Bob Dylan hit the nail on the head when he sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.” Even though that was written decades ago, it still applies, especially to today’s workforce. And brokers need to adapt if they want to survive. c
The American workforce continues to expand beyond full-time W2 employees to an increasing number of contracted and part-time employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now 27.7 million people working part-time (less than 35 hours a week) in the U.S.
Critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act say the growth of part-timers is the direct result of health care system pressures pushing employers to reduce hours. Others point to innovative business models like Uber, which are bringing more contracted employees into the workforce. No matter what the cause, brokers need to be in tune with this growing part-timer trend.
A golden opportunity
Virtually every company — whether it’s a small or mid-size business or a massive corporation — employs part-time workers. While their role may not be as significant as full-time employees, part-timers are integral to the success of these companies.
Therefore, retention of part-time workers is just as important as full-time employees. Plus, the majority of part-time employees don’t have access to a core benefits program. This opens up a world of opportunity for brokers. If you can present clients with perks to keep their contracted and part-time employees healthy, happy and loyal, you’ll be way ahead of the competition.
Part-timers are Uber important
In this day and age, contracted W-9 associates are critical to the success of many companies. Take Uber for example. Recently valued at an unprecedented $41 billion, this smartphone-based ride-sharing car service has exploded in the past six years. Without part-time drivers, Uber wouldn’t even exist.
In fact, I recently caught a ride from a young Uber driver, who told me the part-time gig is a great way to earn extra cash while she pursues another career. When I told her about some of the benefits solutions that are out there now, she said they sounded awesome. Although Uber provides some benefits, she said it’s nothing she actually needs.
This got me to thinking. If Uber continues to expand at its current breakneck speed, the company will continue to hire more and more part-time workers. Other companies will undoubtedly follow suit, mimicking Uber’s genius business model. Smart brokers will cater to this demographic and offer solutions designed to boost part-time worker retention for employers.
As a broker, what’s in it for you? Let’s see… Client retention, additional revenue and an expanding brokerage firm, just to name a few. After all, you’re adding a different employee to the voluntary scenario: part-time associates. Plus, providing benefits to part-time and contracted workers helps you round out your employee benefits practice, which gives you an edge on the competition.
There are a variety of solutions designed to help part-time employees stretch their health care and lifestyle dollars. From vision to lab and imaging to prescription drug discounts, these valuable benefits reduce out-of-pocket expenses for part-timers. Telehealth also provides a low-cost option for part-time employees to receive care for non-emergency medical issues.
The most successful brokers are full-service; and part-time employees represent yet another essential gap that needs to be filled. Offer your clients knowledge and expertise about part-time populations and customized solutions for these workers, and you’ll be as good as gold