Should my people system connect with my benefits brokerage?

January 10, 2018

Category: Zenefits, Benefits

benefits and tech connect

The majority of companies properly employ the teams that support their people. These teams are turning into strategic weapons for the business, and as a result, making the companies they support much more successful.

There are two attributing trends:

  • The term “HR” is fading. Cultural leaders and metrics-driven experts are taking over with a mission to improve the company’s number one asset, it’s people.
  • Paper is gone. Experience with the best systems and tools for enablement is the new prerequisite for a successful workforce.

As a result, it naturally makes sense that brokerages and the benefits they supply need to be deeply ingrained and augmentative of the cultural strategy and the systems utilized to meet this demand.   

Seeing this bridge develop isn’t just about improvement, it’s become an expectation of today’s best employees. They see it as a reflection of the company’s investment in them as the “why should I work for you” economy continues to grow.

Building bridges: how does it start?

Let’s be clear on how it starts. Most comprehensive solutions are sold and installed by the technology company and not the brokerage firm. However, a brokerage firm who can promote, support, and work seamlessly within a good comprehensive platform is a powerful combination.

The best companies and brokerages are executing this well and here’s how.

The brokerages have access and are trained to use real-time data: According to Jellyvision, 55% of employees want help understanding their benefits options, among other areas of improvement. They want more guidance, but they want it on a self-service basis. Good systems allow for this, but the brokerage and company are challenged to support this need without proper integrations. Below are a few examples of how real-time data provides that bridge for brokerages:

  • Recognize hiring trends that might affect benefits packages and provide better services, newly needed products, or networks to support these upcoming changes. This can also have a major impact on the fiscals for the benefit packages; staying proactive will appeal to your CFO.
  • Allow service offerings for other life events that happen on a system and could be otherwise overlooked by a brokerage firm such as marriage, home purchase, a growing family, job title change, or residential location movement.  
  • Performance reviews are often associated with salary changes (w/potential tax bracket changes) and would require important financial wellness guidance. With the latest tax law on the table, this becomes even more critical.
  • Employees need help, as these changes can happen at any point in the year. It’s not effective to only address these important life decisions during the over-informative and hardly retained Annual Open Enrollment period.
Bonus: There are additional compliance enhancements as well. As an example, for a broker and company to execute ACA reporting, they’ll need access and aggregation of the benefits system, payroll, time, and HR records. A comprehensive software will allow for easier and more accurate support of compliance requirements.

The brokerage is inserted into the communication process alongside the company’s strategy and through the platform:

  • Kicking off a communication campaign within the system-of-record software at relevant times (e.g., performance reviews) is a great service that employees love.
  • You’ll need to respect HIPAA and work with the company’s people team to establish a contact center or direct the employees to a hub for more information. This is a great place to start.
  • This strategy also allows for the company and the brokerage to have visibility into what’s happening, what’s working, what’s not, and when to take action.

These are examples of meeting people where they are at work and in life. The companies and brokerage firms who embrace this model are becoming wildly popular to the audience who matters most, the employees and their families. When you give a great experience, everyone wins.

Providing high-touch service in a digital retail experience for your employees can be accomplished by integrating the benefits brokerage with the people software.

Want to get in touch? Shoot me an email at


Tim Cerimele is co-founder of the Zenefits Insurance Advisory Board. He has 10 years of experience as a benefits consultant, manager, and director of operations at a national benefit firm. Recently, Tim has been focused on the ACA's impact, access to care behind new and unique health plan contracting and benefits technology.

Category: Zenefits, Benefits

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