Case Study: Freeing Yourself From the Commodity Mindset

Contract ConsultationThe main focus of The Benefits Trust is to provide superior Third Party Administration services for employer groups of one or more. We do this by tapping into our professional insurance advisor distribution network. And because we’re independently and privately-owned, we’re able to work with close to 20 different insurance companies and offer the best products to our clients.

When we step into a new relationship with a client, our aim is to understand the business and present them with flexible, customized solutions that enable them to gain total control over benefits, cost, and plan structure. Recently we helped a client in the medical devices industry do just that.

The Challenge

The company we worked with in this case is a leader in the medical devices industry. We specifically worked with a Canadian subsidiary of the company, which has approximately 70 employees.

According to the global corporate philosophy of the company, all employees were required to have the same benefits. And while this one-size-fits-all approach worked for most branches of the company, it didn’t align with the local Canadian culture where high earners and experienced executives are expected to have superior benefits. The plan simply didn’t line up with business objectives. The previous benefits plan was a commodity, not a value-add.

Worst of all, the plan was seen as inequitable by the company’s long-term employees. They saw that new hires were getting the exact same benefits, despite having totally different compensation. This didn’t sit will and jeopardized relationships between employees and company leadership/ownership.

The Canadian subsidiary – our client – didn’t realize that they could have a custom plan that matched their objectives. Ultimately, benefits were a source of frustration – not motivation.

The Solution

When we first began working with our client, they wanted to buy the cheapest plan possible. Rather than fight them on the fact that the most inexpensive plans might not be the most valuable plans, we collaborated to ask the right questions and understand the intent of the global corporate philosophy.

Through listening to the client speak, we learned that the global philosophy was fundamentally sound, but that it didn’t quite translate to the Canadian culture. We inquired about why the plan had to remain the same to meet those objectives. After meeting with the Canadian General Manager, we got the go-ahead to design a custom plan.

After lots of research and back-and-forth with different decision-makers within the company, we were able to present our plan. Here’s what we developed:

  • Employees all have coverage for the essentials they need using a stripped-down health and dental plan. This frees up the budget to provide a Healthcare Spending Account that is based on a percentage of earnings. This rewards higher earners, while still providing value for newer employees.
  • The plan allows for flexibility based on a multiple of salary for pooled catastrophic coverage.
  • Pooled coverage also includes Long-Term Disability, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, and Group Life.

The Result

While we felt fairly confident that our client, the Canadian portion of the business, would like the plan, we still had to satisfy the global company.

After presenting the plan to our client, it was audited by the head office during a global compensation study and approved with no changes. All parties have been satisfied with how the solution honors the spirit of the global philosophy while simultaneously being a locally acceptable solution.

Conclusion

Benefits are more than a commodity. The sooner organizations understand this, the better they’ll be able to serve their employees, cultivate loyalty, and enjoy the benefits of stronger relationships with all key stakeholders.

Whether your company is a traditional business with a rigid corporate structure and uniform HR procedures, or you’re an independently owned and operated small business, The Benefits Trust can help you develop and implement the right benefits plan for your organization. Please contact us today to find out more!

About Mike Ignatz

Mike Ignatz has managed Business Development at The Benefits Trust since 2005. His drive and focus has helped The Benefits Trust provide better benefits plans to small and mid-sized businesses throughout Canada.

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