Employee benefits are an important tool for all organizations. Supporting and rewarding employees to improve a company’s performance just makes sense, especially for a forward-thinking sector like the technology industry. If done right, an employee benefits plan can positively impact the growth and performance of a company.
The Tech Industry
The technology sector has unique needs to support its progressive culture for innovation, growth and change. It’s a rapidly growing sector in Canada, with more than 44,000 companies, and increasingly it is driving Canadian economic growth and industrial diversification. It’s also a key engine in the small business sector: the majority of the 44,000 companies are small businesses with less than 10 employees.
Canada has many technology sector success stories, and the sector itself is expanding, and one reason is that technology firms know the value of a good company culture. Tech companies thrive on being non-traditional, with many offering their employees flexible work hours and locations. They are focused on promoting a good work/life balance and a cohesive work environment that is unrivalled in other industries. So when it comes to employee benefits, a traditional plan is just not going to be a good fit.
Forward thinking employee benefits
Many of the building blocks of a traditional employee benefits plan can still form the foundation of employee benefits for the technology sector. What needs to change is how those benefits are delivered and what ‘extra’ benefits and perks will complement the basic benefits.
Traditional benefits typically start with extended health and dental coverage. This usually covers prescription drugs and paramedical services along with preventative and major dental work. The level and scope of coverage can be adjusted based on the needs of the plan sponsor.
Life insurance, disability coverage and accident insurance are also staples in the traditional employee benefits model. While traditionally disability coverage is for short or long term, a more forward-thinking plan offers other options such as mid-term disability. The same can be applied to accident coverage. Another more forward-thinking approach is to provide Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) benefits; ASI covers accidents but also if a plan member is diagnosed with a critical illness.
While the building blocks of a traditional plan are a good place to start, there are some other important elements to be considered when choosing employee benefits for the technology sector.
- Options – The technology sector is known for innovation and growth. This mantra of being different and constantly evolving should also apply to their employee benefits solutions. Elements such as a Health Spending Account (HSA), shared maximums and flex plan options can give employees choices as to how they will spend their benefit dollars.
The plan should also offer you, the employer, options for adjusting the plan as your company grows. Tweaking benefit offerings or expanding the plan to cover a growing workforce should be incorporated into all aspects of the plan design.
- Tech First – Employees in this industry live and breathe technology; their employee benefits plan should accommodate this. A mobile app for accessing employee benefits information, making claims and finding providers is a must. Online enrollment and virtual healthcare are other examples of providing this tech-first approach.
The tech-first approach should also apply to administering the employee benefits plan. An online platform for administering the plan that helps automate day-to-day tasks and remind administrators of deadlines for plan activities is equally important.
- Value-driven – Because so many companies in the tech industry are small businesses, it makes sense that value and affordability are important. Ensuring that the benefit plan has cost containment mechanisms in place to protect the long-term sustainability of the benefit plan is a must. The plan should also include built-in enhancements to provide the most value for each benefit dollar. Examples can include disability management services with disability coverage, access to an employee and family assistance program or cash payments during a hospital stay.
- Wellness – While wellness has become more mainstream for employee benefit plans, the tech sector wants wellness support at a new level. Many in this sector spend their days at a computer, so supporting employees to achieve better physical and mental health is very important. Providing access to an employee and family assistance program (EFAP) is a good place to start. A good EFAP will offer free short-term counselling, online resources and 24/7 access to help.
Taking it to the next level may mean providing employees with wellness spending accounts, organizing wellness challenges or offering custom developed fitness training sessions (like LifeWorks Lift, offered at GroupHEALTH). It can also mean providing regular health assessments and screening to help improve the physical health of employees.
Smart Plan for Small Business
If you’re a tech company that recognizes the value of providing employee benefits, but aren’t sure where to start, the Smart Plan for Small Business may be a good fit. The Smart Plan for Small Business was designed for companies with three or more employees (including the owner).
It’s great because it’s comprehensive – it balances great benefits with affordability. It’s configurable so that you can adjust the coverages that are included, and it provides cost transparency. On top of that, it’s easy to implement.
The Return on Investment
Providing the right employee benefits plan for your tech company will be an investment that pays off. It’s no secret that the tech industry is competitive. Attracting and retaining the best employees is an essential ingredient for success. The right employee benefits plan can help with this. A good employee benefits plan that complements the unique culture of your tech company can help you attract new employees and retain the ones you already have. It can also help your employees live healthier lives. This pays off with happier, more productive employees. It’s a good return on investment.
Good Advice is Key
Are you a tech company trying to compete for employees in a highly competitive market? Do you need a non-traditional plan that complements your company 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.