Benefits: Consider the ‘Human’ in Human Capital

Too often, managing staff benefits is more about managing costs than helping employees.

July 14, 2011

The evolution of modern-day employee benefits occurred not all that long ago when the first employer chose to provide health insurance coverage to employees to differentiate itself to attract and retain a greater level of “human capital.”

Unfortunately, managing employee benefits today isn’t about managing human capital; it’s about managing costs—ultimately, insurance negotiations.

The good news is, by simply considering the “human” in human capital, your solution becomes much simpler. The new concept of human capital management, as it’s known in the employee benefits arena, acknowledges that employees aren’t all the same. This forces employers to provide them with choices.

These aren’t the kind of choices, say, between a $1,000 and $2,000 deductible, or between a health maintenance organization and a preferred provider organization. Rather, they’re the kind of choices that allow employees to understand the difference between an individual investing in his or her future and basic, necessary coverage.

You can demonstrate this commitment to employees by implementing a good voluntary benefits offering, coupled with clear communications that articulate the personal benefit. These efforts will help your credit union attract and retain talent, which directly impacts your bottom line.

Proper implementation and administration of the plans is another key component of human capital management.

Arguably, managing payroll is the most crucial component to managing human capital. Other areas such as benefits, retirement plans, and workers’ compensation require data from your payroll management administration system.

To create efficiencies and maximize the value of this data, you’ll want to look for a partner or broker that provides a more holistic approach to managing your human capital.

You might think this sounds great—but it must be expensive. Actually, not so.

This type of bundled solution may help you save money on human capital expenditures. If you choose a broker offering an integrated solution, you’ll find them offsetting some of your human capital management costs via the compensation they receive for the insurances your credit union buys through them.

The health insurance market is changing rapidly. Payroll providers and human resource administration system vendors are entering the insurance space, and health-care reform now requires compensation transparency.

Credit unions are left to decipher a solution that meets all of their needs. A gold star broker should transition to a human capital management solution and look at your situation holistically—not simply shopping for suitable insurance coverage for you and your employees.

So the next time you think about your employee benefits or health insurance renewal and the high increases you’ve experienced, think about it from a human capital management perspective.

The partner you choose should ask questions such as:

  • How do you manage payroll or what payroll vendor do you use?
  • How do you manage the data required to support all you do?
  • How do you free up time from administrative requirements?
  • How engaged are your employees when they make their choices?
  • Did you know a one-on-one advisory solution to communicating your benefits is the easiest way to increase employee morale?

DAVID MARTIN is director of employee benefits for CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis. Contact him at 800-356-2644, ext. 7259.