An HR Specialist’s Perspective on Employee Benefits in 2024

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.

An HR Specialist’s Perspective on Employee Benefits in 2024

Employees can make or break a business. They are a business’ greatest asset but can just as easily be a business’ biggest liability – especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, like the 440,000 businesses currently operating in Ontario with fewer than 100 full-time employees.

In today’s competitive business landscape, understanding the intricacies of human resources is more critical than ever. It’s not just about hiring and firing; it’s about nurturing, developing, and managing the lifeblood of a company: its employees. For those smaller businesses who don’t have the resources to dedicate to an internal HR team, securing the help of an external HR specialist can make all the difference.

We had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Luisa de Jesus, CHRP, CHRL, Founder & President of LD Human Resources, as our esteemed guide. She shared with us her unique perspective on employee benefits as an HR specialist as well as insights into the intersection between HR and benefits and how they can – and should – work together to benefit the company and the employees alike.

Employee Benefits as a Recruitment Strategy

In today’s competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is more challenging than ever. The secret to success? Employee benefits. Benefits can be the added value that tips the scales in favour of one job over another when prospective employees are comparing opportunities.

To maximize the impact of their benefits program, clients may consider using the cost-per-person of the benefits plan as a recruiting tool. Position it as an addition to the employee’s overall compensation, adding value to their salary or hourly wage.

Tailoring Benefits to Employee Needs

One of the keys to making a company stand out in a sea of job offers is to tailor the offered benefits to the unique needs of the workforce, as if crafting a bespoke suit. Certain benefits offerings are held in particularly high regard by prospective employees and can be the make-or-break factor when considering joining a particular company. For instance, benefits such as 100% employer-paid plans, disability protection, flexible healthcare spending accounts, and waiving benefits waiting periods can be the golden ticket to attracting and retaining top talent.

Deloitte’s 2020 millennial survey revealed that work-life balance was a critical factor influencing millennials’ job decisions. This shows that benefits that enhance well-being and foster work-life balance are paramount for attracting the newest generation of talent, including virtual healthcare, wellness benefits, or employee and family assistance programs.

As a benefits advisor, it’s your job to help your clients determine what that bespoke solution looks like for their industry, their company, and their staff. Determining and meeting those benefits needs not only enhances the experience of existing employees but can have an extreme impact on recruiting the right talent in the future, too.

Benefits and Performance: A Symbiotic Relationship

It’s essential to recognize the connection between employee benefits and overall organizational success. Encourage your clients to picture their workforce as a rocket ready to launch, and think about what “benefit booster” would send their performance to new heights.

Mental health benefits, for example, are increasingly important to employees and have a profound impact on an employee’s performance. Supporting employees with their mental health not only allows them access to integral services that can improve their daily lives and therefore their workplace performance; the simple knowledge that their employer cares for and supports their wellbeing can be transformative in terms of company culture and employee satisfaction.

When employees feel that their employer cares about their well-being and that their values align with their needs, it creates a bond that goes beyond the paycheck. Benefits should be a tangible expression of a company’s commitment to its employees. Oftentimes, it’s not about a particular benefit; it’s about showing employees what their benefits include. Most people have no idea of the full extent of their benefits, so education is key.

The Role of Benefits in Company Culture

There’s a significant opportunity in linking performance management and benefits. When employees feel adequately supported, both in their health and well-being, they are more motivated and equipped to excel in their roles. A healthy and motivated workforce contributes to overall team well-being and productivity.

When benefits are an integral part of a corporate culture, it shows that the cost increase is not just an expenditure, but an investment with a valuable return. It reflects the philosophy that business owners should never spend a penny that doesn’t, in turn, make them more than a penny.

Having a benefits champion, an employee who is passionate about the benefit program, can help educate and integrate the benefits plan into your clients’ company’s culture. This promotes a sense of belongingness and ensures that the workforce is well-informed and appreciative of the value they receive.

Communicating the Value of a Benefits Plan

In summary, it’s essential to align HR and benefits to create a harmonious work environment. Tailoring benefits to employee needs, educating employees about their benefits, and integrating benefits into the company’s culture are the keys to success.

By recognizing the connection between benefits and performance, business owners can create a positive ripple effect that not only attracts top talent but also keeps the workforce engaged, motivated, and productive.

For more insights into the intersection between employee benefits and HR, and for more tips on how to interact with clients and prospects regarding employee benefits, contact us at The Benefits Trust. With 30 years under our belt in the world of employee benefits, we’re happy to lend our expertise with any questions you may have!

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