Good Ideas

What makes a good idea a good idea?

On the surface it seems straightforward, but the closer you look at it, the more things unravel. For example, on the surface we might think that, “because it works,” is enough of an answer, or, “because it’s a great price.” But, on their own, those are dangerous answers.

When we think about what makes a good idea, there are three elements that seem to show up time and time again. They are:

  1. It serves the underlying philosophy or context of the client
  2. It makes financial sense, both long and short term
  3. It serves all parties

Let’s look at those.

It serves the underlying philosophy or context of the client

Benefits consultants are famous for their spreadsheets. Many want to “run the numbers” for you and find the best deal. But you’re not buying pork bellies, oranges or bushels of corn – something more important is going on. Your organization has an underlying desire, mindset or philosophy that it’s trying to express. Employee benefits and retirement plans are a channel for expressing that philosophy. The starting point in any plan design needs to be at the context, or your philosophy.

It makes financial sense, both long and short term

Things tend to play out over a longer period of time than we normally think. Our decisions echo into the future where we get to face them again and again. This is true of employee benefits. Financial decisions that are made purely on “saving money this fiscal year” can be dangerous, or brilliant, depending on what’s happening overall for your organization. Without understanding the big picture, the employee benefits can rarely be designed properly. But, once the big picture is clear, then financial options can be explored that will make sense now AND in the future (when you’ll get to face them again).

It serves all parties

Employee benefits take care of employees, and they take care of employers. Intelligent plan design can achieve both and everyone can win through design. There are dozens of ways to make sure that a plan is efficient, or that the administration costs are controlled, and so on. Premium payers, both employee and employer, understand increasing plan costs and share the same concerns of long term plan sustainability. If you think it needs to be win-lose, let us take a look at it – because it doesn’t.