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How to Win the War for Talent with These 5 Employee Benefits & Perks

By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday July 6, 2021

Updated : Monday August 21, 2023

The war for talent is expected to ramp up in 2021 and 2022 with the Canadian job market as a key battleground. With COVID-19 vaccinations increasing and provinces beginning to reopen, Canada’s job market is heating up, presenting an opportunity for employers looking to hire.

But in a “churn and burn” job market, where Canadians are seeing old jobs lost and new jobs created at roughly the same rate, there will be plenty of options for workers. That means employers are going to have to work to attract and retain top talent in their organization.

Evolving Your Employee Benefits Strategy to Attract Top Talent

Here’s five employee benefits and perks that will make you a standout organization in the war for talent.

#1. A Competitive & Flexible Employee Benefits Plan

Prospective employees take a close look at your employee benefits plan, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic. Offering an employee benefits package is no longer a luxury or an added bonus for employees — it’s essential.

“Competitive” and “flexible” aren’t just filler or buzzwords, they’re important pieces of the puzzle, too. Canadians will compare and contrast prospective employers, with heavy consideration on the benefits plan. If yours doesn’t stack up, you might lose them to a company with a better benefits plan. That goes for current employees as well.

Bonus: What Employee Benefits do Canadians Want Most?

Not sure which benefits are “competitive” or highly sought after? No worries, we did the research so you don’t have to. This data represents companies with 3 to 10 employees who have group benefits through Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc.

Here’s some of the most popular group benefits options in Canada:

Other options to consider would include Health Care Spending Accounts (HCSA)s for added flexibility and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for mental health support (more on that below).

[Handbook] 5 of the Most Common Small Business Employee Benefits

#2. Remote Work Opportunities

COVID-19 saw many Canadian companies move employees to remote work (BBD included). What’s more, experts are saying this isn’t a trend, but a fundamental shift in work culture

According to a Statistics Canada report, 80% of Canadians would like to continue working from home once the pandemic is over, at least part of the time. Employers who are serious about growth and hiring simply can’t afford to ignore numbers like that.

[Free Download] Reimagining Health and Wellness for a Remote Workforce

Importantly, this does not mean that you’ll be required to completely shift your organization over to be 100% work from home. In fact, most Canadians are after additional flexibility with their schedules through a mixture of remote and office work. Simply providing them the option to work from home or in the office is enough.

#3. Mental Health Support and Resources

The mental health impacts of COVID-19 are still unknown, but are almost certainly going to lead to increases in anxiety, depression, and poor mental health. Couple that with the ongoing mental health crisis in Canada, and you can begin to see why Canadians are placing more value on mental health support.

Employers with built in resources and support systems will be seen more favourably by prospective employees. Perhaps more notably, existing employees with mental health resources available are significantly less likely to go on disability leave or leave the organization, further boosting retention efforts.

Managing Your Workplace Mental Health During (and After) a Pandemic

#4. Total Compensation Package

Your total compensation package encapsulates a lot of what we’ve already discussed, such as benefits, remote work, and mental health support. However, there’s a lot more you can do to beef up your total compensation and attract and retain top talent, including:

Don’t be shy about your total compensation package — if you offer any of the above, make sure it’s listed in your job posting.

How to Create a Total Compensation Package and Why You Should

#5. Have a Killer Company Culture

Your company culture is your final standout. How you approach business and the company culture you create will be a big consideration for employees. This is the case for both existing employees and those looking at you as a potential employer.

What your company culture is will be up to you — they’re meant to be unique to your organization, after all — but it’s important to know that working Canadians will be looking at it closely. Use it as a competitive differentiator and ensure that it’s clear what your company is all about in your job posting — mission, vision, and values go a long way to showing a company’s culture and approach to work.

7 Employee Wellness Activities to Keep Your Company Culture Thriving

Winning the War for Talent

Winning the war for talent will require differentiating yourself amongst your competition and making a clear case of your total compensation package and your strengths as an employer. Utilizing these five employee benefits and perks will get you on the road to attracting and retaining top talent in your organization!

Dollar for dollar, you pay less for employee benefits than you do if you give your employees a raise.

Download the 'Pay Raises Cost More Than You Know' Infographic (PDF: 80 KB)