Attracting and keeping top employee talent is one of the secrets to success. If you are not doing that, then you are hiring the castoffs others don’t want. In any business, part of the secret to getting and keeping top performers is never easy and requires a company do many things right.
One of the things that you need to “get right” is your employee benefit plan. This is true whether you are in Canada or the USA. Here we discuss what you need to get right, and for companies in Canada, we give suggestions for selecting good benefit providers.
No matter where your company is located, the same keys for using an employee benefit program to advance your company’s success are the same.
Real ROI for Your Business
Keeping your talented workers motivated requires more than just recognition and “Employee of the Month” awards. Aside from basic compensation, most companies offer some form of employee benefits, such as top-up health and dental insurance. However, few employers have a strategic approach to this, which can make the difference between just keeping staff happy and generating return on investment (ROI) for your business.
Align Benefits with Your HR Goals
For your employee benefit program to deliver real value to both you and your employees, it’s essential that it aligns with and supports your company’s HR goals. Is one of your goals to attract and retain talent in a specific field? If so, how does your benefits package support this?
Take a Big Picture View
Drilling down into the minutiae of an employee benefits package is your benefit consultant’s job, not yours.
You might be surprised to find a program perceived as offering real value needs to include options such as:
- Flexible schedules, e.g. a four-day week, job sharing or telecommuting,
- Non-job related education and training, so your accountant can pursue his dream of going to chef school in his leisure time,
- Paid (or unpaid) sabbaticals, to facilitate the ideal of spending a year in a kibbutz without necessarily leaving the job,
- Paternity leave for the super-involved new dad, and
- Paid gym memberships or other sports activities.
Keep it Relevant
There’s nothing more useless than options nobody takes up, so don’t get sucked into the benefit provider’s list of standard “add-ons” unless they are on your list of must-haves. While your benefits program should meet the needs of the majority of your workers,
Building in the Nice-to-Haves
You might also find it surprising to know what some of your top talent considers to be benefits. Research shows options employees typically wish they had available include:
- Having replacement mechanisms in place to enable key employees to take their full vacations at one time without feeling guilty or apprehensive.
- Taking sick days without having to jump through hoops to produce a doctor’s note.
- Qualified stress counseling covered by their employer or their insurance.
- Finding a Benefits Provider.
Canada has by no means the same number of employee benefit providers as our cousins down South, but there are a few likely candidates to choose from. They don’t necessarily have to be the biggest, either; sometimes it’s the smaller companies that are more flexible and in a better position to offer unique packages. With that said, it’s essential that you choose a provider with sound financial backing, especially if you want to include RRSP and/or investment options.
The takeaway from this is that an “attractive employee benefits package” means different things to different people.
These also need to be aligned with your company’s HR goals and be able to grow with your business, so you may need a customized program to achieve that. Don’t just go with what’s available; you owe it to yourself and your workers to do an in-depth investigation into what they want and need, and then find a way to provide it for them. An experienced business consultant can help you understand how best to motivate your workers and leverage your benefits program for ROI.