Professional Development and Education Emerge as Top Trends
Employees continue to have the upper hand in the war for talent, as unemployment continues to hover at record-low rates. Moreover, benefits are being battle-tested and deservedly so. They’re a meaningful conduit to enhanced employee engagement and even loyalty.
One emerging benefits trend is a tendency toward personalized and ever-expanding benefits packages. Companies are no longer sticking to “bare-bones” benefits packages, limited only to the basics like medical and dental. Today’s benefits have diversified exponentially to meet the needs of the modern worker. They now include offerings such as tuition reimbursement, financial wellness tools and resources, better maternity and paternity leave policies, the flexibility to work remotely, and even employee discount programs, to name a few.
As new benefits options proliferate, so will benefits regulations. For example, as of January 1, 2020, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services, and the Treasury have issued new rules governing individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (ICHRAs), permitting employers to offer ICHRAs as an alternative to traditional group health plan (GHP) coverage. There is also new legislation tied to the DOL’s new overtime rules and the general classification of workers.
In order to keep pace with these laws and the benefits landscape in general, channel partners in particular will need to parallel-path their strategies and self-educate regularly. This self-education and focus on professional development will be a prevailing theme throughout 2020.
Leading Through Learning
Education is at the root of being a good partner. Without education, channel partners cannot deliver high-quality customer service, advocacy, or counsel. The more education integrates with the core of communication with channel partners, the more successful 2020 campaigns will be.
Channel partners can self-educate by tapping into a number of available resources. By attending industry wide events/conferences, channel partners can gain valuable exposure to top thought leaders and industry voices. Furthermore, in seeking out insight from industry experts, companies can participate in informative webinars or utilize industry white papers as a supplemental resource. Aligning with neutral, third-party experts in an effort to leverage them as a resource can be especially helpful when navigating nuanced benefits regulations.
Another way to stay on the pulse of industry changes and trends is to tap into social media resources as a means of real-time, digestible updates. Channel partners can subscribe to industry news feeds or create news alerts to stay informed. Following benefits experts on social media for their real-time commentary on pressing issues will help break down complex regulations, as well as provide direct takeaways and solutions for the most effective way to adapt to industry waves.
Prioritization of innovative, intuitive technology solutions will allow channel partners to extrapolate meaningful and business-critical insights relative to the workforce and benefits.
Finding partners that provide educational certifications will also serve as a tool to stay atop changes, lead through learning, and deliver effective communication.
Betting on Benefits in 2020
When it comes to getting smarter about benefits, there’s no substitute for hard work. Channel partners must put in the time and the effort to be educated and stay educated. In doing so, they will contribute positively to the larger benefits ecosystem, helping to maintain its healthy equilibrium. Channel partners can leverage a variety of resources, including subject matter experts’ news feeds, industry events and conferences, webinars, and white papers, to navigate the space and access valuable insights from industry leaders. Moreover, channel partners that are unwilling or unable to adapt and evolve through self-education risk being eclipsed altogether.
There are so many educational resources available today. Having a balanced approach to learning will position partners for what continues to be a dynamic and demanding client engagement experience in 2020.