Mathew Augustine, CEO of Workforce Junction, was interviewed by Adam Torres on Mission Matters Business Podcast.
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Mathew Augustine talks with Mission Matters about how employee benefits advisors leverage benefits solutions to help small to mid-size businesses win the battle for resources needed to operate at peak effectiveness and grow.
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What mission matters to you?
Driven by a mission to help benefits brokers, benefits advisors, and small business owners leverage the power of outsourcing, Augustine says it’s his goal to help companies compete with their larger contemporaries.
Of Workforce Junction’s mission, he says it’s “to give small to mid-sized employers the edge that they need to outcompete big-business.”
“The second part,” he adds, “is to empower the employee benefits advisors to profitably serve these small to mid-sized employers and grow their business. This matters because we believe that these people who own and work for small to mid-sized businesses deserve the same benefits and advantages available to big businesses.”
What’s more, the role of smaller businesses should never be underestimated, Augustine stresses. “This segment created two-thirds of net new jobs in the first two decades of this millennium, and yet they are the ones who are underserved when it comes to employee benefits,” he says. This disparity, he explains, is a large part of what drives Workforce Junction to offer the custom solutions it does, with a generous emphasis on the needs of small to mid-size businesses.
How did Workforce Junction come about?
Augustine got started amid the technology outsourcing boom of the early ’90s. Initially a partner to a benefits advisory firm, he got deeper into the trade and realized he wanted to expand his reach. The firm’s board split off into separate entities, giving birth to what is now Workforce Junction.
“I was not really motivated by the typical entrepreneurial journey of the tech startups,” he says, “however, I did see the promise of technology enabling a better, very high-touch, people-first employee benefits business. The benefits industry really offers an opportunity to really be in there, working with employers and employees, helping them with challenges that they face on an everyday basis.”
What are some big challenges smaller businesses face with regard to benefits?
“Benefits, along with pay, are one of the core reasons people choose to work for the employer they do.” says Augustine. “But so are things like company culture, succession planning, work/life balance and other functions of an HR department. That’s why we not only help manage the benefits component but also free up resources to focus on the other functions.”
Augustine says helping small and medium-sized businesses realize the full value of employee benefits is challenging since they don’t generally have the luxury of big budgets. To be successful in attracting and retaining the resources needed, they need to offer a work or career experience that is decidedly different. More flexibility, a direct path to personal success – however the employee defines it – and in general, a more human experience. Employee benefits can play a significant role in creating this advantage, Augustine says.
To serve these employers well, to deliver the best outcomes, benefits advisors must focus on their core competencies and outsource the rest.
“The pressure is really from not having enough time to do everything that they need and want to do,” he notes. Other issues include allocating resources as efficiently and effectively as possible, especially during the third and fourth quarters when renewals are due for the next fiscal year.
“This is where you can look at getting more automation without losing out (on) that high-touch support and service,” he notes.
How technology and trust result in better outcomes
“We are a company that has a focus on technology within the broader context of the benefits industry,” Augustine explains, adding, “the role of technology is to empower people to do better work.”
Noting that Workforce Junction’s 24/7 customer support offers great peace of mind for its clients, he says it focuses on “relationships first, service second, and technology third, and that is pervasive through the company.”
To learn more, visit Workforce Junction online.