In most cases, the answer is no. Most business owners view benefits as an expense and focus solely on trying to lower their monthly costs. This is understandable because benefit costs can be very expensive and may feel out of control. As such, it seems wise to negotiate lower rates. Sometimes you can get a lower rate, but we have learned that this could cost you more money in the long-run.
Lowering your benefit costs often means that you also lower the quality of your coverage. Furthermore, if you change suppliers, this can also undermine the perceived stability of the plan in the eyes of your employees. These changes could cause a valued employee to leave your company for a better benefits plan from one of your competitors. Losing an important employee can be extremely disruptive and could cost you a lot of time and money. There is also the problem that your benefits plan may no longer be attractive to potential employees. These are some of the potential hidden costs of a lower-priced benefits plan.
That's why we recommend that you view your benefits program as a strategic tool and align it with your business goals. Instead of looking at benefits strictly as a cost, you could view it as an investment that can help you attract and retain better employees, boost morale and productivity, and help you achieve your business goals.
Assessing your current situation is the first step. Honestly assess what your employees think and feel about your plan. Determine how it compares to your competitors' plans and whether it gives you a competitive advantage or not. Step two is to clarify both your business goals and your benefits goals and to make sure that they are aligned. Step three is to develop a strategic plan based on three elements: corporate culture, workforce advantage, and cost advantage.
We have learned that this strategic approach can help you save time and money, attract and retain excellent employees, and achieve your business goals.