5 Questions Small Businesses Need to Ask when Choosing a Benefits Plan

Posted by Douglas Hynek on November 25th, 2015

Employee BenefitsJust like any business owner, small business owners know that a benefits plan can be essential to achieving business goals, like attracting and retaining key employees. However, small businesses face unique challenges when determining whether to offer a benefits plan to their employees, and which plan to offer if they choose to go forward.

Historically, small businesses haven’t had access to the same benefits options as larger corporations, leaving them with a plan that doesn’t adequately serve their needs. On top of this, small business owners can find the cost and time requirements associated with managing a benefits plan prohibitive.

Fortunately, the group benefits landscape has vastly changed in recent years. Benefits providers have recognized this underserved market and are offering more accessible plans for small business owners and their employees. Now it’s simply a matter of determining the right plan!

We suggest small business owners ask themselves these questions before sourcing out a benefits plan.

5 Questions to Ask before Choosing a Group Benefits Solution

  1. Why am I interested in offering a benefits plan to my employees?

It’s important to establish the reasons at the heart of your decision to offer a group insurance plan. Do you believe you have a moral duty as an employer to provide benefits, or is it a wholly utilitarian strategy to attract better employees?

  1. What are my main goals for this plan?

Once you know your motivation – why you are going to offer a benefits plan – you should ask yourself about your specific goals.

Here are a few examples of business goals for benefits plans:

  • Be a competitive employer in your industry offering benefits comparable or better than the average plan
  • Attract better employees
  • Retain employees
  • Reward employees
  • Flexibility or maintain stability in rates as the priority?

You may think all of these goals sound good, but choose your top one or two to help bring focus to which plan options will be best for you.

  1. What are my employees’ current needs? How will they change over time?

You may have a diverse group of employees at a variety of stages in their lives (young professionals, employees with young families, employees approaching retirement-age, etc.) or you may have a relatively similar group. Either way, consider your employees as they are now. What are they likely to need? What benefits and options will be most important to those employees now, and in the foreseeable future?

This question can be difficult to answer. It’s a great topic to review with your potential benefits advisor who may have clients similar to you.

  1. What is my budget?

This is always an important consideration. Along with your objectives, your budget is one of the key determining factors in which a benefits plan is ideal for you. For example, you may want to consider cost-sharing with employees if your budget is a concern.

  1. What questions should I ask my potential benefits advisor?

You should have full confidence that your group insurance advisor understands your needs and will operate in your best interests. In our previous blog, “7 Questions to Ask when Choosing a New Benefits Advisor”, we offer key questions that will help you establish trust and transparency with advisors – and get a sense of which advisors aren’t being honest with you!

New group insurance options are available for small business owners. Define what type of solution you are looking for, and work with your benefits advisor to come up with a plan that is right for your business.

>> HFG is happy to sit down with you and discuss your group insurance needs, goals, and budget. We will provide you with a detailed analysis of which benefits plans best suit your needs. Get in touch with an HFG advisor today to get started!

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About Douglas Hynek

Douglas Hynek, Principal Advisor at HFG, has over 10 years of experience in group and individual insurance design. He specializes in crafting and managing employee benefit and retirement strategies for small to mid-sized businesses, as well as financial and insurance planning for business owners and executives.

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