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Addressing the labour shortage with health benefits for small businesses

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on December 09, 2021

Just as the Canadian economy begins to ramp up, there have been small businesses who have had to limit their hours of operation, or shut their doors entirely, due to lack of staff.

Throughout the pandemic, small businesses have persevered with incredible resolve and resilience; yet a worsening labour shortage could derail their plans for full recovery.

So, what are businesses to do keep those plans on track and bounce back from Canada’s economic slowdown? In recent interviews with Canadian SME magazine and Benefits Canada, David Adams, vice-president business development and Alaina MacKenzie, regional vice-president business development for Medavie Blue Cross, propose answers to that question.

Number one is a recruitment and retention strategy offering health benefits for a multi-generational workforce that has needs and expectations as diverse as the employees themselves.

“Today’s workforce is shaped by employees who seek greater flexibility and choice, greater work life balance and want to work for a company with values that align with their own.” David Adams

From a total rewards perspective, benefits that were once thought of as nice-to-haves — optional benefits and personal wellness or health spending accounts (PWAs and HSAs) — are now becoming a standard part of a broader, more flexible approach to plan design, explains David.

In the fierce competition for new hires, Alaina says employers can’t afford not to have benefit programs, adding it is a key element of the value proposition that positions them as an employer of choice to prospective employees.

So how can small businesses who have less resources at their disposal afford to purchase health insurance for their employees? David and Alaina recommend pooled products ― entry-level benefits plans with a drug cap or a flat-rate amount.

These products ease the burden of high claims and deliver more predictable renewal, as well as allow employers to pass risk onto the carrier, Alaina explains. As a bonus, employers gain flexible options, such as HSAs and PWAs, to include in their rewards package.

“These are cost-certain benefits that also provide employees with a greater flexibility on how they want to spend those dollars.” Alaina MacKenzie

Medavie Blue Cross has a pooled product in place called Benefits for Small Business to give small business owners a cost-effective way to protect the health and wellbeing of their employees. The plan pools claims together to lower the impact of high claims activity and contain costs over time.

“They (small businesses) deserve to have the right team supporting them. We are here to provide them with options that are flexible and affordable, while ensuring they meet the needs of their employees.” David Adams

The plan is designed specifically for small businesses with up to 10 employees and is an ideal option for entrepreneurs who are growing their business and want to retain their top talent by offering benefits typically associated with bigger employers.

Read the Benefits Canada article featuring an interview with Alaina MacKenzie.

See 7 reasons businesses of all sizes should offer health benefits from an earlier Insights blog.

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