In today’s competitive labour market, if you’re not already sponsoring an employee benefits plan, you should be! Employee benefits are an important part of the total compensation that your employees receive. They aren’t just a good thing for your employees, they’re good for your business.
The Manufacturing Sector
The manufacturing industry in Canada has always been an anchor for Canada’s economy. While some traditional manufacturing has moved overseas, new technology and new processes mean there are new manufacturing opportunities in our country. The potential for growth within the industry is huge, but one of the biggest obstacles is labour. Attracting and retaining quality talent in the manufacturing industry is a huge challenge. This is where employee benefits can make an impact. Having an excellent employee benefits plan is a big draw for potential employees, and it’s a valid reason why many employees stay with their employers. In an industry like manufacturing (where skilled workers are in high demand) it makes good business sense to leverage employee benefits to attract the best talent.
Manufacturing a great employee benefits plan
It’s easy to sign on the dotted line and quickly set up an employee benefits plan for your company. The real challenge is securing a great employee benefits plan. Whether you already have a plan, or whether you’re in pursuit of your first employee benefits plan, there are a couple of important ingredients to a great plan.
- Choose the right provider
In its infancy, employee benefits were controlled and delivered by insurance companies. There were really no other options, and unfortunately the insurance companies catered to large employers. This is no longer the case. While securing employee benefits directly from an insurer is still a common practice, many employers now choose to purchase employee benefits from a third-party administrator (like GroupHEALTH).
There are a couple reasons why a third-party administrator is a better choice. First off, insurance companies specialize in insurance. In contrast, third-party administrators specialize in administering plans. This means they are focused on service and customer experience. They can choose the best coverages from multiple providers and package them together. If you purchase directly from an insurer, you only have access to the products they sell. In addition, if you’re not a giant company, working with a third-party administrator means you have access to the group purchasing power of the third-party administrator. While your company alone may not be big enough to secure discounts and specialized products, the third-party administrator’s collective block of business can.
Choosing the right provider makes a huge impact on the experience that you have as you sponsor a plan. It also makes a big impact on the experience that your employees have as they use the plan.
- Customize the plan to meet business goals and budget
Ensuring that your employee benefits plan is best suited for your business is vital. What is important to one company may not be important to another. Having the ability to work with your provider to customize the plan to include the coverages and benefits that you want is important.
In the manufacturing sector, maybe your employees complete more physical work and you want to provide more massage therapy or chiropractor coverage to help combat this. Or maybe the wide age demographics of the industry means you want to include options that target an older generation as well as an up-and-coming younger generation. Customization is the key.
- Listen to what employees want
Manufacturing a great employee benefits plan must include feedback from your employees. If you want your employee benefits plan to help you retain the employees you already have, while attracting new employees, you need to know what your employee value. Consider soliciting feedback via an anonymous survey so you can get honest input from those that are using the plan.
The Benefits They Want
Employees in the manufacturing sector want good coverage. For most, their first concern is health and dental coverage. These are the most frequently claimed of all employee benefits, so they’re high profile. They also want coverage for life’s unexpected turns – things like life insurance, disability and critical illness coverage. These benefits are all fairly standard, but the right employee benefits provider includes perks and add-ons to make them that much better. Your provider should customize the benefits to maximize the value you and your employees are getting.
In addition to the more commonly known employee benefits, there are a couple new types of benefits that are in high demand.
The first is an employee and family assistance program (EFAP). An EFAP provides 24/7 access to support. It offers free, short-term, confidential counselling to help with life’s most challenging situations. A single point of access means employees know they always have somewhere to turn. An employee and family assistance program doesn’t just have to be for emergencies. It provides online resources and support so employees can be proactive about addressing issues such as: finances, eldercare, divorce, parenting, anxiety and insomnia. It’s a benefit that is a must-have when supporting mental health.
Another benefit that employees want is virtual healthcare. Virtual healthcare means accessing medical professionals using technology (phone, tablet or computer). This may be especially useful for employees in the manufacturing sector, because it’s available 24/7. If an employee is working shift work it may be hard to schedule in a doctor’s appointment – having access to virtual healthcare can remove that barrier. It saves the employee from travelling to and from the doctor’s office, so it’s quick and easy to access medical care.
Cost Control You Need
The manufacturing sector has to compete with manufacturing sectors around the world, so cost control in all elements of business is important. When it comes to employee benefits, incorporating cost control is a “must.” There are a number of creative ways to provide a great benefits plan, while also controlling the costs of the plan so it’s sustainable over the long term.
Prescription drugs are a large cost driver for any employee benefits plan. Incorporating a preferred provider for prescription drugs, or a tiered formulary helps keep costs manageable. This way employees still get good prescription drug coverage, but unnecessary plan waste is eliminated.
Long-term disability coverage is another pain point for some employee benefit plans. A good, proactive cost control mechanism to address this is utilizing disability management services. These services help support you and an ill or injured employee, so they can get back to work as soon as they’re able. It’s a win/win, because the employee has help navigating a disability claim and getting well, while your business receives a customized return-to-work plan that helps shorten the length of the disability claim.
Good Advice is Key
Employee benefits can be a valuable tool for companies in the manufacturing sector who are competing for good employees. The right employee benefits plan can improve recruitment and retainment stats and positively impact your company’s culture. Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.