Savvy employers offer opportunities for employees to maximize their physical, emotional and financial health
Potential employees are hungry for long-term opportunity, and that means more than a good wage and vacation days. In fact, numerous employee satisfaction studies suggest that potential job seekers will choose employee benefits over a significant cash bonus, and these numbers tell an important story.
“There is a greater sense in the workforce today of what benefits actually do for the employee,” says Kandy Cantwell, partner with Montridge Advisory Group, an employee benefits, pension and executive compensation consulting firm in Vancouver. “This a defining theme among top employers—people understand that employers who offer great benefit plans are taking care of them.”
A great plan might be flexible to address the needs of a changing workforce, or it may offer plenty of options for myriad services and care provisions. Most importantly, contemporary and robust benefit plans are anything but traditional.
“It doesn’t matter the employer’s size or whether the employee is single or in a family, there are always ways to build in flexibility and make that plan valuable to the employee,” Cantwell says.
According to a new survey by KPMG, 65% of Canadian millennials worry if they buy a home, they won’t have enough for retirement. Among millennial survey respondents who do own a home, 42 per cent said they’re putting their retirement savings on hold to pay off, or pay down, their mortgage.
“It’s difficult to have the discipline to set aside retirement savings when living in a region that’s so expensive,” Cantwell says. “Financial stress quickly leads to poor work performance, so this is a great area where employers can shine.”
Savvy employers provide retirement programs, financial education sessions (something that’s high on employee wish lists), and additional retirement vehicles for high income-earners.
“This could be as simple as creating a voluntary RSP program so employees have the resources and vehicle to achieve success in retirement,” Cantwell says.
In-demand employers also have initiatives that support an employee’s emotional health—a top reason for disability leaves of absence among Canadian workplaces.
“Employee support could mean additional coverage for psychology services or it could mean building wellness programs into the workplace culture,” Cantwell says. “An Employee Assistance Plan is a relatively inexpensive way to give employees resources and places they can turn so they know they can get help.”
Employee demographics have changed over the past two decades, and employers who adapt to meet the needs of an evolving workforce will be most successful long term. “Employers who provide their workforce with essential resources, flexibility and guidance will always have an edge when attracting and retaining top talent,” Cantwell says.