May 2017 Newsletter


40 Under Forty Award

North Bay Busi­ness Journal


We are pleased and hon­ored to announce that our Man­ag­ing Part­ner, Stephen McNeil was just award­ed the North Bay Busi­ness Jour­nal’s 40 Under Forty Award for achievement
& inter­viewed by the pop­u­lar busi­ness newspaper.


They asked him about:


Respon­si­bil­i­ties with your com­pa­ny: Oversee
day-to-day oper­a­tions, finance, and Shared Ser­vices (FSA, Den­tal, and COBRA department)

How do you exem­pli­fy the spir­it of being a top 40 Under Forty pro­fes­sion­al?:  I try and bring ener­gy, fresh ideas, and inno­va­tion every day into an indus­try where these things have historically
been deficient.


Great­est pro­fes­sion­al chal­lenge: Nav­i­gat­ing our clients through a continually
tumul­tuous time in Amer­i­can health care.



Intro­duc­ing… Cul­ture Insights!

Arrow Ben­e­fits Group’s HR Divi­sion rolls out new program



Cul­ture Insights is an inno­v­a­tive process through which a per­son­al­ized plan is devel­oped for employ­ers to help them oper­ate at their high­est poten­tial by examining
the com­pa­ny from six key angles. 




The pro­gram’s aim is to help com­pa­nies become strong employ­ers whose hir­ing prac­tices, treat­ment of employ­ees, and envi­ron­ment collectively
sup­port a more pos­i­tive and pro­duc­tive cul­ture. A com­pa­ny’s suc­cess is depen­dent on its work­force, and for a com­pa­ny to attract and retain a suc­cess­ful work­force it needs to be ultra-focused on the wants and needs of the indi­vid­u­als it wish­es to appeal to.
Most com­pa­nies focus on salaries and ben­e­fits to attract employ­ees, but that’s not always what keeps peo­ple hap­py and engaged, espe­cial­ly with today’s work­force. If a com­peti­tor offers the same salary and ben­e­fits, what can an orga­ni­za­tion do to differentiate


The key to suc­cess­ful employ­ee reten­tion is to dif­fer­en­ti­ate from oth­er employ­ers. “We believe we can build a stronger community by build­ing stronger employ­ers. Stronger employ­ers trans­late into a stronger local econ­o­my and hap­pi­er, more pro­duc­tive cit­i­zens,” explains facil­i­ta­tor, Arrow Prin­ci­pal Andrew McNeil. To read more about the program

click here
and to par­tic­i­pate call Andrew direct­ly at 707–992-3789 or 
[email protected]






An In-Depth Interview

With Employ­ee Ben­e­fit Adviser


Once our Cul­ture Insights Pro­gram launched, our indus­try lead­ing mag­a­zine inter­viewed Andrew McNeil for in-depth piece.

Is Com­pa­ny Cul­ture the New Fron­tier of Benefits?

By Bruce Shutan

Pub­lished April 28, 2017 3:42 pm EDT


With the increas­ing com­modi­ti­za­tion of employ­ee ben­e­fits, how can com­pa­nies in tight labor mar­kets win the war on tal­ent? At least one brokerage known for push­ing the enve­lope believes it has the answer.


Arrow Ben­e­fits Group’s HR divi­sion is rolling out Cul­ture Insights, which devel­ops a per­son­al­ized plan for employ­ers to oper­ate at their highest poten­tial from six key angles. They include cor­po­rate pur­pose, mis­sion, val­ues, cul­ture, HR and employ­ee ben­e­fits. The pro­gram, which does­n’t have any paid cus­tomers yet, was inspired by a 2016 tour of by Andrew McNeil, an advis­er with Arrow Benefits Group. Anoth­er source of moti­va­tion was a sur­vey the firm did of mil­len­ni­als, Gen-Xers and baby boomers.


“Peo­ple want to work for a place where they feel val­ued and are aligned with the mis­sion and pur­pose of that orga­ni­za­tion,” he explains, regardless of their age or indus­try. “They don’t just want a paycheck.”




With guar­an­teed issue a cen­ter­piece of the Afford­able Care Act, work­ers need more than great ben­e­fits to retain them. Employ­ees “are stay­ing in their jobs for a short­er amount of time,” McNeil says, adding that while com­pa­ny cul­ture is a hot top­ic, it’s large­ly not being viewed as an employ­ee ben­e­fit or some­thing that should be inte­grat­ed with benefits.


Spot­light­ing cul­ture rep­re­sents a growth oppor­tu­ni­ty for the bro­ker­age com­mu­ni­ty, agrees Nel­son Gris­wold, an agency growth con­sul­tant, author, columnist and keynote speak­er who sees many indus­try prac­ti­tion­ers embrac­ing more of a human cap­i­tal man­age­ment mod­el. As part of that shift, he says the empha­sis is on help­ing employ­er clients improve employ­ee health, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, expe­ri­ence and value.


“This is a very inter­est­ing ini­tia­tive in that direc­tion because it’s a holis­tic approach to a num­ber of very crit­i­cal aspects of a cor­po­ra­tion or busi­ness,” Gris­wold says of the Cul­ture Insights pro­gram, call­ing it an inno­v­a­tive and for­ward-think­ing approach. “The idea of your ben­e­fits advis­er help­ing struc­ture your cor­po­rate pur­pose, mis­sion, etc., is a tremen­dous val­ue because nobody else is going
to help you.”


The issue is so sig­nif­i­cant that it can actu­al­ly com­pli­cate new-com­pa­ny growth. For exam­ple, any hon­ey­moon peri­od that star­tups enjoy with their employ­ees invari­ably will head south if cor­po­rate cul­ture isn’t strong­ly val­ued. Of more than 100 ear­ly stage ven­tures exam­ined, 70% were more like­ly to report high­er turnover rates if their founders scored the impor­tance of cul­ture low­er than the top spot
on a 10-point scale.


The find­ing was fea­tured in a recent Har­vard Busi­ness Jour­nal arti­cle co-authored by David Niu, CEO of TINY­pulse, and Mark Roberge, chief revenue offi­cer of the mar­ket­ing firm who also lec­tures at Har­vard Busi­ness School.


Many “cul­tur­al chasm” dif­fi­cul­ties that were spot­ted in the third to fourth year of a start­up rebound­ed sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the fifth and six year, with man­age­ment trans­paren­cy dri­ving employ­ee hap­pi­ness more than ben­e­fits or work-life balance.


Mon­ey mat­ters. How­ev­er, there are skep­tics who doubt the fire­pow­er of cul­ture’s impact on the work­force rel­a­tive to the tra­di­tion­al underpinnings of HR and ben­e­fits. “In the end, peo­ple care about pay, and they end up with their own per­son­al inter­est,” says Joe Mark­land, pres­i­dent of HR Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors, LLC.


He recalls con­duct­ing an employ­ee sur­vey sev­er­al years ago show­ing mon­ey and time, respec­tive­ly, scor­ing high­est with every­thing else a dis­tant third.
“If some­one’s liv­ing pay­check to pay­check, then mon­ey is all that mat­ters,” Mark­land believes.


The new way to give employ­ees the ben­e­fits they want is sim­pler than you think.


His sense is that cast­ing atten­tion on the strate­gic val­ue of improv­ing cor­po­rate cul­ture amounts to “repack­ag­ing” old ideas as opposed to breaking new ground. More­over, he points out that Zap­pos, Google and oth­er firms known for pam­per­ing their employ­ees are rare. “The per­cep­tion is every­one has got ping-pong tables and free lunch,” he says. “The aver­age employ­er is not liv­ing that way.”


But McNeil says many small­er employ­ers, while rec­og­niz­ing they don’t have the where­with­al of Sil­i­con Val­ley dar­lings, believe this approach still makes sense to them. “From a ben­e­fits land­scape, it’s just a dif­fer­ent way to go in a dif­fer­ent door, and you have a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent mes­sage than any­body else,” he adds. Since ben­e­fits are deliv­ered off the shelf in many of these firms, a deep­er focus
on cul­ture and oth­er intan­gi­bles can serve as a key differentiator.


There’s also a larg­er pur­pose behind the Cul­ture Insights pro­gram. In all his email cor­re­spon­dence, McNeil now includes the fol­low­ing philosophical
state­ment: “We believe we can build a stronger com­mu­ni­ty by build­ing stronger employ­ers. Stronger employ­ers trans­late into a stronger local econ­o­my and hap­pi­er, more pro­duc­tive citizens.”





Arrow Ben­e­fits Group

One Wil­low­brook Court, Suite 230

Petaluma, CA 94954


Phone: 707.992.3780

Stay Con­nect­ed