The results of Hub International’s first employee benefits study for Canada suggest that employers will need to get their act together if they want to attract talent with benefits programs.
The study, “2018 Benefits Barometer Canada,” surveyed nearly 200 benefits decision makers working for Canadian companies which have between 20 and 999 employees.
Hub found that employers generally want “to create and implement benefits programs that will attract, retain and compete for talent they need” – while keeping costs at reasonable levels. The study also discovered that many HR professionals are taking a longer-term approach when it comes to strategic benefits planning, allowing them to better win senior management support for new benefits initiatives.
However, the study also revealed that the lack of consensus from top management is holding back benefits implementation.
Key insights of the study include:
- Respondents reported difficulty getting support from upper management to introduce flexible benefits (24%), wellness programs (21%), new cost management strategies (20%) and changes to retirement plans (20%).
- 36% of HR professionals said managing employee costs is a concern, while 32% said employer costs is a bigger issue for them. But 60% say they have done all they can to control rising medical costs.
- 38% of respondents said health and wellness are the top priority; of those respondents, 29% implemented benefits as a way to boost employee morale, 23% to improve productivity, and 22% to reduce employee turnover.
- Flexible benefit plans are the most common strategy used to manage costs – 19% of companies used the tactic in 2017. But only 12% who have implemented them have actually seen their benefits costs reduced.
“Now with an increasingly young and diverse workforce, we are finding that most Canadian companies are looking at benefits as a strategic tool for attracting and retaining talent in a highly competitive market,” commented Hub International employee benefits president Mike Barone.
“Benefits are becoming the most important differentiator for organizations. HR leaders need advisors to help tailor benefits to offer their employees choice and flexibility, and move their organizations toward greater success.”