The new year often marks a time of reflection. Many business owners review their plans and make changes to budgets, policies, and more.
Many businesses have fiscal years that run January 1 to December 31, so this makes sense. It can also make sense to have new policies or budgets come into effect with the start of the new year, because it’s easy for team members to remember that date. To that end, many business owners and HR leaders try to time benefits switches with the start of the new calendar year.
With 2021 already underway, though, you might wonder if that means you need to wait until January 2022 to make changes to your benefits plan. That’s definitely not the case. Here’s why you should consider switching at any point in the year.
Look at What’s Best for Your Team
Any time can be the right time to switch your program or provider. The most important thing is that you’re making a switch that supports your team members and your organization.
Many people want to switch their benefits program on January 1, because it’s easy for employees to know when their coverage starts and stops. It begins with the new year and ends on December 31. It also makes it easy to budget for the business, since it might line up with their fiscal year.
If you discover at some point during the year that the program isn’t meeting employees’ needs, though, you shouldn’t wait to switch it.
Why? The plan is already not meeting employees’ needs, which may mean they’re not making use of it. They won’t mind if you swap it out with something that’s better suited to them. In fact, they’ll likely be excited to start using benefits that are tailored for them as soon as possible.
So, you could take an employee satisfaction survey in April and crunch the numbers in May to see that people aren’t happy with their benefits. You might track benefits use and notice certain benefits are never used, year after year. Any of this could be a sign that it’s time to switch, even if the data analysis happens mid-year.
Is There a “Right” Time to Switch?
Many people put emphasis on switching at the “ideal” or “right” time. That might mean the start of the calendar year, the start of the fiscal year, or at some halfway point.
Of course, the “right” time could also be when it’s clear employees just aren’t happy with their coverage or they’re not using it. It could also be if you notice that costs aren’t aligning with budget during a quarterly or semi-annual review.
Some employers worry that a mid-year switch will be confusing for their employees. It may not be as easy for them to calculate their benefits dollars usage, since they might not remember when coverage kicked in.
It’s worse to wait, though, because that means more time your employees spend feeling like their benefits don’t truly offer them what they need. That, in turn, could lead to decreased job satisfaction, lower productivity, and even higher turnover for your team.
Make the Switch Today
As you can see, there really is no “right” time of year to switch your benefits provider. You might be tempted to wait until a certain point, but the longer you wait, the longer your employees may feel dissatisfied with their benefits.
Your best bet is to make the switch as soon as you see there’s a mismatch between your benefits plan and your employees’ needs. The sooner you act, the sooner your employees will have the coverage they need and want.
Ready to make a switch? Get in touch with our team and discover all the options you have to offer better benefits coverage for your team.