How to create vendor harmony and ensure total partner collaboration



By Marianne Holt, Director of Benefits Innovation

In an era of abundance, more choice for benefits leaders can often mean more complexity.

From fertility services to chronic disease management, new benefits solutions are coming to market each year. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and once decisions are made on what to implement, then comes the real hard part: Overseeing an ecosystem of different vendor partners. I’ve been there, and I know firsthand the challenges it presents as your company grows. From day-to-day administrative tasks to employee education, managing an array of partners is difficult, and that difficulty only compounds when they are operating in silos.

It doesn’t have to be this way and it shouldn’t be. You should feel empowered over your benefits offerings and your ability to ensure they’re working together to help your team achieve its goals.

What are some typical problems that arise as a company’s vendor mix grows?

Every company and benefits team is different, but in my experience, there are a set of core responsibilities that any benefits team will need to manage—and which become increasingly challenging as you add new partners. I’d boil it down to four key areas:

Without cohesion, these responsibilities can quickly become pain points that lead to inefficiencies in how benefit teams spend their time and effectively manage their entire benefits strategy. So what can you be doing as a benefits leader? Let’s start with the basics…

The non-negotiables

Total collaboration begins with ensuring that your partners have shown a willingness to understand your team’s goals. At a minimum, they should be aware of all the solutions you have in place so that they can think more holistically about program strategies. Here are a couple of partner commitments I’d consider table stakes:

Ideas for deeper partner alignment

Holding partners accountable to these commitments should help you not only better manage your benefits but also plan more proactively throughout the year. However, you can go deeper on partner alignment to truly make sure that you are all working together. A couple ideas:

If you’d like to learn more about Collective Health, we’d love to hear from you.

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