5 Conversations You Want to Have with Your Advisor

Mike Ignatz has managed Business Development at The Benefits Trust since 2005. His drive and focus has helped The Benefits Trust provide better benefits plans to small and mid-sized businesses throughout Canada.

5 Conversations You Want to Have with Your Advisor

conversation to have with your benefits advisor

The Benefits Trust works directly with professional advisors to help successful business owners build a better benefits plan than they can get anywhere else.  Building a customized benefits plan means evaluating key aspects of your business, your goals, and the needs of your employees.  Through these conversations, your advisor can help you to shape your benefits plan both in the short-term and in the long-term.

1) Who are the groups within your group?

All businesses make clear distinctions between employee roles, whether it’s between executives and regular employees, sales and R&D, or manufacturing and service.  But not every small- to medium-sized business has had the opportunity to reflect on these distinctions in their traditional benefits plan.  Just as there are differences among employees in earnings, “perks” and vacation time, your benefits plan can also be customized to appropriately reflect the different groups within your business.

An advisor who understands the groups within your group can help to structure your plan to meaningfully reflect the distinctions within your organization.

2) What do you want to promise your employees in the future?

A benefits plan represents a promise made by an employer to his or her employees.  Successful employers who care about their employees and the future of their business, focus not only on short-term costs, but also on the long-term experience with their benefits provider.  Your advisor can help you review service levels, plan design flexibility, test the reliability of your benefits provider, and source opportunities to change your benefits plan as your business grows.

Employee benefits plans are meant to be future-focused, and your advisor will be able to recommend key features that will support your company’s compensation philosophy and shape the coverage you want to provide for your employees.

3) What concerns do you have about your benefits plan that you want to overcome?

A professional advisor will identify any concerns that you may have about your existing benefits plan, and will work with you to address these accordingly.

Does your current plan provide the coverage you actually want?  Are there key items that have been left out, or elements that you and your employees really don’t need that can be removed?  Are you satisfied with the service levels, financial reporting, and on-going administration of your benefits plan?  Do you feel that you are getting value for your money?  Does your plan provide the level of flexibility that your employees are asking for?

If your advisor isn’t aware of your priorities, inclusions and omissions, then he/she has no opportunity to make appropriate changes to your benefits plan.

4) What is unique about your company?

Every company has a unique focus, whether it’s their product, service, or company culture.  The process of designing a benefits plan as unique as your company requires an advisor who is engaged in your business, and understands your needs as an owner/operator of that business.  This input from your advisor is important so that you can achieve your own customized mix of the insurance components you need to mitigate risk and the flexible options you want for reimbursement of medical and dental expenses.

Your advisor can make targeted suggestions that allow you to structure your benefits plan to support your business’ unique focus.

5) Are you making the most of your benefits plan as a tool to support your business?

A benefits plan is not just another business expense, it’s an important form of employee compensation that can be used to achieve or reinforce desired outcomes, like employee satisfaction and retention.

Through careful benefits plan design, professional advisors can help employers to achieve strategic goals such as reducing turnover, encouraging promotion from within, and fostering a culture of employee empowerment.  Your advisor has the experience to help you leverage your benefits plan into an integral part of your business process.

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