5 broker tips to streamline retirement planning

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The majority of today’s workforce considers retirement plans a “must-have” benefit, which means offering attractive plans is a critical incentive for current and prospective employees. Consequently, employees are increasingly taking more control of their benefits plans and proactively seeking tools and technology to increase their benefits fluency. As employees seek to discover the best plan for their needs and find answers to any questions they have along the way, there is an opportunity for benefits brokers to bridge the knowledge gap to ensure employees are equipped with enough insight to make decisions that will affect their lifetime.

Here are five things employers should consider when tapping a broker to help employees navigate retirement plan selection:

Strategically Align the Benefits Approach: Take the time to understand the size and scope of the benefits package the competition is offering their employees and reference this to compare and contrast different plan options. When available, leverage data-driven insights to make strategic decisions. Keep in mind, a broker should operate as a co-fiduciary, so that guidance and advice is aligned with an employee’s goals and objectives. A benefits broker should also advise on tailoring benefits packages to a multigenerational workforce, whether they are young and/or single, have a family or are approaching retirement. In fact, employees of all ages should be educated on the opportunities available to save for retirement by highlighting tax advantaged programs such as HSAs and 401(k)’s/403(b)’s/457’s.

Prioritize Employee Engagement. Ensuring a plan speaks to the employee is essential. Therefore, it is imperative that employers have a keen understanding of what employees value most in a benefits package. Brokers can support employee engagement accordingly by advising on questions that uncover key insights and will help to drive and create a more targeted benefits plan. Employers need to speak with employees, get to understand their life goals and what they are looking to achieve and then work to deliver with a comprehensive benefits plan that spans generations.

Educate the Employee. Business leaders must make the time to educate employees in an effective way on the benefits of benefits and utilize a broker who has access to communications tools necessary to provide that education. The more employees know, the more open they are to the plan offerings. Bridging the knowledge gap is key to a successful program. Offering employee benefits is an investment in both time and money; therefore, if employees don’t understand how it compares — or worse, how it works — an employer isn’t maximizing the potential of the benefit plan or broker.

Define Plan Objectives at the Onset. Coming to the table with a clear view of the long-term goal will help to build a strategic, multi-year strategy. When communicating with a benefits broker, discuss the plan needs based on employee insight. Is the goal to be more competitive, remain competitive or try to become competitive? A broker is a partner who could lead development of a three- to five-year strategy and avoid the “band-aid” solution each year. For those with employees interested in saving for retirement, employers can consider strategies such as automatic enrollment and automatic increases for their retirement planning.

Focus on Simplicity and Convenience. Benefits need to be simple and convenient. Provide education that teaches employees how to use their insurance and save money. Overall wellness, including financial wellness, is of particular importance. Partnering with a broker who handles all areas of insurance gives employers the ability to better protect their business while providing employees the depth of support they require. Employers that offer a comprehensive plan that includes a range of offerings from the traditional medical, dental, disability and retirement, to pet insurance, homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance, provide employees with a convenient plan that may already be a step above competitors.

A benefits broker should be seen as a trusted partner for employees — someone who can help them reach their lifelong goals, including retirement, and help focus an employer’s vision to provide attractive benefits to an employee. Moreover, as legislation reshapes the overall benefits climate and employers continue to revamp their offerings, companies should prioritize a benefits broker who can serve as an extension of employees’ financial wellness strategy and offer objective advice on best practices as they progress through their career.

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