Employers are Seeking Help from their Brokers to Address Workplace Trends

Jan 14, 2019
| Jan Kaupas
Employers Seek Broker Expertise with Workplace Trends

Due to the difficulties employers today face with HR, compliance, recruiting, and retention, many employers (especially small businesses) are turning to their brokers to help advise them on these challenges.

There is no denying the vital role brokers have today when it comes to their assisting their clients.

Where brokers were once seen as advisors around just benefits, they are now also being tasked by clients to help them with workplace and employee trends according to a new report from MetLife.

Let’s dive into the results from this survey and what they mean for brokers moving forward.

Clients Have Shifting Expectations for the Role of their Broker

MetLife’s 2018 Broker Study: Why Broker Expertise Matter Now More than Ever details how the role of benefits brokers continues to evolve as being an employer grows more challenging.

The study was conducted from May to June 2018 and was taken by 750 brokers through interviews. These were brokers who work with clients on group life, dental, disability, and voluntary benefits for at least half their book.

The first result from the survey found that brokers are optimistic about their role in the future of benefits. Around 75% said the workplace will look different in the near future, but that the changes will be positive. Additionally, 80% said that the industry and their firm will grow with these workplace changes.

Next, the survey reveals one of the main drivers for this growth – broker expertise. Currently, 44% of brokers are advising clients on employee and workplace trends. However, 79% expect the demand for assistance with these trends to increase in the future.

The study also reveals the percentage of employers who would turn to their broker for expertise in various areas of HR:
  • Cost savings – 64%
  • Innovative benefits solutions – 60%
  • Benefits administration solutions – 58%
  • Legal, regulatory, and compliance solutions – 58%
  • Insights on benefits trends – 57%

Brokers Still Play a Critical Role in Employee Benefits

Despite employers turning to their brokers for assistance with various HR needs, benefits continue to be an important area. Here are some of the most common benefits brokers recommend to their clients:
  • Dental – 69%
  • Life – 75%
  • Auto – 63%
  • Home – 66%
  • Critical Illness – 58%
  • Vision – 66%

In addition to these more common benefits, employees continue to ask their employers to offer perks that help with work-life balance. Brokers agree with this sentiment, with 76% saying their clients need to support work-life balance efforts. This has led to a rise in voluntary benefits and other non-traditional benefits that help address employee happiness.

Some of the newer non-traditional benefit offerings that brokers are recommending to their clients include:
  • Adoption assistance – 44% (19% in 2017)
  • Expanded parental leave – 55% (32% in 2017)
  • Automatic paycheck deduction – 58% (24% in 2017)

But these aren’t the only benefit trends that brokers are advising their clients to explore. Volunteer opportunities, student debt forgiveness, concierge programs, phased retirement, vacations savings, and genetic testing are all becoming more common offerings by brokers.

Today’s Employers Need Broker Expertise

The main point of the MetLife study is that today’s employers rely on their broker’s expertise far more than in previous years and on new topics.

More specifically, employers (smaller businesses in particular) need help with ever-changing workplace, employee, and legislative trends.

For those brokers who want to add more value to their client relationships and become a more trusted advisor, the study provides three takeaways:
  • Stay updated – and update your clients
  • Encourage your firm to lead by example
  • Dive deeper into non-medical benefits

You can download the full report to learn more about these takeaways as well as the results above.

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