Benefits Strategy
Employee benefits consultants can deliver organizations with the knowledge and expertise needed to help them make informed decisions regarding their employee benefits plans.
When searching for an employee benefits consultant in California, employers should look for a professional with a proven track record and a deep understanding of their specific industry.
Reputable employee benefits consultants will provide clients with testimonials when requested, along with case studies. Businesses can also ask for references from the consultant’s existing clients to gain greater insight into their level of performance.
Working with an employee benefits consultant can provide businesses with an outsider’s perspective. Some businesses may be oblivious to their flaws, making them more susceptible to financial losses. Hiring a consultant with expertise in employee benefits strategy can encourage organizations to take the proper approach when developing their benefits plan.
The Employee Benefits Consulting Process for California Businesses
Today, employee benefits consulting is the key to attracting the best talent, staying competitive and ensuring business success. According to a Forbes Advisor survey, 40 percent of employers believe that workers are willing to leave their job to find employment that offers better benefits.
California businesses looking to improve their current benefits offerings should consider how the consulting process could benefit their organization. The employee benefits consulting process involves a series of important steps, including:
- Identifying business objectives
- Analyzing client risk profile
- Performing comprehensive opportunities analysis
- Establishing benchmarks and analyzing plan performance
- Developing strategies to enhance plan performance and cut costs
- Monitoring plan performance to track its success
Employee Benefits Package Assessment
Many employers underestimate the importance of routine benefits package assessments. The needs and expectations of employees change over time and today’s businesses must keep pace or risk falling behind their competitors.
Evaluating their benefits package is one way that employers can determine where improvements can be made and how to attract new talent without negatively impacting their budget.
Employee benefits package assessments are an important step in the employee benefits consulting process. When performing this type of assessment on behalf of a business, there are several things that employee benefits consultants look at, such as what is covered by the plan, what is the cost share, how extensive is the healthcare provider network, and how much are premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copays.
Employee benefits consultants will also look at what benefits are actually needed by employees, and which are going vastly unused. For example, a consultant may discover that health insurance with a lower monthly premium instead of a lower deductible would be better suited for a workforce that is younger and requires less health care.
Identifying Gaps and Areas for Improvement
When performing an employee benefits package assessment, consultants may identify gaps and areas for improvement. While some companies choose to only offer the basics, others opt to include unique offerings that help them stand out from their competitors.
To determine which approach is right for a specific company, a consultant will analyze employee demographics and the specific needs of workers. Employee benefits consultants recognize that these needs often shift over time and will recommend assessments as an ongoing exercise.
Other ways to identify gaps in benefits and areas of improvement are to obtain feedback directly from employees, benchmark against industry standards, and explore emerging trends, such as student loan assistance, mental health support and flexible work arrangements.
Advantages of Working with a California Employee Benefits Broker
Working with an experienced California employee benefits broker can be highly advantageous for modern organizations. These professionals can deliver in-depth knowledge and expertise of the benefits landscape, including information on healthcare, wellness programs, retirement plans and more. Benefits brokers also stay up to date on regulatory changes, industry trends and best practices.
Companies can count on California employee benefits brokers to provide tailored benefits solutions that align with their goals, unique culture and workforce demographics. Experienced brokers work closely with employers to craft custom benefits solutions that address key concerns and meet employee expectations.
Most importantly, a California employee benefits broker can help businesses stay competitive by developing a strategy that is tailored to the company’s needs and goals.
Understanding of California Compliance Laws
California’s labor and employment laws are complex and can be difficult to understand. In California, employers face broader anti-discrimination protections, paid family leave insurance, a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave. Employers must also comply with certain municipal laws that have an impact on the employment relationship.
One of the biggest advantages of hiring an employee benefits consultant is gaining a better understanding of California’s compliance laws. Employee benefits consultants have extensive knowledge of all state regulatory agencies that manage the state’s employment laws, including the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Labor Commissioner’s Office and the Department of Industrial Relations.
Consultants can also provide guidance as to what employee benefits are legally required in California, such as family and medical leave and paid sick time, as well as information on remote work reimbursement for employees that have necessary work-related costs.
Addressing the Unique Needs of California Employees
While the advantages of offering a competitive employee benefits package cannot be understated, many employers struggle to craft a benefits package that attracts and retains top talent. When developing a benefits package, it is important to address the unique needs of California employees.
When assessing employee benefits, employers should consider what makes the most sense for their employees. For example, the benefits preferences of a younger generation of workers will likely differ from a workforce of baby boomers. Many companies use direct approaches, such as one-on-one conversations or surveys, to gain the perspective of workers.
It is also important for companies to remember that as their employee population changes over time, they must be willing to make modifications to their benefits offerings. This will allow the business to remain competitive and ensure that employees get the benefits they need as they grow in age and in their careers.
Maximizing the Return on Investment
An important component of the employee benefits consulting process is measuring and monitoring the business’s return on investment (ROI). This often starts with establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with the company’s goals.
These KPIs should include a variety of metrics, such as employee turnover rates, employee engagement and satisfaction, healthcare utilization, absenteeism rates, productivity metrics and cost savings.
Due to rising costs in the industry, companies should consider performing evaluations on a routine basis to continue to find areas of improvement. California employee benefits consultants can provide companies with valuable insights and ways to optimize their benefits packages and cut costs.
Protect Your California Business with Employee Benefits Consulting from New City
A great employee benefits package shows employees that the company they work hard for appreciates their efforts and is willing to invest in their health, family and future. Employee benefits consultants can help streamline this process by helping organizations maximize their benefits and keep employees happy, healthy and productive.