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Engaging employees starts with employers

By: Mike Feeney, Regional Sales Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region 

If you want to get into a movie, you have to buy a ticket and show it to the usher to be let in. If you want to land your dream job, you can’t just walk into the position, you’ve got to interview and work for it. Gatekeepers are everywhere, and the world of voluntary benefits is no different. When selling voluntary benefits, access to employees is critical; it’s how you provide education and enroll them in voluntary benefits. But, to get the access you need, you have to start with the gatekeeper: the employer.

There’s a lot you can do to raise awareness by communicating to employees before an enrollment: communication campaigns, group meetings, or advertisements displayed around the office. But, while these are tools that can help, buy in from the employer on the need for employee education will take you much further than any of these. Here are a couple ways to get employers on board so that you can get access to enroll employees in the voluntary protection they need. 

Start by educating the employer

Not every employer or human resources representative is an expert in voluntary benefits or the need for voluntary. And if they’re not an expert, that can be a good thing because it presents an opportunity. Educating the decision makers on the need for the voluntary benefits you’re offering, the financial risks to their employees and the impact offering voluntary can have on their workforce is the perfect way to illustrate that their employees need the same kind of education. If the employer feels like they’ve learned something important, they’re going to be more supportive of you passing along that information to their employees. 

Don’t play it safe with products

If you’re putting a product in front of an employer that looks just like every other product on the market, you’re going to have a harder time selling the need for education. While, as we said above, the employer may not be a benefits expert, they may still be able to identify common voluntary products. That’s not to say that products should be confusing or complex for complexity’s sake, but a product with a different approach can be a positive for brokers, employers and the employees.

The truth is, some voluntary products are in need of a new take and new ideas. If you’re introducing a product that doesn’t fit the mold but finds new and unique ways to deliver protection, you’re creating a situation where employees need education (not to mention, they may get superior protection). If an employer sees that, then they might be more apt to support your need for access to their employees for their voluntary enrollment.

Bring additional programs 

Of course the products aren’t the only way to get access to employees. If an employer has a new program they’re excited to implement, it lends itself perfectly to a one-on-one voluntary enrollment where you can both introduce the program and educate employees on their voluntary benefit options. Whether it’s through dependent audits, a wellness program or launching an internally-generated employer initiative, there are plenty of ways you can bring value to employers and their employees while also setting yourself up to have employee access. 

Communication is, truly, one of the most valuable services we provide in the voluntary industry. It’s not just about selling products, it’s about educating employees on their benefit options, delivering much-needed protection to employees, and reinforcing the value of an employer’s benefit offering. So while you can help drive access with pre-enrollment communication, your best bet is to secure that access from the employer, the true gatekeepers to the employees, upfront.

Learn more about how to engage employees from a member of our sales team.

Posted on February 07, 2019 in Enrollment Industry Sales

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