By
Colin McLain

As we’ve already ventured into the first few weeks of the new year, it may seem a little late to talk about the “r” word. Yes, you may have guessed it — resolutions.

So before you stop reading, I’m not talking about the generic placeholder personal resolutions like losing weight, exercising more, decluttering, reading more, traveling more, etc. No, I’d like you to pause and consider what your organization’s employee benefits resolutions are for the new year.

Chances are, you’ve already set forth a plan on how to make your organization better in 2020 and beyond. For some, you may not feel so confident on your path or may feel unsure your goals will get you where you want to be. Let’s take a look at two ideas that may help you find your resolve in the New Year.

Option 1: Make a SMART Goal

Perhaps you’ve heard of using the SMARTest when setting your New Year resolutions (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). SMART is a popular framework to establish a clear picture of what success will look like so that you know when you’ve achieved it. With a clear destination, you’ll know just how far you’ve come and how far you have left to go. Let’s define each:

Specific

Specific really means choosing wisely. Imagine if you had to eat the same meal for dinner every day for the rest of the year. You wouldn’t simply pick what’s in your kitchen right now. You’d be thoughtful and consider what’s important…protein, vegetables, grains, and of course, dessert! Be intentional (and honest) about what matters to your benefits, your culture, and your business. Imagine what you want others to see and want to be a part of.

Measurable

If you can’t measure it, then how will you know if it’s successful? And by measuring, it doesn’t always have to be quantitative; it can also be qualitative. For example: Quantitative may include something like “employee participation.” That’s a number/metric that can be easily defined. Qualitative may be “employee morale,” which is much more difficult to define and measure, but it’s obvious when it goes up or down. As long as you know what direction or destination you’re aiming for, almost anything can be measured.

Achievable

You have to be realistic. Start with an honest look at where you are now. Too many goals or too large of goals may not be realistic to achieve over the course of the year. I’m not suggesting that it’s not possible to achieve big things. It is, and you should strive for that, but don’t overestimate your capacity for change. Change is hard, and overestimating what’s achievable may lead to discouragement when you don’t see it happen quickly. The goal isn’t to simply achieve success, but to consistently maintain that success.

Relevant

Goals should be relevant to your organization’s “WHY.” If you’re not choosing goals that will help further solidify your “WHY,” then why do it? It’s important to follow your WHY, the purpose, passion, and beliefs of your organization. Your WHY should inspire you and attract those to your cause and mission. Your goals should be directed at strengthening your WHY.

Time-bound

Time is fleeting. It plays no favorites and will pass whether you act or not. Be sure to breakdown your goals into specific milestones and tie these to smaller chunks of time. For example: You should have monthly goals, quarterly goals, and ultimately, yearly goals. These short-term milestones will help you better understand where you are in measuring your overall goals. These milestones may feel small at first, but they’ll go a long way toward sustaining progress.

Defining your resolutions may seem easy, and sometimes it is. The difficulty is maintaining the accountability to achieve them. The SMART framework can help and so can Core Beliefs.

A girl holding a pen and paper questioning things

Option 2: Core Beliefs Provide a Framework to Achieve Your Business Goals

Holmes Murphy’s proprietary exercise, Core Beliefs, is another framework to help you define your resolutions and find your healthcare WHY.

How does it work? Easy. We start with the key stakeholders and benefit decision-makers of your organization. We then pose intentional and courageous questions. For example: We ask employers to think about this “OR” question when it comes to their role:

The employer’s role is to financially and administratively support the healthcare plan.

OR

Because the employer owns the risk, it is their responsibility to influence the health risk of the population.

Note: Neither belief is wrong, but knowing what your organization’s beliefs are will provide focus on what’s important with your benefit strategy.

The responses from these questions result in a set of well-defined, measurable goals that are phased over multiple years and hold all parties accountable to achieving the desired outcome.

Many who have participated in the Core Beliefs exercise state that it’s one of the most valuable and helpful processes in their employee benefits strategy. If you’re a current client, chances are you’ve already participated. If you’ve not completed a Core Beliefs session, I would encourage you to ask your representative!

It could just be the SMARTest decision you make all year.