Kandy Cantwell, partner at Montridge Advisory Group
The advantages are clearly documented for employers who make work and life integrate well for their staff
As demand for qualified talent increases, an increasing number of businesses become trapped in a recruiting rivalry to attract the best and brightest professionals. In order to stand out and make your company more attractive to employees, you’ll need to move beyond what others are doing, starting with one of the top drivers for employee satisfaction: an impactful employee benefits program.
According to a 2017 report by Sun Life Financial Canada, more than 40 per cent of Canadians say they would turn down a job offer if it didn’t include employee benefits. At its core, benefits are all about employee recruitment and retention, which comes from people feeling valued, something employee benefits expert Kandy Cantwell, partner at Montridge Advisory Group, addresses with her clients as one of the key influencers to remain competitive in their respective market as an employer of choice.
“Employees who feel appreciated and valued are more likely to remain long term,” says Cantwell. “Offering coverage for both the day-to-day health expenses — as well as catastrophic events — relieves stress on employees and their families. It provides that proverbial blanket that ensures they feel taken care of.”
A Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey 2017 revealed that 86 per cent of employees are happy with where they work when they feel their company culture supports their health and wellness. Cash bonuses aren’t necessarily effective benefits anymore, according to Cantwell, particularly against a comprehensive benefits strategy. “Benefit and wellness plans are more tax efficient than additional cash compensation and benefit premiums are typically structured so that the benefits received by employees are tax-free and tax-deductible to employers.”
Every company and individual’s needs are different and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee benefit programs; therefore, it’s important to research what employees are really looking for.
By tailoring programs to engage employee interests and increasing awareness to drive program usage, companies realize improved outcomes and increased business performance. “Benefit plans can be structured in many different ways — possibly offering more coverage to management or professionals, or rewarding staff for their years of service,” says Cantwell.
Personal financial planning is a key feature for making employee benefit plans more relevant, as cited by Millennials and Gen Z employees in a Sun Life Financial 2017 research document. In catering to this demographic, Cantwell believes financial wellness is one of the most essential benefits, especially living in the Lower Mainland. For example, employees want to know how to create a budget or how to get in the housing market.
The advantages are clearly documented for employers who help relieve stress and make work and life integrate well for employees. Talking with your employee benefits adviser and implementing solutions to improve employee well-being helps to position your business toward higher retention levels, enhanced employee engagement and a thriving workplace.
“The more your employees feel that you’re trying to take care of them — the longer they’ll stay,” says Cantwell. “They’re your biggest cost but also your biggest asset.”