In Part 2 of Attracting and Retaining Quality Employees, The Partners Group provides insight and tips on how to effectively communicate the entire program value to existing and future employees, including: developing a strong employer brand, how to tell the whole story of your benefits package, and details about why today’s new workforce needs new technology. Additional related video topics: Recent Trends in Traditional & Non-Traditional Employee Benefits and Current Trends in Retirement Plans.

As presented by Gary Alton, Managing Partner of the Employee Benefits division at The Partners Group, and Nicole Pond, Managing Consultant and Retirement Plans Partner at The Partners Group.

It’s not surprising that most Millennials like mobile apps, according to the MetLife survey below. Millennials want to be educated through those devices. Automatic enrollment is becoming a growing issue and there is not much opposition to it. They feel very comfortable with being automatically enrolled in multiple programs, as long as they have the option to opt out.

Millennial perceptions of resources effectiveness compared to total respondents


However the most interesting finding is that 68% of Millennials, and actually 61% of overall employees, are looking for that one on one consulting and advice on benefit options. They want help with understanding a very complex marketplace which includes multiple medical, dental, life, disability, and 401(k) options.


Communication strategies

Develop a strong employer brand – How are you differentiating yourself?

Building your employer brand is really important. However even more important is telling the entire story of a benefits package. We are now starting to see better communication of benefits come back into vogue, since employers pay a lot of money toward the entire benefits package. When you think about medical, dental, life, disability, 401(k), vacation pay, time off, the taxes—everything involved is substantial.3

How do you tell the “whole story” of your benefits package?

A lot of times employees have lost sight of the benefits package they’re receiving. They simply see on their paycheck the net amount that went into their bank account and the cost of their benefits. As a result, part of the conversation we’re having with a lot of employers is about re-educating their employees on the total value of an employer benefits package, and those Millennials coming in who want the education and guidance. Even the non Millennials are looking for that guidance.

New workforce = new technology

There are a lot of new technologies: online enrollment, benefit portals, intranets, mobile phone apps, (which are becoming very prevalent), video messaging, and total compensation statements. We also are still doing a lot of old fashioned, open enrollment meetings, face to face, answering employee questions. This continues to evolve, and it’s real important to have a strategy when it comes to communication. Particularly with the diverse workforce we have right now, multiple means of communication are going to need to be used in order to communicate effectively across all demographic bands.

Trying to do more with less is a very common theme. It’s the other thing we look at from an employer’s standpoint, especially for HR departments who typically are not expanding their head count. Consequently as we start talking about all these great options such as multiple benefit plans, auto enrollment, voluntary programs, increasing communication and education, we also need to look at streamlining how to administer, track, and account for them.


We are starting to see a lot more programs in the marketplace. In fact 70% of Northwest employers surveyed in April 2016 by The Partners Group have been exploring online enrollment options for their employees. Above is just an example of an online enrollment portal, where individuals can go online and enroll their benefits. You can actually use it as a communication vehicle as well to introduce new benefits. There are a lot of links and videos that can educate and train employees.

Additionally, below is an example of a total compensation statement. Again this is something that a lot of these online enrollment platforms can help employers generate as well. It sheds light on how much employers are truly spending when everything is put together.

As we mentioned earlier, we have lost sight of communicating the total benefit package being provided. We really need to bring it back to the forefront, especially when we think about the Millennials, and the fact that over 65% of them are looking to change jobs in the next 12 months. It’s critical to make sure they understand the benefits that you’re offering right now, the total package.



Here are three key things to consider:

  • Number one, the cost to replace a quality employee can be 20% or more of their annual salary. Depending on your turnover and your workforce, this can be a huge hidden cost that a lot of employers aren’t even tracking. When you think about the cost to find a new employee, to train them, the time it takes to get them up to speed in the job, and to build that institutional knowledge, it could take years in some cases, retention is critical.
  • Benefits are clearly re emerging as a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In the Pacific Northwest, we have unemployment less than 5%, and that is heating up the competition in the job marketplace. Benefits are critical to attracting and retaining quality employees.
  • More complex/easier to administer: As things get more complex, as employers offer more benefits, it is important to make it easy to administer. With communication, enrollment, tracking adds and deletes, it’s going to be critical to simplify the overall enrollment process. That is where we see those online enrollment platforms becoming more and more critical every day, even down to smaller employers under a hundred lives.

The Employee Benefits Division of The Partners Group serves the employee benefit needs of over 500 West Coast employers, with offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, OR; Bellevue, WA; and Bozeman MT. Our benefits consulting team specializes in providing a highly-consultative approach coupled with problem-solving wellness analytics, to help employers reduce healthcare costs, improve employee health, and create long-term health plan stability.

We focused on employee benefits in this article, however The Partners Group works through four different divisions all coordinated together, with services also including wealth management, investment planning for individuals, commercial and individual insurance, and we have business consulting which is more for project based work.

Securities and advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through TPG Financial Advisors, LLC. a Registered Investment Advisory firm.

Presented By:


Gary Alton – Managing Partner, Employee Benefits, The Partners Group 




Nicole Pond – CBFA, Managing Consultant, Retirement Plans, The Partners Group