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Broker, Consultant or Advisor?

© Can Stock Photo / kbuntu

Broker, Consultant, Advisor – which should you choose?  It isn’t the title that matters as much as the approach, expertise, advise and willingness to listen that separates the superior advisors from the merely average.   To get the most value out of your employee benefit program, it is important that you invest as much time in finding the right partner as you do in selecting your benefit plans.

For the sake of this article, I am going to use the term “partner” because the title really doesn’t matter.  You want a partner that is focused on your company and your needs, not just meeting a sales quota and checking in with you once a year.  Your partner will want to understand how your company operates, what value it places on the satisfaction and retention of your employees, and how a properly designed plan can help you achieve these goals.

It is likely that the employee benefits program offered by your company is one of the single largest line item expenses right up there with payroll.  Did you know that Starbucks spends more annually on employee benefits than on coffee beans?

The least expensive plan is not always the best solution if it doesn’t fit into your overall objectives.  Plans should always be competitively priced for what is being delivered, but a great partner will show you how the costs of plans are not always the only way to achieve your goals.

How do you find the right partner?  Here are a few suggestions and questions to consider:

  • The best consulting happens off-anniversary – Take the time to select the correct partner away from the traditional renewal time to allow the conversation to focus on who can help you prepare a renewal strategy and manage the process.
  • What does their process look like? Ask to see an example of their consulting process.  If it is nothing more than a spreadsheet, move on.
  • Do they have the resources to assist you with compliance, HR concerns, employee satisfaction, eligibility and more?
  • Check their LinkedIn profile or feed. Are they sharing useful content and engaging in thought leadership?
  • What is their position on transparency? Do they fully disclose all compensation and explain their value proposition before the sale?

Selecting the right partner will help you avoid the trap of constantly chasing dollars and put you in a position truly manage your benefits program in a way that will positively impact your company.