Guest Blog Post from Benefits by Design, Willow Munro
This is a guest blog post from Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. We’re on a mission to help working Canadians promote and protect their health. wealth, and happiness, by delivering benefits by design.
Employees all have different wants and dreams. They are at different stages of their lives, and therefore, what one sees as extremely important, another may find trivial. So, when it comes to employee benefits plans, how do employers decide what to offer? The first step is to determine your benefits philosophy, which will help you examine your reason for offering benefits, and therefore what these benefits should accomplish.
The Challenges of the Modern Workforce
Today’s workforce is different than it once was. The way we function in our everyday lives has changed and with that, employers have had to adapt to a multitude of challenges.
To start, you have increased diversity – a good thing – and 5 generations of employees currently still in the workforce. Then you have high employee turnover and increasing inflation. Plus, now that most households require two income earners, most employees are juggling their work with childcare, elder care, or both.
Add all this to the increased expectations of how much employers are supposed to be doing regarding their employees’ wellbeing, and you can see how some employers are struggling to meet all the benefits needs of their varied employees.
Achieving Employee Goals
In order to accommodate the differing requirements of employees, it’s important to understand what your employees are trying to achieve. This will give a better understanding of what employee benefits should be offered.
Benefits to Maintain Employees Current Health
If you want to keep employees on course, traditional insured benefits such as Extended Health Care (EHC) and Dental Coverage will help ensure this. Regular dental cleanings, as well as coverage for one-off medications and a visit to the masseuse can achieve this.
Adding an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an added bonus for those that could use a little advice when it comes to finances, or other life stressors.
Wellness Spending Accounts (WSA’s) can also be a welcome addition to achieve this goal, as employees can use their allocations to purchase fitness equipment, hobby supplies, ergonomic accessories, and more.
Benefits to Achieve Better Health
If your employees are looking to get healthier, your best options are to offer an EHC benefit that includes coverage for paramedical practitioners such as nutritionists, chiropractors, or psychologists.
There are also Wellness Programs that provide apps and resources for lifestyle changes. This can take the form of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy, videos, and live therapy sessions. And they offer programs for drug and alcohol cessation, weight control, insomnia, and more.
As with maintaining health, a WSA can also help employees on their path to better health.
Benefits to Give Employees Peace of Mind
Providing employees with some peace of mind can go a long way. That’s where products like Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance, and Critical Illness (CI) Insurance come in. These products will provide employees or their beneficiary(ies) with a lump sum of money in the unfortunate event of a claim. Therefore, employees do not have to worry about leaving their loved ones with a burden (Life Insurance), losing their ability to provide an income (AD&D), or having to pay expensive medical bills (CI).
Disability Insurance such as Short- and Long-Term Disability will give employees the peace of mind that, should they become disabled, they will be provided with ongoing financial support (up to the maximums and limitations of their policy).
Benefits for the Maintenance of Chronic Conditions
If an employee has a chronic condition, the best option is EHC coverage, as this provides coverage for medical supplies and prescription drugs. The stop-loss that most plans come with will also help ensure that premiums do not skyrocket if an employee requires high-cost drugs or equipment.
If you want to help even further, you can provide a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA) to cover extra medical expenses that the insured plan does not cover, or for when an employee reaches a plan maximum.
Benefits to Help Employees Take Care of Loved Ones
More and more employers are offering benefits that cover childcare expenses, and some even for elder care expenses. This can be achieved by adding it as an eligible expense under a WSA. Some larger companies even offer on-site daycare facilities.
Another way to assist with these challenges is to offer flexible work options such as hybrid or remote work, or flexible work schedules and breaks.
Benefits to Help Employees with Work-Life-Balance
Employees’ needs may vary when it comes to achieving this goal. Some will need help dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. This is where an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help, as well as coverage for psychologists or counselors under the EHC Benefit. Or you can offer an HCSA instead that employees could use to cover these types of services.
Other employees may find working out or weeding their garden is the best way for them to unplug from work. Offer them a WSA which includes hobbies and gym memberships. The WSA can also double to help with lessening the burden of childcare and elder care.
As you can see, a lot of these benefits overlap, so it’s possible to achieve many of these goals with a few essentials. However, there is no “one-size fits all” when it comes to employee benefits, so it is always important to discuss your options with a benefits advisor who has your and your employees’ best interests in mind.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and employment, taxation, legal vary accordingly. Please seek legal, accounting and human resources counsel from qualified professionals to make certain your legal/accounting/compliance interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.