facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause

Invest in your employees

How business owners can support their staff with a proactive benefits plan.

One of the biggest challenges a small business owner might face is attracting and retaining skilled and dependable employees. Offering a substantial salary might seem like the best way to reward a valued staff member, but a comprehensive benefits package can add further incentive. In fact, recent studies found that over 60 per cent of employees said that having benefits increases job satisfaction, while 80 per cent said they would prefer to receive additional benefits over a raise.[1]

Core benefits like health and dental care, retirement plans and life insurance are highly valued perks of employment, but you might be pleasantly surprised at the variety of other options available that your staff may appreciate. From mental health care – which has become a major focus for many employers since the start of the pandemic – to disability insurance and incentives to stay physically active, there’s a wide range of health and wellness benefits worth considering.

Proactive benefit plans 

Each employee has their own specific health and wellness needs. Using science, technology and analytics, a proactive benefits model can help design and manage a unique plan for each member of your staff. It can provide individualized care to an employee when they need it most, to help them stay healthy and on the job. What’s more, proactive benefits have features that focus on prevention and intervention, which can help avert or diminish potential health problems before they become a bigger (and costlier) issue.

Prevention and intervention are key

It’s no secret that lifestyle can lead to a number of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart conditions and cancer.[2] A benefits plan with a preventative component can help to inspire healthy choices that reduce risk of chronic conditions and disability claims. This might include having access to a virtual coach that can help employees develop a plan to manage medications, access mental health supports or adopt healthier eating and exercise habits. Or it might be a rewards-based program that motivates employees to achieve certain health and lifestyle goals. Studies show that preventative measures can help reduce the number of sick days while contributing to higher engagement, and better job performance.[3]

On the flip side, when employees are at high risk for disability, intervening quickly with the right support can make all the difference. For example, a program that uses predictive analytics can identify employees who have a higher risk of going on leave. Those employees can receive individualized care to improve their condition and help them stay at work. This in turn can help save on disability claim costs.

The importance of mental health care

Did you know that mental illness makes up two thirds of long-term disability costs in Canada?[4] With the right tools and help available up front, mental health issues can be better managed. Some of these tools might include personalized medicine, which can improve mental health symptoms by 82 per cent,[5] or cognitive behavioural therapy, which provides significant improvement in 73 per cent of those who participate, helping to increase productivity by six hours per week.[6]  

Let’s take a look at how proactive benefits can help an employee avoid disability and reduce employer costs.  Janelle is a reliable and valuable employee who is proud of her work. However, a diagnosis of major depression almost changed her life. With a typical benefits plan, it could take many months of trying different medications to find one that works for her condition, and she would likely request a disability leave.  Luckily, Janelle’s employer’s group benefits plan has a proactive strategy. The plan includes Personalized Medicine and covered a genetics test that quickly determined the right medication for her depression. In addition, Janelle had access to cognitive behavioural therapy and a health coach to help treat her illness, all of which allowed Janelle to get better, faster.   In a few short months, Janelle’s condition improved, allowing her to get back to life and work. Janelle’s employer benefitted from her improved health too, saving on costs due to lost productivity, disability and ineffective medicines, plus their valued employee was able to return to her job.  Janelle is a fictional character for illustrative purposes only. Treatment and coverage options may not apply for specific situations.

Talk to your advisor

It’s no secret that fairly compensating your employees is essential for running a successful business – and that includes benefits. Helping your employees stay healthy and productive at work is a winning strategy for everyone.

Talk to your advisor to find out more. They can help you discover innovative ways to invest in your employees and ensure a solid future for your business.

[1] www.hcamag.com/ca/specialization/benefits/salary-vs-employee-benefits-which-is-better-to-offer/318160

[2] www.heartandstroke.ca/heart-disease/risk-and-prevention/lifestyle-risk-factors

[3] www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR4291.html; Shared Value in the Workplace, The Vitality People Study, Vitality Group, 2018.

[4] https://mentalhealthcommission.ca/media-advisories/21493-organizations-committed-to-improving-employee-mental-health-can-now-be-guided-by-two-pioneers

[5] Manulife Personalized Medicine Program (Pharmacogenetics) – 2018-2020

[6] MindBeacon Insights Report, 2021; The Effect of Depression Treatment on Depression – American Journal of Managed Care, 2014

Financial Advisor Websites by Twenty Over Ten Powered by Twenty Over Ten