As workplaces transition to hybrid models and the competition for new hires intensifies, it’s an opportune time for employers to recalibrate their recruitment strategies — and a big component of this is modernizing benefit plans to reflect today’s workplace realities.
Health benefits can make an all-important difference in retaining and attracting top talent. This was confirmed by a recent Ipsos poll, which found that 73% of young working Canadians aged 18-34 and 69% of workers 35-44 are significantly more likely to switch employers for better benefits.
So, what features make some benefit plans more desirable than others? For the survey respondents, it was a package that offered more support for mental health (88%), a health spending account (80%) and options to add additional coverage (79%) to better meet personal or financial objectives. With 61% of young workers reporting a decline in their overall wellbeing and a similar number (58%) experiencing a decline in their mental health, the survey findings - and those of similar research studies - align with the physical and psychological state of younger workers.
The results also mirror attitudinal changes toward health benefits. Increasingly, employers want greater choice and control over how they spend their benefit dollars and contribute to their health and wellness. One-size-fits-all benefits programs no longer cut it with today’s employees, making flexibility a key table stake in plan design. In response, employers are going above and beyond their core offering with customizable options like personal wellness and health spending accounts.
There has also been a major shift in how Canadians access and receive health care, accelerated by the pandemic. In the absence of medical clinics and emergency departments, they turned to virtual care for diagnosis and treatment – and will likely continue in increasing numbers. It’s a trend employers can tap into by adding technology-enabled health services to their plans, like online counselling for mental health or chronic disease management.
Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace has become another priority for employers. A recent study by Mercer found that 70% of Canadian employers are focused on making their workplaces more inclusive and 30% have a multi-year diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy. As part of their strategy, they are adding inclusive benefits to their plans to support diverse employees.
As one of Canada’s leading all-in-one carriers responsible for the management of benefits for nearly 1 in 10 Canadians, we at Medavie Blue Cross are continually innovating our benefits to meet the changing needs and expectations of plan sponsors and their members.
New Medavie Blue Cross Benefits
For example, we recently became the first health insurer in Canada to offer coverage for Text Therapy, joining the mental wellness options available through our digital health platform, Connected Care. Over the past 12 months, we have also created a Pharmacogenetic Testing Benefit, a first-to-market digital Diabetes Care Program and a personalized health care navigation service to reduce the wait times of disability claimants to see a specialist. We have also introduced a Gender Affirmation Benefit to support members throughout their transitioning journey.
Health benefits can make up one-third of a company’s total rewards package. They can make or break deals in negotiating offers of employment. More importantly, they can determine a workforce’s health and productivity and ultimately impact a company’s bottom line. For these reasons and more, employers should consider enhancing their value proposition with benefits that are relevant and responsive to today’s multi-generational workforce and set a business apart from the competition when vying for new, skilled employees.