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How to Build a 2019 Benefits StrategyApart from setting personal resolutions, the start of a new year is a perfect time to take stock, regroup and resolve to improve your company’s benefits strategy. However, any resolution you make will first call for a degree of self-awareness — it requires you to step back and take another look at where you are and where you want to go; at what your strengths have been and where you want to improve.

Start here to gain a fresh perspective of your company’s goals and how your benefits support them. Use what you discover to begin building a strong benefits strategy in 2019.

Consider Your Mission and Your Business Goals

Everything your company does — benefits included — stems from its mission and identity. Start building your 2019 benefits strategy by looking closely at your mission, tying it back to your business goals and seeing how your company is supporting those goals and mission from a social, financial and benefits standpoint.

Think back to why your company first decided that offering voluntary benefits was a priority, and assess whether the benefits you’ve been offering are achieving what you hoped they would.

Think About Your Resources and Budget

Once you have a clearer view of how you want your benefits to support your overall business strategy, assess what’s realistic. Define your budget and what you have available to spend on benefits for the year.

In addition to financial resources, look at your staffing to see if you have enough people on your team to successfully administer and implement your program. Also, think about new technologies that could help you boost enrollment, communication and compliance.

If you’re launching a benefits program from scratch, you might want to bring in a broker for a few quotes. If you implement benefits in-house then even small changes might take months. Outsourcing some of your benefits implementation might help. Whichever route you choose, there will be costs and benefits.

What Are Your Employees’ Benefits Needs?

Assess what your employees need and want. Review your enrollment numbers, who’s enrolling, at what rate and in what plans. Look back to see if your employees have been asking for more help with using their benefits or for more education to understand them.

If employee well-being is a valued part of your company culture, your voluntary benefits should reflect that. Define how well your current benefits are helping achieve your desired company culture, and whether they’re helping you build employee loyalty and trust. In addition to taking a closer look at employees’ needs, get the lay of the land of what your competitors are doing, what’s changing in terms of tax laws and regulations, and what’s happening in the broader world of employee benefits.

Select Your Benefits Program and Plan

With this prep work done, start building a benefits program for the year that weighs issues and risks, and that addresses employees’ needs while taking company resources into account. Customize where possible, and try to make the enrollment experience seamless.

As you plan your 2019 benefits strategy, think beyond the year itself to consider longer-term goals. Define how you’ll measure the impact of the strategy you’ve built and the changes you’ve made. Above all, be sure you’re on track to achieve the future state your company desires.


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