The Benefits of Working with a Benefits Counselor
June 28, 2019 | Martin Arias, Enrollment Manager
Selecting the right benefits package is a big decision, so people often seek input from family or friends when making their selection. Many employees automatically enter plans with the lowest deductibles and highest premiums, but only 11% of those who select these most expensive plans later make the decision to switch to a less costly one.
So how can HR teams make sure employees select the right benefits package?
Enter a benefits counselor, who meets with employees face-to-face to help them determine which plan is the best fit for them and their family.
Winston Benefits sends in-person benefits counselors to employees’ work locations to talk through their options. It’s high-touch, and it works: Employees walk away feeling confident and informed. If you’re considering offering benefits counseling services during open enrollment or for new employees, here are the positive effects we’ve seen firsthand.
Our in-person counselors spend up to 30 minutes on each individual. It’s important to offer personalized time with counselors, who are available to answer questions that may not have been covered in the initial group meeting — or that cover personal matters the employee doesn’t want to address in a group setting.
Individualized attention means better service, and a better selection. In general, it’s hard for anyone to determine what they need in regard to benefits, so just speaking to a counselor — talking about family or health problems — can reduce your employees’ anxiety in a huge way. Because of that individualized attention, your employees will feel confident in their selections.
Overcoming Linguistic Barriers
In many of the employee populations we serve, there is a good-sized group of non-native English speakers. Even those who do speak English as a second language are often more comfortable communicating in their native tongue. Benefits packages can involve a lot of technical language, so it’s easier for them to communicate with someone in their own language. For this reason, our counselors are trained in multiple languages.
Winston also offers a call center with a language line, but we’ve found that most bilingual employees prefer face-to-face communication. It’s a much more comfortable environment, and allows for an intercultural exchange that isn’t available over a phone line. Plus, it’s easier for counselors to pick up on hesitations or misunderstanding in voice and body language when they meet your employees in person.
Trained — and Innate
Benefits counselors are typically retired from the benefits industry, so they’re bringing a wealth of knowledge to bear. It’s really important for your employees to know they’re collaborating with someone both knowledgeable and trustworthy. They usually can answer any question and resolve any concern an employee can throw at them because they have years of background in the industry.
When a counselor is there, they’re truly there to guide employees to make the right choices. What can’t be trained is our counselors’ natural compassion — helping employees select the right package is an instinct, and each perfect choice is a success.