[Free Download] A Guide to Finding Your Employee Benefits Philosophy
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday June 29, 2021
Finding your benefits philosophy is an important exercise in order to ensure that your employee benefits plan will meet your goals and keep your employees happy and healthy.
Download the Finding Your Benefits Philosophy Handbook
It’s never too late to find your benefits philosophy, so if you already have a benefits plan in place, this is still a worthwhile exercise! You’ll be able to reaffirm that your plan is doing what you want it to, or maybe you’ll gain some valuable insight into potential changes or updates that may be necessary.
What is a Benefits Philosophy?
A benefits philosophy is your approach to benefits. It’s all about how you make decisions regarding your plan, why you make them, and the overarching goals and outcomes you’re trying to achieve. Your benefits philosophy should be closely tied to your values as a company and those of your employees.
For example, a mental health clinic specializing in the care of those struggling with mental health issues might heavily prioritize mental health support for their own staff through a benefits plan. They’ve seen the negative impacts of poor mental health and want to protect employees.
Finding Your Employee Benefits Philosophy: An Exercise in Asking Questions
Step 1: Ask Questions
Step one on our benefits philosophy journey is to ask questions — a lot of them. Try answering the below questions and keep an eye out for trends:
- What do I want from my benefits plan?
- What do my employees want from a benefits plan?
- Is protecting employees’ mental health important to me?
- What benefits do my competitors offer?
- Should all employees be given the same coverage?
- Is helping employees manage their finances and savings important to me?
- Do I see my benefits plan as a recruiting tool to attract employees?
- Is the prevention of unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, poor diet and nutrition, or lack of exercise, important to me?
- What does my ideal benefits plan include?
- Should employees pay for a portion of the premiums?
Bonus Tip: If possible, involve your employees in this process. Ask them, “What kind of benefits coverage is most important to you? Do you place more value on ongoing health benefits like Health and Dental, or just-in-case benefits, like Life Insurance?”
Step 2: Determine Your Goals
With those questions answered, we can begin mapping the answers and attaching them to the goals of your benefits plan. We’ll start by asking more focused questions, like:
- Do you want to attract and retain top talent?
- Do you want to keep employees happy and healthy?
- Maybe you want both?
- If it came down to choosing, which do you think you would prioritize more?
Step 3: Look at Your Demographics
Another consideration when determining a benefits philosophy is the demographic makeup of your company. Why?
Well, different generations (generally) have different wants, needs, and expectations when it comes to their benefits plan. So if your workforce skews primarily to the younger generations, like millennials, you may want to consider more flexibility in benefits. On the flip side, older generations often favour more traditional plans.
There’s also a conversation to be had around premiums and cost of benefits. If your demographics skew towards the higher age bands, premiums may be higher for certain coverages, such as Life Insurance.
Ultimately, you’ll want to pick a plan that works for all of your employees. With five different generations in the workforce, that’s getting tougher. That’s why there’s a growing trend amongst Canadian employers favouring more flexibility and choice for employees, empowering them to decide what to cover, such as coverage through a Health Care Spending Account (HCSA).
Step 4: Match Your Philosophy with Insurance Products
Your benefits philosophy is beginning to take shape, now it’s time to match it with products that meet your goals.