If you’re looking to outsource some of your benefits administration, it might feel like your choices are endless. You’ll need to follow a few steps to narrow the field down and find the vendor that’s right for you.
Throughout your process, the most important thing to determine is whether you get along with the people you’ll be working with. Having a partner to help with benefits administration doesn’t mean you’ll be setting up a tech platform and then ignoring it; you’ll be working with experts who can give you insights into how to offer better benefits packages, how to communicate about benefits to employees and how to provide the best service you can. Look for people who could become a strong part of your team — if you make the right choice, this is what will happen.
Here’s how to review vendors when you’re looking for help with benefits administration.
Prepare Your Side of Things
First, set a goal. Knowing what you want help with and why will help you determine the kind of partner who will be a good fit. Do you want to offload processes and management, or only certain tasks? Do you want a full-time partner, or someone who can come in only at busy times, such as open enrollment?
At this point you’ll also want to set a budget and identify a point person on your end. Taking care of these details early on can help prevent confusion or misunderstandings down the road.
Establish a Clear RFP
As with any business relationship, you’ll need to put together a detailed request for proposals. Some of the things you should ask for include business requirements, a vendor profile, employee information, methodology, infrastructure and technology. Use the goals you set earlier to determine which partners might be the best fit for your organization.
Do Your Due Diligence
At this point your search might feel a little like a hiring process. Once you’ve narrowed the field down to a few options, you’ll want to dig deeper into what these companies are like. What kind of businesses do these vendors usually serve? Are they similar to your business, or would yours be new for them? Who does the work and what is their background? If possible, see if potential partners can give you an idea about who you would be working with regularly.
Examine Their Tech
Don’t let technology derail what could be an otherwise strong partnership. Loop in your IT department to determine how customizable the technology might be on your system and how well it can integrate. Analytics and reporting will be key as well, so ask for a test run of the system if possible.
Get to Know the People
While you’ve been dealing with the vendor throughout the vetting process, take some time to really get to know the human side of the organization. What are its mission and values? Do you share common ground? What does it look for when it hires? In the end, people make an organization, so you’ll need to find a company that has the people you feel comfortable relying on for expert advice throughout the year.
Winston Benefits is an HR solutions company that helps businesses enhance and optimize employee benefit plans, enrich compensation and rewards programs, and save money on benefits communication, enrollment and administration. Contact us to learn more.