Job seekers today are looking for more than just the right salary; they’re interested in working for companies that can offer a well-rounded array of benefits.

From affordable insurance to family-friendly perks and ample paid time off, job seekers are looking to future employers to provide additional advantages and resources. When it comes to accepting a position, these benefits can be just as important as how much money they’re being offered. In fact, a recent study from LinkedIn reported that the number one reason Millennials choose to leave their jobs is for both better compensation and better benefits.

Employers are learning that to attract high-quality candidates and continue to retain current employees, they need to level up their benefits packages. But many employers don’t have time to pour over websites, pamphlets and documents to put together the most competitive benefits package for their company.

That’s where employee benefits providers can step in and take the stress of creating and implementing the perfect employee benefits program off of your plate. But with so many companies and styles of providers on the market, how can you know which one is the best fit for you?

Let’s take a closer look at the different styles of providers and what questions you should be asking to choose the right one for your business.

What Is an Employee Benefits Provider?

An employee benefits provider is a service or broker that helps you navigate the (oftentimes confusing) world of employer insurance and benefits. Depending on the type of service, this could include health insurance, medical insurance, paid time off, paid sick leave, pensions and retirement accounts.

Not only do providers walk you through potential benefits options for your company, but they can also keep track of your employees’ benefits usage and make certain that your benefits programs comply with governmental regulations.

There are several major types of employee benefits providers, including:

· Insurance Companies: If you’re ready to do the research, you can work directly with insurance companies to find the plan that works best for your company in terms of different benefit offerings and your budget.

· Insurance Company Brokers: Major insurance companies often have agents or representatives that help broker deals between employers. When choosing this route, these representatives will help you choose from a variety of insurance programs to decide which works best for your business.

· Benefits Administration Software Vendors: These platforms allow you to search for the programs that are a good fit for your organization and create a custom plan. Depending on the platform, they offer several different features to you and your employees, such as dashboards to keep track of benefits and paid time off or one-on-one consulting with licensed brokers if you have questions about your program.

· Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs): PEOs are often a good solution for smaller businesses because of just how much they take over for your company. These organizations essentially become a company’s new human resources department, handling things like payroll, taxes, onboarding and more. And, most importantly, they’ll take benefits administration and tracking off of your plate.

Choosing the style of employee benefits provider that’s a good fit for your business depends on what you’re looking for from a provider. For example, if you’re looking for a more hands-off approach and you have a strong background of experience in employee benefits, perhaps working directly with insurance companies or through a software vendor is a smart choice for you.

Or, say you’re looking for more from an employee benefits provider. Some service providers go beyond focusing on just benefits and can do more with your company’s data. For example, IPMG’s In-Sight 360 integrates your employee benefits data with workers’ compensation and absenteeism analytics to create a proactive, data-driven approach to improve your employees’ overall health and wellbeing.

Now that we’ve established the different types of employee benefits providers, let’s look at the key points you should be discussing with potential providers to make sure it’s going to be a successful partnership.

How to Choose an Employee Benefits Provider

No matter which style of employee benefits provider you decide is a good fit for your organization, it’s important to make sure they have all the resources and tools you’ll need to create and establish a successful employee benefits program.

To find out if a potential provider offers what you’re looking for, here are the questions you need to ask:

· Do you offer all of the services I’m looking to provide in my benefits package? The most popular benefits offered by companies include health insurance, paid time off, dental insurance, retirement plans and vision insurance. If you’re interested in providing different benefits (ex. life insurance or pet insurance) it’s important to make this clear as you discuss your program with potential providers.

· Are you certified? Your employee benefits provider must be licensed to work in any state where your company resides. As you’re researching potential providers, you can also check with the state insurance commissioner to see if any disciplinary actions have been filed against them.

· What experience do you have in my field? If you’re working in a specific industry that may require a more nuanced look into employee benefits, ask potential providers what kind of background they have working with companies like yours.

· How will you keep my benefits program compliant? Laws surrounding employment, employee insurance and retirement funds are subject to change. If you’re going to work with an employee benefits provider, inquire about their system for making sure that benefits stay compliant with changing laws. It’s important to ask questions like, “How familiar are you with ACA requirements? Who will be in charge of making sure my program stays compliant with all laws? How will you inform me when changes have to be made?”

· Are you a data-driven benefits provider? The more data you have about your program, the more power you have in your choice. Ask your potential provider what kinds of data you’ll be able to access regarding your benefits program, and the types of analytics you’ll receive. This type of information can help you make more informed choices about your benefits program each year and could even save you money in the future.

· How easy is it to reach you? Even if your team is technologically driven, it’s still important to have someone to directly reach out to if you have a specific question or an emergency that needs to be addressed. Is your provider going to be accessible? Are they working independently, or do they have a team that can also assist you? Will they be able to help you with company-wide initiatives like open enrollment and answer questions that your team members might have on choosing a benefits package?

· What makes you stand out as a provider? Some providers can offer more features than others. Does your broker have a team of underwriters, medical doctors and analysts to support them? Do they simply have a background in employee benefits, or do they have additional tools to help your employees prioritize their health and wellness? What are they offering that makes them different from other providers on the market?

By asking questions like these to potential providers, you’ll be able to narrow down your list in order to find one that is just right for your company.

Work With the Right Provider

When it comes down to it, it’s important to choose an employee benefits provider that you can trust – one that has the tools, resources and team that can help you best support your employees.

At IPMG, our goal is to always go above and beyond in our service to our clients. If you’re looking for a provider that is as committed to the success of your employee benefits program as you are, our Employee Benefits Services could be the solution you need.