While choosing the right benefits plan can be difficult, there are a number of tried and true strategies available to make the right choice. Unfortunately, the options can be overwhelming – as can the cost. To avoid the stressors and pitfalls around designing a benefits plan, here are three key steps to consider to help determine the benefits plan that’s right for your organization.
Assess Employee needs
Finding the best benefits match for your organization depends on who works there. For a broad mix of age groups, the traditional benefits such as health, dental, drugs, and vision are a good place to start. Everyone can benefit from a plan that supplements their provincial health coverage for basic needs. These benefits also have a big impact for employees with families who want to keep everyone happy and healthy.
If your workforce skews younger, they may see more value in paramedical or lifestyle focused benefits.
In every case, if you want to know what your employees’ value, just ask. Looking at the current use of your benefits or conducting a survey of your workforce will help you understand which benefits make a difference, and which your employees will appreciate and use.
Establish a budget
When it comes to any business expense, the dollars must make sense. Before working with an advisor to determine the group health benefits options available to you, decide how much you are willing to pay and how much you can reasonably afford. Remember that creating a group health benefits plan for your business is an expense, but it can also add value for you.
Some key questions to ask yourself include:
- Is offering (the right) group benefits plan a differentiator for my business?
- Will it help me attract or retain talented employees?
- Can the right group benefits plan help us build our culture?
If you need to cut costs, you have a few options to help make your employee benefit plan more affordable, including:
- Premium contribution – when employees pay a portion of the premium
- Deductibles – when employees must pay a fixed amount before benefits become payable
- Coinsurance – when employees pay a fixed percentage of the total cost of the claim
- Maximums – limiting the amount payable for certain types of coverage
Of course, it’s always best practice to shop around and find a group benefits provider that not only promises a competitive rate now but will continue to provide excellent service and reasonable increases well into the future.
differentiate by industry
One step that can be overlooked in the group health benefits selection process, is how your industry impacts the need for benefits.
As discussed earlier, benefits can be a differentiator for your business, as well as help you attract and retain talent. Understanding what others in your industry are offering will help you position your benefits package appropriately.
Employees in different industries may also find more use in particular benefits. For example, those who work in manual labour may be at elevated risk for injuries that will result in disability. Offering both short-term and long-term disability will help bring them peace of mind. Those with high stress jobs may appreciate the ability to claim psychologist visits as part of their benefits. They may also benefit from the resources and support provided by an Employee and Family Assistance Program.
With your goals in mind, and some research in hand, deciding what your group benefits plan should cover isn’t a tough task. Equitable Life’s myFlex Benefits is a flexible benefits plan designed to help employers meet the diverse needs and demographics of their workforce without breaking the bank. Instead of offering a fixed benefits package, employers define their contribution, then plan members personalize their plan to meet their own needs. It’s all about finding the right fit for you employees and your organization.