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benefits vendor managementWorking with multiple vendors on your company’s benefits can sometimes feel like a double-edged sword. Vendors are there to help, but managing several of them can be overwhelming, as well as be a drag on your resources. It takes effort to smooth vendor management, but it’s worth it. Here are some tips to help you manage your benefits vendors.

Set the stage.

Vendors don’t like to guess about your organization’s stats, mission, objectives or future. Sharing information about your objectives with your vendors will help them better serve you and provide the value you’re looking for. Be able to articulate what your priorities are when it comes to the benefits they’re offering -- are you looking to use benefits to retain high performers, or are you readjusting your recruitment strategy? Providing this information to your vendors will give them a map to provide you with what you need.

Open it up.

As part of better communication, consider inviting vendor representatives to strategy sessions regarding the services they provide. The vendors you chose have expert knowledge that may help you develop new tactics and goals for your benefits plan. Inviting them into your strategy sessions can help build a common goal and keep you on the same page. In addition, let your vendors know about the work other vendors are doing to avoid doubling up on efforts -- or costs.

Think long-term.

While benefits vendors can help provide quick results on your benefits plan, be sure to take the long view when you’re working with them. The longer you work with vendors, the better they will understand your business and be able to help put together products and services that provide value to you and your employees. Switching vendors out may solve problems you have in the short-term, but building a long-term relationship is best.

Understand them.

Take the time to get educated on what your vendors can do for you. Check in occasionally to see if they have new offers or plans that will be advantageous to your organization. Ask questions and try to understand their side of the relationship. Knowing what they can do for your will help you get the most out of their offerings.

Look for value.

All organizations look to save money where they can. But don’t let that drive every relationship you have. You get what you pay for, and trying to lowball benefits vendors or pitting them against each other can result in poor service, limited offerings and confusion. You want your vendors to be able to handle any of the tough or critical situations you might have when it comes to your benefits -- be ready to pay for the level of service you and your employees deserve.

Look for help.

Effectively managing your relationships with your insurance vendors might mean getting someone to help. The changes brought about by the ACA and a renewed focus on benefits for retention and recruitment may mean that working with multiple vendors is just too much for your organization. Don’t avoid working with vendors -- instead, consider outsourcing vendor management or working with vendors who manage multiple aspects of benefits enrollment and support.

Working with multiple vendors can be a challenge. Working with a vendor who provides comprehensive solutions for benefits management can help free you from having to juggle multiple vendors.

Download the White Paper - Health Care Reform and Voluntary Benefits

Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compesation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.

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