How to bring the power of ‘bundling’ to your benefits package

By Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert

“Bundle it baby!”

Tweet by Frank Fritz, co-star American Pickers.

Anyone who has seen even a single episode of American Pickers knows that Frank Fritz, one of the stars of the popular show, loves to “bundle” items to get what he wants at the price he needs to pay. And I’m sure that both sales reps and buyers in your small business understand the power of bundling products and services.

As a small business owner, I’m equally as certain that you would like to offer a bundle of benefits to your employees – a bundle of benefits would do a lot to cement the loyalty of your team and provide for their wellbeing. This, in turn, would reduce turnover and absenteeism, along with all the headaches that accompany those kinds of staffing problems.

For years, the car makers have harnessed the power of bundles, but they call them packages. You can get the sport package, the luxury package, or the off-road package, for example. But the challenge of bringing the bundling concept to employee benefits is a bit trickier because states and local areas differ so much in needs, competition, regulations, and more.

That’s why I think the new MetLife Simply Smartsm Bundles are an extremely innovative and attractive entry into the small business benefits scene. The company has crafted a system that combines the power of a user-friendly website with their experience and expertise in the local small business benefits market. Let’s unpack those two points a little because they are crucial to appreciating the move MetLife has made with the launch of this website.

Website ease of use

When it comes to pulling together a benefits package for their companies, small business owners are basically like every other consumer today – they want to be able to research exactly what they need in the most convenient way possible. Retail businesses are following consumer sentiment and making ever-more information available on the Internet; MetLife is applying the same school of thought to the insurance business.

Many small business owners would much rather spend a few minutes on their computer at their convenience than have to break up their day to have a lengthy meeting with their broker – they are busy and want to jump-start the process. However, it takes a well-designed and “well-stocked” website to do this. In the case of bundled employee benefits, this means the site needs to be easy to use and then have the information you need on the insurance products required to meet the needs of your small business.

On the MetLife Simply Smartsm Bundles website, the process starts with entering your zip code and number of employees. The results show the bundle of benefits available in your area. You also see that there are various tiers of coverage, so you can fine tune your bundle to match your budget.

When I entered the zip code of my St. Louis hometown, I got a bundle that included dental, vision, life insurance, disability (short and long term), and the option of legal services.

Workforce loyalty and stability

I don’t think I need to tell you how difficult it is becoming to recruit and keep talented employees today. The national unemployment rate is hovering around 4 percent, which is essentially full employment.

Further, the latest statistics I saw showed that employees are quitting jobs at higher rates than we have seen for 17 years. This is one of the most telling statistics because it demonstrates that employees don’t fear finding new work. This environment leads to “job hopping,” which pushes up wages. This makes it even more critical to keep your employees satisfied and one of the foundational strategies to accomplish this is to offer the right mix of employee benefits.

MetLife has put together bundles designed to keep small businesses competitive within their local markets. By going with a bundle like this, small business owners don’t have to worry that they are out of synch with what competitors are offering.

Favorable price locks

Finally, if I can go back to one of the reasons Frank Fritz often relies on bundling, bundles allow you to get better pricing. In the case of the MetLife bundles, this includes prices that are locked in for two years. If you’re like me, you’ve experienced the dread of getting that yearly call from your insurance agent informing you about “next year’s pricing.” To be able to enjoy stable pricing for two years is a huge benefit for strategic planning.

I encourage you to check out the website. I know that if you were buying any other product, you would probably start your search online. If you’re looking for a bundle of competitive employee benefits, do the same thing: start your search online.

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.