By Robert Taylor

The Canadian job market is the best it has been in decades, with unemployment at a 40-year low. And that means organizations are fighting to stand out from the crowd.

One way to become the organization that everyone wants to work for is to offer a stellar benefits package. However, offering a stand-out package doesn’t happen on its own – it takes preparation, thought and a focus on the end goal.

Developing a Strategic Plan

You can create a competitive advantage when you develop a strategic multi-year approach to your benefits plan and introduce changes that reflect your corporate mission and help your employees feel cared for and valued.

If the changes you make are sustainable – if you aren’t shopping around for a new provider every two or three years – you can spend the same money more efficiently and provide real value to your employees.

But it can be overwhelming to work on a multi-year strategic benefits plan. There is usually a large gap between the current situation and the desired state – and a single leap to that future state isn’t feasible or even desirable. A multi-year strategic plan makes it more manageable by clarifying the steps needed to close the gap.

You don’t want to change every element of your benefits plan at once. Before you build your plan, answer these three questions honestly:

  • Can you build a strategy that meets all of your employees’ expectations?
  • How can you communicate and educate your employees about the plan?
  • How will you obtain the funding needed to deliver additional resources to your employees?

Answering these questions will help you clearly define your goals and prioritize the benefits to offer at each stage. Ultimately, it will also help you create a road map to lay out each step on the path toward your benefits goals while planning the right way to effectively time your employee communications.

Components to Consider

When putting together your strategic multi-year benefits plan, consider these areas:

  • Drug management: The costs of prescription medications have been rising for years, often in astronomical ways. Make sure you review your pharmaceutical contracts – and renegotiate, if necessary – to keep those costs in check.
  • Retirement benefits: There’s a lot of concern among employers over the retirement readiness of their employees. Help your employees get the most out of their pension plans or RRSPs by providing appropriate plan options.
  • Education: If employees are not engaging with the educational programs you offer, it’s important to ask them why. Understanding their preferences regarding topics, timing and format will enable you to refine your approach. Your educational efforts will succeed in the long run if you listen and tailor your programs to meet employee needs.
  • Communication: The traditional packet of information isn’t enough to introduce a new way of thinking about benefits to your employees. Instead, proactive organizations will create a communications campaign around the new benefits, including the use of e-guides and online tools, like private exchange-decision support.

In today’s ever-changing world, organizations can’t afford to stand still. Maintaining the status quo is the biggest risk of all.

Help your organization not just survive but flourish by implementing a strategic approach to your benefits program. A robust benefits package that meets employees’ needs will help you attract and retain the right people and take your organization to the next level.

Hub International’s team of brokers has extensive experience designing strategic multi-year strategic benefits plans and can help you manage and deliver the plans that will differentiate your business from your competitors.