<img src="//bat.bing.com/action/0?ti=5739614&amp;Ver=2" height="0" width="0" style="display:none; visibility: hidden;">

There’s one type of question that’s more important than all RFP questions put together.



As Simon Sinek explains in his book and popular TED Talk Start with Why, successful organizations and leaders thrive by first focusing on the why. “Achievement happens when we pursue and attain what we want,” Sinek says. “Success comes when we are in clear pursuit of why we want it.”

Unfortunately, most benefits RFPs are triggered not by helping the buyer succeed and grow, but instead by a desire to “fix” a poor experience with their current vendor.

Take the enrollment experience, for example. If your current platform is complicated or unintuitive, you probably spend a lot of resources helping your employees enroll. Frustrated, you may include a question in your RFP like, “Do you have a member call center?” While that’s a good question in a “request for proposal,” it’s not the best one for a “request for progress.”

The best RFPs are just that: a request for progress, because they include questions built around your organization’s broader people strategy. So, as Sinek recommends, start with your why—the embodiment of your HR team’s unique contribution and impact to your organization.

To help you formulate questions that address your broader business goals and objectives, here are few samples designed to probe whether potential vendors are aligned with helping you address the variety of “big picture” initiatives you and your team may be responsible for.


Sample Question

Empower employees to be make the most of their benefits to improve health outcomes and positively impact our population’s rate of potentially preventable disease. How does your solution leverage data to drive an omni-channel engagement experience that ensures employees maximize the use of their benefits?
Increase employee retention by conveying the complete value of our investment in them.


How do you leverage total rewards within your solution to drive a year-round engagement vehicle that guides employees to a full understanding of their overall compensation, benefits and perks within the organization?
Maximize employee self-service to create opportunities for engagement when it’s most convenient for them.
What intelligent and automated tools are embedded within your solution to maximize employee self-service when and where they need assistance, and how has these tools impacted member call volume?
Empower employees to seek high-value, high-quality in-network care.
Do you offer a technology-enabled provider look-up tool that includes cost estimates and quality ratings, and that can be configured to prioritize in-network care? If so, how do you promote this feature to the member?
Ensure a positive employee experience during mergers and acquisitions.
We typically complete 2 to 3 acquisitions each year when we bring acquired employees into our benefits on day one. What are your best practices for successfully accomplishing multiple acquisitions like this each year?


We've put together a comprehensive RFP guide to help you through this process. As you read through the guide, we encourage you to regularly circle back to your organization’s why, especially when you review the section on your Desired Future State. By conveying your why to potential partners, you ensure you are working together toward your ultimate benefits vision. Remember what Simon Sinek says. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Show them your why.

Art of the RFP: RFP guide

View all Posts by Mike Meyerring