A Non-Profit’s Essential Guide to Employee Benefits
If you’re like most non-profit organizations, there’s never enough time in the day or money in the budget. You and your team are working hard to serve others. The work you do is extremely important, but supporting your employees is equally important. One way to do that is through employee benefits.
Non-Profit and the CSBT
As a non-profit or social service organization, your mandate is different than other sectors. You’re committed to serving and supporting others. When it comes time to support your workers with employee benefits, it makes sense that your needs may also be different.
Recognizing the uniqueness of this sector was what led to the creation of the Community Services Benefits Trust (CSBT). The CSBT is a non-profit trust that was created to provide fully insured, locally accessible benefits to social service organizations in Canada. The idea was not just to provide employee benefits, but to provide really good employee benefits for workers doing some of the most important jobs out there. So what do really good employee benefits look like and how are they attainable for non-profits?
Excellent Employee Benefits
Every organization is different, and what is right for one organization may not be the best fit for another. That being said, as a starting point, most organizations should look for:
- Comprehensive Coverage – This means supporting employees with the “basics” such as coverage for health and dental treatment, vision services, paramedical services, and income replacement for disability and critical illness situations. These are generally the foundation of most employee benefit plans and should be broad in order to support the diverse needs of employees.
- Prevention and Supplemental Services – Once you’ve covered “the basics”, you’ll want to look for employee benefits that support your basic coverage by investing in the prevention or supplemental services. This can mean access to virtual healthcare (GroupHEALTH provides this through Akira), counselling and support (GroupHEALTH includes access to an employee and family assistance plan) or medial second opinion expertise.
- An Affordable Plan – In most non-profit organizations, budgets are tight and funding is never guaranteed. Getting the most out of every dollar spent is critical. This can be a real challenge for small organizations when facing off with the big insurers. Being able to take advantage of economies of scale through the CSBT is one way to stretch every penny, so the plan is both effective and affordable.
- Easy to Manage – For non-profits, dedicating a worker to administering the employee benefits plan means taking them away from some other important job. The solution is to choose an employee benefit plan that is easy to manage so that less time is spent administering it. An online platform that is user-friendly can make all the difference when it comes to the resources required to keep the plan up and running.
- Sustainable Solution – One of the most important things to look for when exploring an employee benefits plan is sustainability. This is especially true in the social service and non-profit sectors where budgets are tight. A good benefit plan has a strategy for the long term. This may include cost containment mechanisms. For example, GroupHEALTH plans include Smart Rx Solutions (a suite of products aimed at controlling prescription drug costs) and disability management services (aimed at reducing disability claim costs). These are just two possible strategies for cost containment to ensure the employee benefit plan is sustainable over the long term.
Benefits of Offering Employee Benefits
There are many good reasons to sponsor employee benefits. First and foremost, as a non-profit your employees spend their days supporting others; wouldn’t it be nice to support them?
It also makes good business sense to support employees with benefits. Employee benefits help improve the mental and physical health of employees. This can mean something as simple as filling a prescription filled – unsurprisingly it is not uncommon for people without coverage to choose not to fill a prescription. Suppose that prescription helped prevent a negative health event from occurring? Or suppose an employee decides to get an eye exam (because they have vision coverage) and that eye exam identifies an underlying health condition? In these instances, preventative measures improve the health of employees. This translates into fewer sick days, less presenteeism and higher productivity.
The other valuable reason to offer employee benefits is to attract and retain employees. Non-profits can no longer rely on a commitment to cause in order to attract and retain staff. It’s competitive out there, and traditionally salaries in the non-profit sector tend to be lower than for-profit industries. Employee benefits can be an important part of a compensation strategy. When recruiting, research has shown that many employees are willing to accept a lower salary if it is paired with employee benefits. Offering a comprehensive employee benefit plan can be just what your organization needs to attract and retain the right employees, in a more affordable way.
Good Advice is Key
As a non-profit organization, we recognize that your needs may be different than those in other sectors. Are you looking for a customized employee benefit plan that you can afford? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.