If I was to ask you to describe the responsibilities that fall within the role of today’s employee benefits consultant… what would you say?
Often people will simplify this response with: cost control, access to market rates, and prompt resolution of issues or problems. Most of these are driven by bottom line needs and they may not truly reflect the real issues or the real risks that have not been exposed. They may not know what they are missing.
We need to consider what is driving the bulk of benefits cost and indirect losses to productivity and absence? To me, we need to focus on the fact that the main cost driver for today and long term is the physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Utilization of drugs and other services is very much a function of lifestyle and over the long term we can turn workplace culture in a direction that supports healthy habits and behaviours.
The responsibility of a benefits consultant is most certainly a matter of mitigating risk and controlling cost – but we need to talk about employee health and have an unbiased view to the various wellness solutions available to us. Organizations should depend on this integrated and independent advice. In fact, they should demand education that will clarify the problem and then explore customized solutions that fit within a longer term strategy.
Does this make sense to you?