A company’s success depends on its employees. Industry leaders in Canada understand this and invest a great deal of energy, resources, and money into hiring and retaining top talent.
As a company manager, you work hard to attract quality employees by offering competitive salaries, career growth opportunities, and a flexible work schedule with the option of working remotely. A broad employee insurance package is another significant advantage that could give your company an edge over industry competitors.
Read on as we provide an overview of new trends in employee benefits you might want to consider for your company or organization.
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Increased Awareness of Mental Health
Mental health has a direct effect on employee performance. Depression, anxiety, burnout, grief, and other mental health issues could lead to decreased employee engagement and diminished productivity. Sadly, many professionals delay taking care of their mental health until they’re facing serious problems.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought employees’ mental health to the forefront. While many employees thrived in remote work situations, others struggled with loneliness and instability. With the growing need of addressing mental health issues, many employers are now including or expanding mental health benefits as a part of their workers’ insurance package.
A company that provides comprehensive mental health support sends a clear message to its staff: We care about your well-being. Our company aims to create a safe, supportive environment for employees. Workplace mental health coverage also helps legitimize and de-stigmatize mental healthcare.
Employee mental health coverage can include access to resources like individual therapy, group therapy sessions, and even mental wellness seminars. As telemedicine grows more popular, coverage often extends to virtual meetings with a licensed therapist.
Expanded Childcare Benefits
For many employees, the switch to a remote or hybrid work schedule coincided with their young children transitioning to at-home learning. Working from home while juggling full-time childcare and household chores can turn into an almost impossible task. Focus, productivity, and efficacy all take a hit when employees don’t have access to dependable childcare services.
A limited number of large organizations offer on-site childcare. While such an arrangement can work for employees with traditional office hours, now more employers are funding childcare for remote workers as well. This could include both daycare centers and backup assistance.
Employee childcare benefits go hand in hand with flexible schedules and a family-friendly workplace policy. A valuable employee who has young children is more likely to choose a company that is willing to accommodate their family status.
Emergency Savings Funds
About one-third of Canadians have no emergency fund. Without rainy day savings, employees may find themselves in an extremely vulnerable situation when a financial emergency occurs.
Employees under financial stress may have no choice but to draw from their retirement savings accounts for immediate relief. Such practices can deal a devastating blow to employees’ future financial security and peace of mind.
Additionally, a worker who can’t come up with the funds for an urgent home repair or vehicle replacement may easily become disengaged and distracted. Leading companies understand this and encourage their employees to take important steps toward financial security, like establishing an emergency fund.
Different organizations can approach the issue of employee emergency savings in several ways. Some employers may incentivize their workers to save for emergencies by contributing a certain sum for every employee deposit in an emergency fund. Others may implement financial wellness programs and debt repayment programs in the workplace.
Stronger Emphasis on Health Coverage
Medical, dental, and vision coverage were always important elements of a group benefits insurance plan. A broad benefits package plays a significant role in employee satisfaction and loyalty. For many employees, healthcare benefits may be a deciding factor in entering a new work contract or deciding to retain their current position.
Workplace health insurance coverage encourages employees to take care of their health, which can improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. A good health plan will offer comprehensive, customizable benefits that answer employee needs.
Another recently dominant trend in employee health coverage emphasizes preventive care. Unfortunately, the confusion and chaos of the global pandemic have caused many workers to neglect their regular check-up schedule, which has led to a tide of late-diagnosed diseases like cancer and diabetes. Conscientious employers will encourage their staff to partake in timely health screenings.
Flexible Wellness Spending Accounts
Many leading Canadian employers now offer flexible WSAs (wellness spending accounts) that provide benefits beyond standard employee health insurance. A WSA, which works as a limited, taxable allowance, may cover wellness-related activities and products like nutrition counselling, a gym membership, or yoga lessons.
Wellness spending accounts have several important advantages. One is their flexibility. An employer can set up an individual WSA for every worker, based on considerations such as employee position and company policy. A WSA program may include a broad range of qualifying expenses, from OTC supplements to professional coaching.
Another benefit of a WSA is its ease of use. Employees have a pre-set amount to spend on eligible activities and products. They can easily make claims and receive reimbursement within a few business days.
A customizable wellness spending account can be a valuable tool in the hands of a company’s recruiting department. When a desirable employee has to choose between two similar positions, an adjustable WSA may sway them in the right direction.
Adjustment to Working From Home
With the onset of COVID-19 lockdowns and social restrictions, a large share of Canadian companies has had to adapt to working from home. With all the challenges of this sudden shift, many workers found that they thrived on a flexible work schedule and loved eliminating commutes from their daily routine.
When the economy began to re-open, many employees expressed their preference for the work-at-home or hybrid model compared to traditional Monday to Friday office hours. Offering a flexible schedule and telecommuting became a winning card for savvy company managers.
Employees who work from home may not be able to enjoy some advantages companies offer their on-site workers, like a company gym or recreation center. To offset these losses, a company may offer its remote workers other benefits, such as outfitting a home office, providing a more advanced PC, or covering a professional development course.
Employee engagement, along with employee recognition, is another important factor of a successful work-from-home setup. Employers may encounter a challenge in connecting remote workers to the corporate culture. Company get-togethers, employee achievement highlights, and regular virtual meetings can foster team unity.
Employee Benefits ROI: How to Choose the Right Type of Coverage for Your Company
Canadian employers can expand, improve, or reform their employee coverage in several ways. However, your organization may have limited resources to invest in employee benefits. How do you choose the type of new trends in employee benefits that will provide the highest value for both your company and individual workers?
Here are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing an employee coverage plan.
- ROI. You want a benefit plan that not only makes your workers happier but also contributes to the company’s bottom line. For example, a Harvard study has shown that employee wellness programs may yield a return as high as $6 for every dollar the employer invests.
- Company values. Your choice of employee benefits may reflect corporate values. For example, a company that emphasizes career growth could choose to give its employees increased funding for professional courses and seminars.
- Staff characteristics. The type of coverage you choose may depend on factors like your employees’ age. For example, older employees will have different health, lifestyle, and financial priorities compared to their younger colleagues.
- Employee choices. Staff members usually appreciate having choices in the employee benefits their company offers. Some workers may value more extensive dental or vision coverage, while others prioritize financial wellness plans or paid vacation time.
Numerous studies have shown that employee satisfaction and engagement rates were higher when employers offered broad healthcare benefits. In many cases, employees would choose an attractive benefits package over a direct salary rise.
Employees tend to value core benefits – health and wellness coverage, flexible hours, and work-from-home options – more than perks like an on-site gym or company retreats. Employees who have children or plan to start a family may appreciate benefits like paid parental leave and company-funded daycare.
As the Canadian workplace adjusts to global trends, leading companies emphasize benefits that focus on broad health coverage and employee well-being.
We hope this summary of new trends in employee benefits has provided useful information you may implement in your company’s employee coverage policy.
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