Skip to content
  • Home >
  • Blogs >
  • Broker Blogs >
  • Annual Enrollment: Top 3 Reasons SMBs Dread It & How PEOs Help Benefits Advisors Get Through It

Annual Enrollment: Top 3 Reasons SMBs Dread It & How PEOs Help Benefits Advisors Get Through It

Annual Enrollment: Top 3 Reasons SMBs Dread It & How PEOs Help Benefits Advisors Get Through It

In a recent survey, 60% of employees said employee benefits were extremely or very important when considering whether to stay with their current employer. This means that it is critical for business owners to get their employee benefits packages right. With few exceptions, SMBs only get one chance every year to lock in the benefits that make them competitive: annual enrollment.

More than ever, this is when benefits advisors become indispensable to their SMB clients. Annual enrollment is the time to help your clients find and select the most competitive employee benefits offerings and packages for the year ahead. It is crucial that employee benefits brokers and other insurance professionals seize this opportunity to show their clients that they’ve picked the right person to entrust with pivotal differentiators for their company.

During annual enrollment, benefits advisors can reinforce their value to their SMB clients with a diverse portfolio filled with the recruitment and retention benefits they can access with a PEO plan.

While managing multiple clients through one of the most stressful experiences of business ownership, benefits advisors can rely on their PEO partners to facilitate a smoother annual enrollment experience for their clients and worksite employees.

Let’s get into the most common pain points SMBs encounter during open enrollment season and how professional employer organizations can help their broker partners guide SMB owners.

Annual Enrollment Top 3 Pain Points

1. Communication failure

2. Lack of tools and resources

3. Complexities caused by too many or two few options

1. Annual Enrollment Communication Failures

A lack of clarity around the details of annual enrollment causes frustration for SMB owners and their employees. Which benefits are available? How can they use them? With so many plans, coverage potential, and carriers to choose from, it’s easy for anyone to feel lost.

There are plenty of pitfalls during annual enrollment that can result in communication failure. Plan changes may not be relayed effectively from SMB owners to their employees and people largely don’t understand or even remember all of the information they’re bombarded with during a single presentation. Worse, poorly executed emails or even verbal discussions can widen knowledge gaps.

Client and employee frustration is caused by a lack of clear, consistent communication about benefits plans and other considerations that come during annual enrollment season. A lack of understanding and the stress that come with all of this can be exacerbated by a lack of preparation for the season, incomplete or confusing communications, and other details that can be easy to overlook.

How PEOs Can Help: Guidance and Multi-channel Communication Solutions

Broker-friendly PEOs like PrestigePEO assign dedicated HR Business Partners (HRBPs) and Benefits Specialists to PEO broker partners and their clients. These HRBPs and Benefits Specialists work directly with brokers and their SMB clients throughout the annual enrollment season, start-to-finish.

With dedicated support teams, you and your clients can expect personalized multi-channel resources that can effectively reach all employees and provide key guidance on how they can make informed decisions about their benefits selections.

A few examples of these include:

  • A dedicated, human point of contact through the PEO (no chatbots or call centers!)
  • Customized emails
  • Informative landing pages
  • Detailed presentations
  • Enrollment reminders via social media
  • Educational brochures and videos
  • Seasonal open enrollment center

No matter what information may be exchanged between a professional employer organization and a benefits advisor’s client or even their client’s employees, advisors are always kept apprised and looped in on all communications.

PEOs connect with their broker partners to discuss client communications and ensure pertinent information on benefits options, enrollment deadlines, and plan changes are shared quickly and clearly with SMB owners, never leaving the brokers out of the conversation.

With personalized communications solutions like having a dedicated HR Business Partner and Benefits Specialist, PEOs build an infrastructure through which they can provide responses to the PEO’s broker partners, their SMB clients, and their SMB clients’ employees.

What does it mean to have a “dedicated support team” through your PEO partner? It means that no matter what queries, concerns, or other needs you or your clients may have, you will always speak with the same people, every time. This not only allows your SMB clients to build trust with the PEO, but it also eliminates gaps that can cause communication failures.

2. Lack of Tools or Resources

It’s no secret; many people struggle with benefits enrollment. Without expert support, most business owners have a bad user experience when trying to choose tiers, plans, and packages.

The complexity can feel endless. Every plan comes with its own set of terms, conditions, and limitations. These can include things like deductibles and copayments, out-of-pocket maximums, and varying coverage for prescription drugs.

The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming for business owners who are not specifically trained to understand the nuances of benefits plans. This, along with the fact that annual enrollment platforms are not always intuitive, can make it especially difficult for brokers or SMB owners to get support or find useful resources during annual enrollment seasons.

How PEOs Can Help: A Well-Orchestrated Enrollment Process and Additional Support Resource

PEO brokers use advanced enrollment platforms and technology solutions to simplify the enrollment process, also making it easier for employees to select and enroll in benefits online.

The best PEOs simplify the administration of benefits through integrated technology platforms. These platforms have the capabilities to optimize enrollment processes, automate payroll deductions, and provide real-time access to benefits info for SMB clients and their benefits-eligible employees.

PrestigePEO empowers our partnered benefits advisors to guide their clients through enrollment selections with our proprietary Renewal Portal.. This tool allows employee benefits brokers to work one-on-one with each client to:

  • Build comparison models
  • See transparent, itemized contribution totals for each benefits offering
  • Connect with their dedicated HRBP and Benefits Specialist for support

These platforms centralize administrative tasks, which allows the PEO to reduce the burden on business owners, HR staff, and other key operations roles, allowing them to focus on strategic growth initiatives rather than paperwork.

Additionally, PrestigePEO provides several ways to help benefits advisors and their clients easily maneuver the proprietary platform with resource archives, such as our Open Enrollment Resource Center. Here are a few samples of our most popular resources from a prior annual enrollment season:

Guides: Using proprietary enrollment software can require a small learning curve for some users. To ensure the smoothest experience every year, we carefully assemble informative step-by-step user guides with images that make it easy to follow along.

Videos: We know that a diverse workforce means various learning types. This is why we pair our user guides with supplementary videos. This way, benefits advisors, their clients, and their employees can see a virtual walk-through that teaches them how to navigate and use the portal.

Webinars: Webinars are conducted throughout the annual enrollment season to help educate our broker partners and their clients on the core and ancillary benefits available to them. These are recorded and archived so benefits advisors and their clients can return to them as often as needed during the enrollment period.

3. Too Many or Too Few Plans and Ancillary Benefits Options

Managing a variety of options, understanding all the details of each, and selecting plans suitable for their business can be overwhelming for SMB clients.

The pressure on having a once-a-year opportunity to understand all options, decide which work best, educate employees, and still give the appropriate amount of time for employees to make their benefits selection can increase the chaos of annual enrollment. Even so, your client’s employees need diverse benefits offerings to meet their diverse needs.

One of the major hurdles SMB clients encounter during annual enrollment is the limited availability of enrollment options. Traditional insurance plans may offer a one-size-fits-most approach, leaving employers with few choices to tailor benefits to the needs of their workforce. This lack of flexibility can lead to frustration among employees who might need specialized coverage or additional benefits.

How PEOs Can Help: Benefits Implementation and Administration

1. Exploring emerging employee benefits trends together

PEOs offer ancillary benefits that complement an employer’s core healthcare plans. A strong portfolio packed with high-demand ancillary benefits gives advisors plenty of options to help their clients enhance their custom offerings. Versatility in this way helps clients attract and retain top talent while maximizing employee satisfaction.

Benefits advisors spend years building relationships with their SMB clients. Brokers can use the knowledge they have of their client’s business goals, budget, and employee needs to help them narrow down the best benefits to bring to the table. PEOs have the resources that employee benefits brokers need to be well-versed in the most popular, most helpful, and highest value ancillary benefits so advisors can cut through potential clutter and bring their clients a clean list of choices that will precisely meet their needs and their budget.

2. Benefits Implementation and administration

Once a benefits advisor and their SMB clients have created the right benefits package, the PEO takes care of the rest: implementing and administering benefits. Even more than providing enhanced benefits options at a reduced cost, PEOs ensure that your SMB clients get their workforce enrolled in the PEO plans, ensure compliance, and offer exceptional assistance across the board.

PEOs like PrestigePEO equip our broker partners and their clients with all they need for digital self-service, employee records, deadlines, claims management, ACA compliance, and other time-consuming obligations.

Highlights of PrestigePEO’s benefits implementation and year-round administration services include:

  • On-site review of benefits
  • Expert claims assistance
  • New hire benefits enrollment support
  • The PrestigePRO online platform and the PrestigeGO mobile app

With these assets, your SMB clients can stop sweating annual enrollment and you can be confident that you’ve got client loyalty in the bag.

Benefits Advisors, Make Annual Enrollment a Breeze With a PEO

PEOs offer a unified HR solution for annual enrollment. Benefits advisors who partner with a professional employer organization are empowered to offer customized benefits solutions to their clients while also helping with workplace compliances concerns, changing regulatory considerations, and confidently connect SMB owners to a smart way to alleviate their administrative burdens.

PrestigePEO’s open enrollment resource center and year-round support for brokers, clients, and their employees simplify annual enrollment and day-to-day HR functions for everyone. Whether your clients are already partnered with a PEO and looking to transition to a new one, or new to the versatility of a professional employer organization, the relationship between a PEO, a benefits advisor, and an SMB owner makes annual enrollment better for everyone.

PrestigePEO, also known as The Broker’s PEO, has the plans, dedicated support, and expertise benefits advisors need to create an improved annual enrollment experience for their SMB clients Get in touch with us today to make sure your clients don’t dread their next annual enrollment season.