Insights from the 2023 Canadian Workforce Trend Report Series

Robert Crowder, founder and President of The Benefits Trust, has over 30 years of experience serving pension and employee benefits clients. In 1994, he founded The Benefits Trust as a Third Party Administrator serving small and mid-sized business across Canada. Through Rob Crowder's dedication and leadership, The Benefits Trust has grown into the successful benefits provider that it is today.

Insights from the 2023 Canadian Workforce Trend Report Series

The employee benefits landscape is diverse, and as benefits advisors it’s essential to stay ahead of emerging trends in the industry. To do so, you must first be aware of where the industry is headed! This year, the Gallagher 2023 Canadian Workforce Trend Report Series has arrived to help us do just that.

We’ve scoured the report and compiled the highlights to help you leverage data to stay on top of those emerging trends and provide your clients with customized benefits solutions that work for their business.

Embracing Diversity: A Call for Advanced Capabilities

Surprisingly, less than half of employers express satisfaction with their insurer services’ ability to support diverse demographics. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are increasing priorities among employers and employees alike, and business owners are interested in reflecting those values across all facets of their organization – employee benefits plans included.

Although the desire is there, many employers are finding that their benefits providers lack the capabilities to meet their inclusion and diversity aspirations. Incorporating DEI strategy in benefits will look different from client to client, potentially including things like domestic partner coverage, increased access to mental healthcare, remote worker support, or caregiver benefits.

As benefits advisors it’s essential to understand this growing demand for inclusive and diverse benefits. Educate yourself on the relevant offerings from providers and be sure to keep yourself up to date, as the benefits landscape is constantly evolving.

Adapting Benefit Plans: A Quest for Talent

For employers, attraction (64%) and retention (57%) of top talent continue to dominate benefit decisions, each experiencing a 5-point increase over 2022. These figures provide proof for what we already know – talent competition is a top priority among employers.

This intense focus on the acquisition and retention of top talent has trumped employers’ concern for the cost of their employee benefits – employers are more concerned with providing attractive benefits packages than cutting costs. This is great news for benefits advisors, who can focus on creating top quality benefits solutions rather than simply presenting the cheapest option.

Not only are employers utilizing strong benefits packages to attract and retain high quality employees, but we’re also seeing a shift in the structure of those plans. Traditional basic plans are declining in favour of more creative and effective plan design, and waiting periods for benefits plan enrollment is also decreasing to appeal to valuable candidates. These changes reflect a broad effort to compete for talent by enhancing flexibility and dismantling barriers to benefits access for new employees.

Employee Satisfaction: Changes to Benefits are Key

The Gallagher report finds that 62% of employees express satisfaction with their healthcare benefits, and this positive sentiment aligns with the 47% of employers who made changes to their benefits plan design in the last 12 months.

These statistics go to show that employers are interested in implementing changes to their benefits packages, and they’re generally happy with the results. When benefits advisors are able to craft customized solutions that account for a business’ present situation and future goals, the results speak for themselves!

Seizing the Opportunity: Communication and Education

Creating an effective benefits plan is half the battle – communicating that plan is the other half. For employees to take full advantage of the benefits available to them and be truly satisfied with their benefits package, they must first be made aware of the intricacies of their plan.

The Gallagher report finds that only 47% of employers are actively educating their employees with respect to their benefits. While some employers incorporate benefits communications on a monthly or quarterly basis, others communicate only on an annual or less-than-annual basis. Many employers make an effort to communicate the details of their benefits plan to their employees, yet focus only on new hires and neglect the remainder of their employees in those communications.

Even the best benefits plan on the planet is ineffective if the employees are unaware of those benefits or how to access them. Educating employees on their benefits plan is a crucial factor in realizing the value of the plan, and producing the employee satisfaction that the investment aims to provide.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of employee benefits and the priorities of employers, the 2023 Canadian Workforce Trend Report Series underscores the critical role of benefits advisors in guiding employers through the robust – and often confusing – options available. To explore tailored solutions for your clients (and effective ways to communicate them), contact The Benefits Trust today.

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