The keys to benefiting from your offerings

Andrew Sheldon//March 2, 2015

The keys to benefiting from your offerings

Andrew Sheldon//March 2, 2015

If you’re a business owner, navigating the world of benefits can be as daunting as it is critical to attracting and retaining employees.

That’s where someone like Craig Maloney comes in. With more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, he is president of Hammonton-based Univers Workplace Solutions — a top benefits communications, enrollment and administration solutions provider.

He also leads a firm that is second on NJBIZ’s list of the top employee benefits companies in the state, ranked by number of employees covered in New Jersey. That’s why NJBIZ caught up with Maloney to discuss some of the most important, and often overlooked, considerations companies should investigate when looking for a benefits provider for their workers.

NJBIZ: What are some pieces of key information you look for on your end when starting a relationship with a new company?

Craig Maloney: If I were consulting with an employer, I’d really want to understand their high-level strategy around how benefits fits into their total rewards approach. You want to understand where they fall within the compensation strategy realm and then you want to figure out how benefits could complement or augment those strategies.

Within the benefits, it really comes down to many, many factors around industry, the makeup and demographics of their employee base and what that looks like. Ultimately it comes back to the business goals, retention and how they would work the compensation and benefit strategies into those overall goals.

NJBIZ: What are some common mistakes companies make when choosing a business partner to roll out a benefits plan?

CM: When an employer is looking for a partner, sometimes it makes sense to move beyond the traditional criteria of, ‘Are they local?’ or ‘Do I know them?’ and move onto other criteria like, ‘Are they familiar with my industry?’ or ‘Do they have experience in transitioning benefit strategies similar to what I’m looking for? Do they have these communication abilities?’

Those are some of the key foundations in picking the right choice in a vendor.

NJBIZ: What are some other key areas a company should look into before making any decisions on a vendor?

CM: In terms of evaluating a potential consultant in this marketplace, I’d really focus on these three key areas: Make sure you’re using data at your fingertips to make the informed decisions about benefits and strategies. There are many sources of data out there right now: insurance carriers, brokers and consultants; even your payroll systems have data that can influence what you might want to develop as a benefit package. So, I would make sure I understand the data and use the data to substantiate a strategy. That’s No. 1.