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Needs Assessment Checklist – Employee Benefits Plan

Does your employee benefits plan give employees what they want? If you answered “no” or “I don’t know,” it’s time for a needs assessment. Here’s what you will need to get started.

Focus groups

Start with a list of employees from across your organization who represent a diverse selection of your workforce, including but not limited to:

  • Employees with more than five years of service
  • Employees with less than five years of service
  • Managers
  • Supervisors
  • Clerical staff
  • Technical staff
  • Remote employees

Form a number of small groups (five to 10 employees).

  • Select someone who can moderate the group, ask questions to promote discussion, and keep participants on task.
  • Choose a note taker. This individual should attend each meeting and sit outside the discussion area.
  • Conduct the focus groups in an intimate setting. Make sure employees are comfortable, provide snacks, and make whiteboards available in case someone needs to illustrate an opinion.
  • Send thank you notes and a small gift for participating. Gifts can be small tokens of appreciation (e.g., $5 gift card to a local coffee shop, free lunch in the company cafeteria, company swag, etc.), but they should not be freebies from current insurance carriers or vendors.

Evaluate notes taken from each discussion to determine any patterns and common themes.

Employee surveys

Create a survey that includes:

  • Limited number of questions about the plans available
  • Limited number of statements about the plans available
  • Space to answer direct questions

Decide on a scale that will be used to measure employee satisfaction. Calculate responses and evaluate data.

Other forms of research

Personal interviews

  • Create a list of questions
  • Talk to a wide range of employees one-on-one
  • Evaluate notes from each discussion
  • Determine any patterns and common themes

Utilization review of each employee benefit

  • Collect data from your third-party administrator or insurance carrier
  • Evaluate data for trends

Demographic research

  • Collect data from human resources
  • Divide employee population into groups that reflect buying power (age, sex, marital status, etc.)
  • Evaluate groups to predict which benefits may be important to them

Start early

If you are interested in conducting a needs assessment, be sure to talk to your benefits adviser approximately six months before your benefit plan renewal. This gives you plenty of time to work together to conduct focus groups and interviews, design an employee survey, and evaluate utilization review data and demographics.

By Applied Systems, Inc.

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