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Benefits research starts at scattered times

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: When does your organization’s HR department begin researching your organization’s benefits choices for the following year?

  • I don’t know – 33%
  • Q3 – 20%
  • Q2 – 15%
  • Q1 – 14%
  • It varies from year to year – 11%
  • Q4 – 8%

Assuming your benefits year is based on the calendar year, my go-to time to start researching and shopping for benefits is Q2. This gives me plenty of time to check on different brokers (if necessary), consider any changes to plans, flesh out details and get the plan ready for an early Q4 roll-out of information and preparation for change.

The large number of people who don’t know shows just how compartmentalized benefits administration has become. Most generalists and even some senior leaders probably only have a hint of when to start this process.

Lance Haun is community director for, the main guy over at and a member of the SmartBrief on Workforce Advisory Board.