HR having trouble getting management support for benefits changes: Survey

Looking to introduce flex benefits, wellness programs, cost-management strategies
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 10/11/2018
employee benefits
Health and wellness benefits were cited by 38 per cent of respondents as the top priority, found the survey Shutterstock

Employers want to create and implement benefits programs that will attract, retain and compete for talent they need, while managing costs. However, a lack of consensus from top management is holding back progress, according to a survey by insurance brokerage HUB International.

“Now, with an increasingly young and diverse workforce, we are finding that most Canadian companies are looking at benefits as a strategic tool for attracting and retaining talent in a highly competitive market,” said Mike Barone, president of Employee Benefits at HUB International. “Benefits are becoming the most important differentiator for organizations.”

Respondents reported difficulty getting support from upper management to introduce flexible benefits (24 per cent), wellness programs (21 per cent), new cost management strategies (20 per cent) and changes to retirement plans (20 per cent).

Health and wellness were cited by 38 per cent of respondents as the top priority, implemented as a means to boost employee morale (29 per cent) and productivity (23 per cent) and reduce turnover (22 per cent), found the survey of nearly 200 benefits decision-makers.

Flexible benefit plans are the most common strategy used to manage costs, with 19 per cent of companies leveraging the tactic in 2017.
However, only 12 per cent of those that have implemented them have seen them measurably reduce benefits costs. This might be attributed to flawed design as some aspects of these plans can increase utilization, cost and administrative complexity if not designed optimally, said HUB.

The full report can be found at HUB International’s 2018 Benefits Barometer Canada.

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