Key elements of successful global benefits strategies
Having a successful employee benefits package can take a lot of work. They’re not simply “set and forget” measures that magically reduce absenteeism and improve engagement. The most successful international packages are supported by well thought out global benefits strategies which not only seek to improve delivery and take up of your company perks, but also set out to monitor and evaluate the plan’s performance over time.
This week’s Pacific Prime Corporate article has a number of helpful thinking points for you to consider if your company’s renewal date is yet to come this year.
Employee benefits challenges faced by businesses
From Fortune 500 companies to small to medium enterprises, there are some common hurdles all businesses face when it comes to organizing and administering their employee benefits plan. We discussed these in the last section of our recently released State of Health Insurance Report, summarized here:
- Consumer uncertainty around premium pricing
- Ensuring a sustainable benefits plan
- Staying competitive within the market
- Engaging and educating employees on benefits
- Keeping benefits relevant to staff (both full time and part time)
According to Employee Benefits UK, almost half of businesses surveyed spend between 1-to-3% of payroll on providing health-related benefits to their employees. What’s interesting, however, is that only 12% of businesses questioned said they calculate the return on their investment into healthcare benefits spending. When it comes to renewal time, how do you know your getting your money’s worth?
There are a few key elements that all successful global benefits strategies share. Knowing these elements can make it easier for you to assess and manage your company perks throughout the year.
What elements make successful global benefits strategies?
Taking a strategic approach to your employee benefits means putting yourself in a better position to understand and control your offering in the future. Traditionally, insurers and benefits providers would negotiate marginal changes or cost reductions based on claims data and census information that would often leave businesses and their HR teams at a knowledge disadvantage.
Instead, you can strengthen your position at renewal time by ensuring these key elements are included in your global benefits strategy:
HR teams and benefits administrators should be able to offer a comprehensive analysis and review of the claims data that helps key decision makers understand the general performance of the plan. This can include an assessment of a provider’s service levels, an analysis of the claims loss ratio, and an explanation of what position your current benefits plan performance has put your company in when it comes to future premium increases.
While most of this information will be held in your claims data, comparing your plan’s performance to the market will mean knowing about the insurance industry and its players. The more effective strategies have ongoing monitoring throughout the year, with a proactive approach to dealing with any significant circumstances if and when they arise.
Understanding compliance requirements
Knowing what your business’ legal obligations are is also important to your benefits strategy. If you’re operating in a country or location with mandatory health insurance, such as Dubai, then you’ll need to know what sort of benefits are required to avoid being fined. HR and benefits offices will need to be on top of these regulations for each international location you operate in, otherwise your company may find themselves paying for breaches of the law.
Managing costs and expectations
Cost control is one of the biggest focus areas for all players in the health insurance industry. With medical inflation constantly on the rise, it’s important to both insurers and clients that any increases in premiums be acceptable and sustainable in the long term. Clients, however, have a range of different related costs to be concerned with. Taking stock of all benefits-related costs, both current and future, will better prepare your company when it comes to renewal negotiations.
Effective communication and usage plans
Whether you’re making some major changes to your global benefits strategy, or simply tinkering around the edges, a key element to success is ensuring your company can effectively communicate these changes to your staff. An underutilized plan is a waste of money, and an overutilized one means potentially huge premium increases in the future. Controlling how people use their benefits means educating and engaging them about what’s on offer.
This can mean ensuring HR are well supported to answer benefit queries, providing staff with adequate benefit information packs, and planning and delivering staff orientation sessions to ensure effective engagement.
Thinking outside the box
A lot of traditional employee benefits negotiations rely on a to-and-fro between deductibles, networks, benefits on offer, or simply changing insurers year-on-year to secure marginal savings. With the growth of more holistic health and wellbeing benefits, looking at alternatives to traditional health benefits might be one way of helping your company save on costs while still offering engaging and relevant options to staff.
How can I help my company improve our employee benefits strategy?
One way to start the conversation with your HR team, benefits administrator, or senior management is to think about your perks as you would any other strategy; what do we have now, what do we want in future, and how do we get there? In particular, here are a few questions you might ask to help you get the ball rolling:
- Take stock: Are there benefits that aren’t being used that you’re still paying for? Does the insurer make it easy for your staff to make a claim? Are the premium increases you’ve seen with your current provider going to be sustainable in the future?
- Think ahead: What are your company goals and values? Where does your company want to be in the future, and how do you want your benefits to support the people who will take your business there? Are your benefit options diverse and inclusive of your future colleagues?
- Plan effectively: What’s your renewal timeline? What elements do you need to ensure your benefits packages’ success? Can you manage this alone?
Our experience is that the larger companies around the world have a fair idea about how to manage their global benefits strategies, while smaller to medium enterprises can sometimes find themselves swamped with what’s involved. Both, however, have benefitted from having help from an established and expert employee benefits broker.
Better benefits strategies with an effective insurance partner
The number one way to pull all of these pieces together is to use an experienced broker, like Pacific Prime. Our entire policy broker framework is designed to ensure that you, the client, are always in the best position possible when it comes to assessing, administering, or changing your employee benefits package. We’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, and that experience has helped us sharpen our approach to supporting and delivering for corporate clients using an effective benefits strategy.
Our advisors will partner with your management, HR teams, and benefits administrators, and work to connect your company goals with the performance of your perks. Whether it’s to rejuvenate your workforce, reward high achievers, or improve your reputation as an employer-of-choice in your industry, let our consultants support your benefits strategy, and find your company a package that meets your exact needs.
Have us come for one meeting and you’ll learn why Pacific Prime is the number one partner for both businesses and benefits providers around the world. Our reputation for simplifying insurance is one we’re absolutely committed to, and if you give us a chance, we’ll show you why. Contact our team to find out more today or visit our Corporate website to learn more.