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Practical steps employers can take to enhance their benefits, increase their competitiveness

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on September 22, 2022

Practical steps employers can take to enhance their benefits, increase their competitiveness

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on September 22, 2022

Editor’s Note: The following are top takeaways from Medavie Blue Cross’s recent Insight webinar on the “value of versatility”, which shared how employers can maximize the value of their benefit plans — and future-proof their business — by being versatile.

Enhance your value proposition. Health benefits can make up one-third of a company’s total rewards package. This makes them a key component of the employers’ recruitment and retention strategies. Adding benefits that are relevant and responsive to today’s realities can set your business apart from the competition when vying for new, skilled employees.

Review your plans. Regularly evaluate your benefits offering to ensure they help you achieve your organizational goals, whether that’s employees healthy and productive or attracting and retaining talent. If they’re not, maybe it’s time to meet with your advisor to assess your plan and adjust accordingly.

Raise awareness. Help employees gain better awareness and appreciation of their health benefits using your various internal channels and forums to communicate plan upgrades or spotlight certain benefits. In addition to making sure they know what benefits are available, remind them of how they can easily access them, whether through a mobile app or member portal.

Prioritize wellness. Demonstrate that employee wellbeing is your priority by making it the centre of your workplace education and communication activities. For example, try partnering with local health experts to offer wellness-focused webinars and provide downloadable tools and resources to help employees self-manage their health.

Engage employees. Invite employees to have input into their benefit plans through one-on-one conversations or confidential surveys. This will ensure your benefits are evolving to meet people’s unique needs — and your business is maintaining a competitive edge.

Show empathy. Create meaningful work. Foster a culture of caring that promotes openness, understanding and support around workplace wellbeing. When you go the extra mile for your employees, they’ll go the extra mile for you.

Create a healthy work environment. Ensure your employees are set up with the right technology and equipment to do their jobs effectively, whether at home or in the office. For example, you can help offset the cost of ergonomically correct chairs to prevent back pain or anti-glare screens for computers to reduce eye strain.

Be inclusive. An increasing number of employers are advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusive (DEI) initiatives to support their employees and attract talent. This strategy can involve adding inclusive benefits like gender affirmation benefits, hormone replacement therapy or fertility coverage. Look closely at your benefits through a DEI lens, and you’re likely to find that some inclusive benefits already exist in your packages, such as support for women’s health or conditions like diabetes and obesity.

Stay connected. Regularly check in with your employees. Ongoing communication is essential. Try surveying employees to better understand how they’re doing and how you, as their employer, can provide relevant support. In doing so, you can maintain a strong workplace culture even when employees are physically apart.

Increase mental health support. What makes benefit plans more desirable? For 88% of working Canadians who responded to a recent Ipsos poll, mental health support was the number one choice, followed by a Health Spending Account (HSA). Employers can respond by enhancing their Employee Assistance Program, adding in-person and virtual mental wellness services like text therapy, increasing coverage maximums for counselling services and more.

Flex your benefits. People are becoming more wellness conscious and want to be in the driver's seat of their health care. Flexible benefits options like Health Spending Accounts and Personal Wellness Accounts can help businesses of all sizes and different financial resources give employees more choice and control over how they spend their benefit dollars and contribute to their wellbeing.

Get digital. Employers have to meet employees where they’re at — and for a considerable percentage of employees, that’s online. Try providing employees with timely access to expert care and enhancing their experience with technology-enabled health services like online counselling for mental health, acute care issues or chronic disease management. This will ensure employees receive targeted, expedited care and prevent minor health issues from escalating into major ones.

View a recording of our panel discussion, featuring special guest Pierre Battah, an award-winning author and a leadership and HR specialist. Pierre is a long-time nationally syndicated workplace columnist for CBC/Radio-Canada, a TEDx presenter and a former senior manager in HR. He was joined by our own Derek Weir, Manager of Optional Benefits, Catherine Biermann, Product Portfolio Manager, and host Steve Cameron, Regional Vice President, Business Development.

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