Case Study: Reflecting Your Company Culture in Your Benefits Plan

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.

Case Study: Reflecting Your Company Culture in Your Benefits Plan

At The Benefits Trust, our primary aim is to provide business owners with superior benefits plans. We offer tailored plans that are designed to provide ample flexibility, tax advantages, and, of course, employee satisfaction. Recently, we were able to help one of our clients in the education space design a unique plan that perfectly reflects their non-traditional company culture. Read on to find out how we did it.

The Challenge

When we were first approached by our client, we were struck by just how non-traditional the company is. They’re in the education business, but they’re accomplishing things that almost nobody else in their space is attempting to do.

Prior to getting in touch with us, our client had a very traditional benefits plan. It was a commodity like most corporate plans, despite the fact that their corporate culture was starkly different from most other organizations that used plans like theirs.

The challenge we faced was helping our client understand the importance of aligning a benefits plan with their unique company culture, which places a major emphasis on individual employee empowerment. Recent surveys have shown flexible benefits plans are crucial for employee retainment. Nearly a third of Canadians believe they could receive a better benefits package at a new company. Our client didn’t realize that they could actually design a custom plan to match their objectives and, in turn, improve employee satisfaction. They thought they had to work with one of the basic pre-packaged plans that most benefits providers push.

The Solution

After the first few meetings with our client, we quickly realized that our mission was two-fold. First off, we needed to educate them on the fact that benefits should align with company culture – and that custom benefits packages were possible. Secondly, we had to figure out what they wanted/needed in a plan and build a plan that was in alignment with these factors. Here’s how we did it:

  • A custom plan was designed that kept the existing pooled catastrophic coverage plan for Group Life, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, and Long-Term Disability.
  • We added Critical Illness to the coverage plan as a way of giving additional protection to employees.
  • We helped the client back up their commitment to their employees by giving each employee a flat amount each year. This amount is based on their years of service with the organization.
  • We designed a plan that allows employees to choose how they want to allocate the funds they receive within the plan. They’re able to put money towards Healthcare Spending Accounts, RRSPs, or both. (We also created an option to put money in health and dental coverage, or an RRSP plan.)
  • As opposed to locking employees in long-term, the choice can be made annually. This permits employees to adjust their benefits based on their changing needs.

Developing and implementing the new benefits plan took some time and required careful and precise communication with the client. However, when it was all said and done, the client was very pleased with the results and continues to report a high-degree of satisfaction from employees.

The Result

Shortly after implementing the new plan, our client saw an immediate shift in how employees felt about benefits, and HR in general. The new plan was designed to allow for choice and empowerment and that’s exactly the result it had.

Not only does the new plan offer exceptional, flexible options, but it’s much more in line with the company’s corporate philosophy. This consistency of values and actions is not lost on employees.

The new plan proactively rewards long-service employees and is retention-oriented. This makes employees feel more valued, while also cutting down on employee turnover. The result is a stronger employer-employee relationship.


Company culture used to be something that organizations shoved to the backburner and discussed when it was convenient. Today, it’s an issue that employees and all stakeholders care about deeply.

Prior to contacting us, our client had identified misalignment between their company culture and the benefits plan they were offering employees. They realized that they were saying one thing – that individual employee empowerment was important – but doing something totally different with their benefits plan. And when they got in touch with us, we quickly got to work restoring this alignment.

The new plan is working extremely well and the feedback has been tremendous. For other companies who are on the fence about whether to invest in custom benefits plans, let this case study serve as an example of why they’re so valuable.

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