The bottom line matters – but so does engaging and stabilizing your workforce
With rising costs and labour shortages expected to continue, Canadian employers will need to take steps to strengthen their organizations. This means not only paying attention to the bottom line, but also considering ways to engage and stabilize the workforce.
In 2024, organizations can differentiate themselves by offering personalized benefits. They can identify organizational goals to drive and support expenditures. And offering financial well-being programs – including retirement-readiness support – will improve employee stability.
1. Financial concerns
Inflation and rising costs will strain employee benefits programs. Employers are already facing rising premiums, particularly with fees for employer-sponsored dental plans increasing between five percent and 10 percent. At the same time, skyrocketing drug costs have led insurers to pay a record-breaking amount in claims – including nearly $44 billion in medical claims alone.
Yet employers find themselves with few options. The fierce competition for talent has pushed employers to cover the extra costs themselves rather than pass them on to employees. Employers will look to personalized benefits offerings in order to spend their benefits dollars strategically. Engaging an experienced benefits broker will help organizations find these types of savings in benefits plans.
2. Employee interests
It’s an employee’s workplace today. Recruitment and retention are challenges with fewer available workers. Employers will use their benefits offerings to attract and retain that new talent, since a majority of Canadian workers – especially those under 30 – are willing to change jobs for a stronger benefits package.
But building that stronger benefits package requires the use of data and analytics to inform the benefits strategy – and many organizations simply aren’t leveraging the data appropriately. Whether it’s financial education, fertility benefits, or mental health coverage, organizations must understand their employees’ needs. Tools like HUB’s Workforce Persona Analysis can clarify the gaps between those needs and the organization’s current offerings. Personalized benefits based on data and analytics will put the right benefits into the hands of the right employees, delivering quality employee experiences (QEX) that improve recruiting and retention.
3. Organizational resilience
The pressure is on. When finances are tight, rising costs come under increasing scrutiny. HR leaders and benefits managers will have to combat the issue by more obviously aligning benefits offerings with organizational goals. Identifying critical goals such as employee well-being and job engagement goes a long way toward boosting recruitment and retention.
An integrated benefits strategy connects the organization with the benefits program more closely. Folding in those goals, such as financial literacy, physical well-being, and mental health, can help direct leaders to support the right goals. In many cases, it’s about offering the right technology solutions. For example, when organizational leaders understand that their employees need the simplicity of an app, they are better able to support the financial investment in that solution.
4. Retirement issues
Retirement savings are a real issue for most Canadians. Although Gen Z employees have started investing in RRSPs earlier than expected, approximately half of working Canadians know they aren’t ready for retirement and roughly one-third haven’t set aside any retirement savings at all.
Today, many employees are looking for help from their employers. Organizations can send a strong message of support if they offer not only a retirement savings plan but also financial well-being initiatives to engage younger employees who haven’t thought about their lives “after work.” Those that build a strong communications plan to engage employees and offer financial well-being on top of it will build a workforce that is loyal and engaged.
Planning for 2024
It can be challenging to build comprehensive, successful benefits programs. But those who turn to a benefits broker for guidance will have an easier time getting started. In 2024, organizations that follow these guidelines will be more successful:
- Start with the data. Figure out what is happening in your organization and what your people need.
- Offer personalization. One size fits none. Offering personalized benefits helps you adapt to the needs and wants of individual employees.
- Prioritize well-being. Offer holistic-integrated solutions that support the employee’s overall well-being to energize your workforce.
- Focus on benefits. Finally, use your benefits offerings to attract and retain talent.
Joy Sloane is a senior vice president in global insurance brokerage Hub International’s employee benefits consulting – national accounts practice, and has 32 years of consulting experience.