Employee benefits are not only essential to the health and financial well-being of employees, they’re a key ingredient in the cultural fiber of an organization. Employee benefits is an extension and expression of company culture. In unifying benefits with company culture, an organization can reap the advantages of attracting and retaining talent, boost productivity, and achieve positive business outcomes. Employee benefits are largely tangible at the time an employee needs access to their benefits. When a company outsources employee benefits administration, they expect the provider to organize their tools, technology, communications, and service center to be a representation of their culture and values.
Providers are the stewards of a company’s brand
An organization’s ethos, vision and values can appear as soft issues compared to a provider’s technology, tools, and data security protocols. These issues are of course exceedingly important, however, without a provider’s understanding of a company’s culture, vision and values, clients—over time—may experience a breach of trust with their provider. Providers are the stewards of a company’s brand. There is an expectation that providers have the technology, tools and people to deliver quality service to their workforce, however, if the services are not aligned with a company’s ethos, the relationship may erode. As an example, a company culture built on care, accountability, teamwork and collaboration expects the provider’s service center to treat their employees as they are treated at work. When a service center fails in this area, the result is a breach of trust, which most times, cannot be repaired.
Culture eats strategy for lunch
“Culture eats strategy for lunch” has often been attributed to Peter Drucker, the well-known management consultant. Peter Drucker didn’t mean that strategy was unimportant—rather that a powerful and empowering culture was a surer route to a company’s success. The most successful organizations, measured by employee engagement, market share and share price, are those that believe culture is a surer way to an organization’s success. Any employee benefit services provider should be open to embracing the importance of culture in every aspect of their service delivery.
A company’s ethos is becoming even more significant as the millennial generation has entered the workforce. The significance of having a deep understanding of an organization’s culture can no longer be avoided or minimized. A provider’s willingness to shape their service delivery model to be is consistent with an organization’s culture is an important factor in an organization’s selection criteria.
The most successful benefit administration providers are those that believe their understanding of a company’s ethos is critical to their ability to deliver exceptional service and be viewed as a trusted advisor.
Embracing culture creates a competitive advantage
There is nothing magical to understanding culture. It requires the willingness to devote the time to have meaningful discussions, the ability to truly understand the significance of a company’s ethos, and the commitment to create a relevant delivery model. The providers that embrace culture and execute this understanding in how they organize their service delivery model will have a significant competitive advantage.
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