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Dear Workforce How Do We Convince Management to Establish a Benefits Committee

I'm trying to convince senior management to establish a formal benefits committee to oversee our benefit plans. We have an investment committee for our qualified retirement plans (including 401(k) and defined-benefit plans) but no committee to oversee health/dental/life/disability plans. How do we convince senior management that such a committee is necessary? What steps should we follow to establish it?
January 14, 2005
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Related Topics: Benefit Design and Communication, Dear Workforce
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Dear Committed:

Request the authority to create a benefits committee in a powerfully written, persuasive memo. For instance:
Memo to Senior Management on Formation of a Benefits Committee:
"The cost of our employee benefit programs is soaring and represents our single-largest employment-related expense after direct compensation. The most significant contributor to our benefit-program costs has been our health plan, for which we have had double-digit increases in each of the last few years. Making matters worse, there's no prospect that this trend will abate in the near future. As a company, we need to get these costs under control, while recognizing the major role that benefits play in recruitment and retention. To that end, I suggest formally establishing a benefits committee to help us plan for this important challenge.
Benefits operate in a highly regulated environment. Newly enacted privacy rules about employees' "protected health information," or PHI, require us to review and monitor how health data is handled. They also mandate that we establish a training program for employees who deal directly with this data.
Consider what we face as a company. We need to optimize our benefits spending, but without breaking the bank. Moreover, we can't neglect the impact our benefit plan has on our ability to recruit and retain talent. Throw in the numerous government regulations with which we must comply, and you can see that this is a major undertaking. To that end, I suggest formally establishing a benefits committee to help us plan for this important challenge."
(Now describe the complexion of this committee.)
"Our chief human resources officer will serve as the committee chair and knowledge leader. The department heads will participate, which will facilitate the introduction of any necessary program changes. On the legal front, our counsel will make sure we understand and meet our compliance obligations. Members of the communications team will ensure that the right messages get conveyed to the right people. Last, benefits consultants bring added value by educating us about vendor costs, competitors' benefit programs and the current innovative strategies related to benefit plans.
To sum up, we believe that forming such a committee will help us get buy-in from company managers on benefit changes needed to contain costs. This committee also would help us gain a broad picture of employees' benefit needs and desires that can then be balanced with the company's organizational goals. Thank you for your consideration."
SOURCE: Norman Jacobson, senior vice president and health consultant, The Segal Company, March 5, 2004.
LEARN MORE:The Battle over Benefits.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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