What’s your greatest asset?
For your clients, the answer is almost always “our people”—the employees who drive revenue, performance, and innovation.
But people are also a significant source of risk. People’s actions (and inactions) can expose an organization to safety issues, regulatory penalties, and legal claims.
And then there’s everything to do with the regulations, requirements, and management of your current and future employees. Between harassment, discrimination, and unlawful termination, some of the toughest challenges are people problems.
As a broker, it’s imperative you help clients manage their people and efficiently navigate HR issues. Protect their #1 asset and you’ll become indispensable. On the other hand, if you overlook their HR needs, your clients will find someone else who provides better value.
Here are a few key HR solutions clients increasingly expect brokers to provide:
Practical, Timely HR Guidance
Imagine this: It’s a long weekend, but your client’s HR and executive teams are hard at work. The company is dealing with the threat of a potential active shooter. On Saturday, an employee tweeted about his suicide attempt, following that up with another tweet about returning to work.
Now it’s Monday. Leadership is holding a remote meeting to determine how to handle the situation before business re-opens on Tuesday. There are concerns about overall workforce safety, as well as the well-being of the employee who mentioned his suicide attempt.
As the broker, you can and should have a solution in place to provide practical, timely, and possibly life-saving guidance. Your insureds will look to you for a solution and ask difficult HR and legal questions. Are you capable of connecting them to HR professionals and labor attorneys? Imagine the value of solving that issue for an insured—the benefits to the wellbeing of their employees and their perception of you as a trusted advisor at renewal time are tremendous.
In an ideal arrangement, this guidance is reactive and proactive. It’s available in response to immediate concerns as well as in advance of emerging risk areas. HR and legal advisors can work with the client to not only manage the current situation but also to develop social media policies and workplace resources to prevent future scares.
This isn’t just applicable to a scenario like an active shooter threat. It’s critical before or after a disciplinary action, termination conversation, discrimination claim, or any other significant workforce event.
Interactive, Up-to-Date HR Tools
Employers these days have many complex and ever-changing human resource issues to manage. They face workforce risks like those above—on top of constantly changing regulatory environments at the state and federal levels.
If a client has locations in multiple states, they’ll need to know how family and medical leave rules differ, which workers are exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay, and so forth.
These uncertainties are particularly challenging in states such as California, where laws can change multiple times per year. Did you know, for example, that any California business with 5 or more employees will soon be required to conduct annual harassment training? Just a couple years ago, the law only covered organizations with 50 or more employees.
Brokers can help their clients stay ahead of changes by providing up-to-date compliance tips and tools. The information should be regularly reviewed and updated by HR and legal professionals.
An effective solution will also provide clients with access to interactive HR tools such as a handbook builder, employee classification wizards, state law finders, and salary benchmarking. In KPA’s system, a broker can log in to view topics and simple explanations, making it easy to offer actionable information during a conversation with an insured. And if you or your client can’t find the information you need, all you have to do is pick up the phone and speak to a certified KPA professional.
Comprehensive HR Management
From general guidance to specific insights about new regulatory requirements, insureds are looking to brokers for HR risk management.
Keep in mind that even seemingly basic concerns like job descriptions are risks at the employer level. A job description that doesn’t mention specific working conditions (e.g. hot or cold indoor/outdoor temperatures) or physical requirements (“must be able to lift 50 pounds”) can lead to an expensive claim. Tools such as job description templates, training, and onboarding checklists can minimize this kind of liability.
This is also about boosting your insureds’ bottom lines by maximizing workforce productivity. Say someone who has to stand for 5 hours a day suffers a slipped disc. Rather than having that person out on workers’ comp for months, you can help the employer quickly modify the individual’s job description and engage in a return to work program, getting the employee off work comp and back in the workforce with a modified duty position that still contributes to the productivity of the company.
Ultimately, the right HR risk management tool turns a broker into a problem solver. Even if you have no HR expertise in-house, you can provide the resources your insureds are looking for—and become their second-greatest asset.