In the face of a tight labour market, with intense competition for talent, attention to the role of group benefits might just be a game changer. Cultivating value for existing plans as well as making changes to update and modernize are opportunities to differentiate your organization and up your recruitment game.
Showcase Your Existing Programs
Municipal plans are typically quite comprehensive, providing a balance of catastrophic protections along with support for commonly incurred health and dental expenses. Even if you haven’t made enhancements in recent years, it is likely that you already provide important coverages that people value, so why not showcase them? Chances are, even if your program is lacking in some areas, it is excelling in others. Review your existing plan to determine where you are providing particularly comprehensive coverage levels and let those take center stage!
A quick review of several job postings confirms that in many cases, benefit plans do not get mentioned beyond a statement that says something like “…plus a comprehensive benefits package.” A job posting is not the place to break down the plan design in detail; but is there an opportunity to highlight features that may speak to candidates?
You may also consider getting more specific on any area of your existing plan that stands out. Do you include orthodontic coverage? Have you enhanced mental health coverage? Highlighting these in a job posting creates the potential to connect with more candidates. If you have already taken steps to modernize your plan and include newer product offerings, be sure to draw attention to them.
Instead of “…plus a comprehensive benefits package” adding just a little more detail can be far more enticing.
“a comprehensive benefit plan that provides life insurance, short & long term disability insurance, coverage for prescription drugs, comprehensive paramedical coverage, an Employee & Family Assistance Program, as well as support for a broad array of health and dental products and services”
And of course, as you continue through the recruiting process be sure to capitalize on opportunities to expand upon coverage details.
Acquiring talent requires a competitive advantage which updated benefits can be a part of. Industry Surveys repeatedly convey that employees and candidates alike are placing increasing importance on benefit plans. Modernizing programs and thinking outside the box is key.
The 2022 Benefits Canada Health Care Survey asked plan members to rank products or services they would use if added to their benefit plan. Health risk screenings, immunizations, and genetic testing for disease rounded out the top three signaling value for prevention and personalization.
Additionally, the survey strongly suggests that adding virtual care can boost the perceived value of benefit plans; 92% of respondents describe their plan as excellent or good when virtual care is included, compared to 69% when it is not. It is especially promising, that virtual care has evolved to offer meaningful tools for supporting mental health. The evolution of EFAP’s and virtual care has led to the creation of robust and integrated offerings.
Lastly, there is tremendous appeal for both health spending accounts and wellness spending accounts. The addition of either as a complement to core plans provide employees with highly valued choice and flexibility. Surveys indicate that employees who have a spending account(s) hold it in high regard and those without a spending account (s), would really like to have one.
Health Spending Accounts: Allocated funds can be used for a broad range of health products or services (anything considered a medical expense under the Federal Income Tax Act). These accounts are not taxable to employees.
Wellness Spending Accounts: Sometimes referred to as a lifestyle or personal spending account, this allocation of funds can be used towards a very broad range of health and wellness expenses such as fitness memberships and equipment. These accounts are taxable to employees.
Part-Time & Contract Positions
Often when we think about attraction and retention challenges, we focus on full-time employees particularly as it relates to benefits. Although plans often include contractual provisions that limit the ability to extend plans beyond full time staff, offering a selection of benefits to part-time and contract staff could prove advantageous. Employers can consult with their advisor to determine options such as adding these employees to existing EFAP’s and/or setting up a spending account which can be a huge draw while still allowing cost certainty.
Whatever suite of benefits you provide should be part of the recruitment pitch. Your group benefits advisor can offer insights into determining which existing features are standouts and could complement your strategy. And of course, your advisor can partner with you to review and consider the vast opportunities to update your program. Happy Recruiting!
Mosey & Mosey has provided employee group benefits advice to Ontario municipalities for over 45 years. With our extensive experience, we believe that mastering and understanding the unique challenges that municipalities face is integral to providing innovative plan management strategies that ensure plan sustainability, and that one doesn’t exist without the other.
MOSEY & MOSEY
100 Milverton Drive, Suite 604
Mississauga, ON L5R 4H1
Telephone Number: 1-800-268-8383
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