Sometimes less is more. And brokers who can deliver this valuable less-is-more HR solution can earn a bigger payday. I recently participated in an invitation-only, high-level summit meeting in Atlanta of the top strategic agency growth consultants in our industry. The purpose of the meeting was to identify the key trends impacting independent agencies and the key strategies that we can use to help our agency clients survive and prosper. For more than 10 hours, the discussion ranged from managing change to agency differentiation strategies, and managing talent to creating a true sales culture in an agency.

Another discussion revolved around human resource outsourcing (HRO). More specifically, the discussion focused on the opportunity for brokers to succeed by giving employers and HR departments a less-is-more HRO solution. The opportunity we discussed stems from two pain points that plague employers and HR departments.

The first is the difficulty that employees have accessing benefits and HR information. It's confusing and disruptive when the employee must sign on to one website to check the FSA balance, another to register a life change for benefits, and yet another website to see time off information. A single employee login to one online portal to access everything in one place would make life much easier for employees and HR.

The second (related) HR pain point is the challenge of multiple HR systems on separate platforms from multiple vendors. HR has to manage benefits administration on one platform from one vendor, payroll on a separate platform from another vendor, and HR functions on another platform from a third vendor. Moreover, this requires that HR juggle three or more vendor relationships as well.

It's a case of "careful what you wish for." For years, HR wished for automation of these functions and eventually the market delivered - one solution at a time. Technology specialization led to stand-alone solutions from multiple vendors that worked well, but didn't integrate or communicate with other solutions. More became too much.


Single-source solutions

Led by payroll giants ADP and Paychex, many vendors are starting to introduce single-source HR technology solutions. (By the way, are you aware that Paychex is a top-20 benefits broker nationally? Just wondering.) These single-source solutions integrate HR, benefits and payroll technology and services on a single platform from a single vendor. HR operational efficiency increases and the hassle factor is reduced with only one vendor to deal with.

One of the key conclusions from the Atlanta summit was the opportunity for brokers around the single-source HRO solution. As medical becomes less meaningful as a revenue source, brokers must find not only replacement revenue, but also a new and differentiating value proposition to remain relevant to both clients and prospects. Bringing a single-source HRO solution addresses both broker needs, providing meaningful new revenues and a powerful value prop. It also serves to keep the payroll companies out of your account and away from your BOR.

One point that came up during the discussion was the revenue opportunity for brokers requires sourcing the technology internally and not just bringing a system from a third-party vendor. The savvy broker will research the HRO marketplace to identify a single-source solution that can be taken to market as a white-labeled offering.

Griswold is an authority on voluntary benefits and consultative selling. His agency, Growth Mastermind Network, helps agency leaders reinvent their firm in 12 months. He can be reached at (615) 656-5974 or

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