As a competitive masters swimmer, I like to draw a parallel comparison of how my preparation for the big swim meets matches the planning and execution necessary for the “biggest meet of the year” with our clients, also known as the renewal process.
An adviser’s role is similar to a coach’s job when it comes to the preparation and performance of an employee benefits program. Just as there is variation in stroke and technique, not all organizations need the same benefits, services or solutions in their employee benefits program. Here are 3 ways in which your consultant would benefit from thinking like a competitive sports coach:
Good coaches, like good advisers, must be great listeners.
They understand what makes their athletes perform at their highest level so they can develop a training plan to maximize their performance. Benefits consultants must understand market options, company culture, budgeting constraints and industry benchmarks to develop a winning strategy for every customer.
Sports technique and equipment is like compliance involving penalties vs. disqualifications.
Sports technique and equipment are continually evolving. What was legal in the past might get an athlete disqualified today. I have embraced change in all my strokes not only to stay legal and avoid disqualification but also to swim faster and more efficiently. Similarly, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought numerous requirements that carriers and employers must abide by to stay in compliance.
Plan designs have had to evolve to stay compliant with the new mandates. Employers need a savvy adviser to help them navigate the treacherous waters of the ACA.
Preparation for a meet is like preparing for the annual renewal – it is the execution of a well-prepared action plan.
Athletes prepare for the competition by executing a well-planned training program, starting months or even years in advance. It is important for athletes to test themselves throughout this process by participating in regular events before the big day. When the major event arrives, an athlete is executing as they planned all along. I like to equate the renewal of a health plan as the execution of a well-planned program. A good adviser has a pulse on how a plan is performing throughout the year to prepare for the renewal date. Part of this preparation involves claims analysis, predictive modeling, wellness initiatives, employee education and much more.
What does winning look like?
Winning in sports is much more than placing first. Winning is posting a personal best time regardless of placement.
Winning is a healthy body and mind. It’s a healthy workforce. Winning is having the confidence and peace of mind that your company is meeting compliance requirements and that your adviser will provide guidance on matters related to the ACA. Winning is no administrative headaches.
Winning in the employee benefits arena is aligning with a consultant who leads you to improved and affordable benefits that are understood and appreciated by your employees. To find out more about how to develop an employee benefits strategy that succeeds, contact your OneDigital consultant.