Employee Benefits

Debunking Employee Benefits Myths

By Doug Birks on February, 10 2021
4 minute read

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Many myths surround employee benefits, causing organizations to underestimate the value they bring to the table. The most common myths have to do with the cost of benefits, young workforces not requiring accident or sickness benefits, and a lack of employer return on investment. 

In this blog, we’ll go through each of these myths, explain why these myths are not true, and show how employee benefits can help your business. 

Investing in employee benefits is too expensive

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Investing in your workplace demonstrates how much your organization cares about their employees. Employee benefits are a key factor in employee productivity and performance. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to remain loyal and in turn achieve higher levels of productivity and performance. 

On the other end of the spectrum, when employees do not feel valued, their sense of loyalty may be negatively influenced. Employee turnover increases recruitment costs and decreases workplace morale by forcing the remaining team members to work strenuous hours to manage the workload. The investment in employee benefits may appear costly in the short term; however, the long-term advantages contribute to the company’s success.

How to Combat

Evaluate the short-term costs against long-term organizational objectives:  investment in retaining motivated employees compared to the costs of turnover and recruiting new ones. Analyze how your organization’s benefits compare to benchmarked data for organizations with whom your company competes for talent. A knowledgeable advisor will benchmark a benefit plan to ensure the benefits you offer are competitive. They will also obtain competitive quotes and customize the plan to suit the needs of the employees and the employer.


Young and healthy workforces do not need insurance 

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Young employees aren’t typically worried by thoughts of dying, getting sick, or developing a disability. Their minds are focused on other goals and milestones: purchasing their first home, building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, and, of course, setting aside money for travel and entertainment. As a result, some employers have adopted the mindset of their employees and fail to see the need to provide or enforce enrollment for disability benefits.

How to combat

This past year, the impact of Covid-19 has taught us how quickly things can change. Whether it be illness or injury, when uninsured, the costs of medication or time away from work due to disability can be financially crippling. The inability to earn a pay cheque or a significant increase in out of pocket expenses, directly affects savings, the ability to provide basic care needs, and financial protection for loved ones. 

Educate employees on the risks of not having accident and sickness insurance. Adopt a communication style that educates plan members on how employee benefits help alleviate the pressure of suffering with a disability. Ask your advisor to support you with employee education sessions and communication resources.


Employee benefits offer no return on investment

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Absenteeism and presenteeism limit productivity in the workforce. A main common denominator for both is stress. Over recent years, benefits programs in Canada have been rapidly shifting to provide employees more attractive resources to engage in mental and physical wellness.

Absenteeism is the regular practice of staying away from work without a clearly documented reason. This has a negative trickle-down effect on financial and organizational objectives as co-workers are often left picking up the slack, resulting in increased workplace stress, overtime costs, and potentially the hiring of temporary workers.

Presenteeism is when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace because of injury or illness. Stressed employees may be physically present but mentally checked out. Research conducted by Morneau Shepell found 81% of employee respondents reported having experienced presenteeism, with 40% indicating stress and anxiety as a leading factor.

As a result, employee wellness programs are growing more popular in an effort to reduce employee stress and boost productivity. Providing incentives to drive sustained engagement (such as online discounts and redeemable rewards), educational tools, and confidential mental health support, are a few ways benefits programs are being re-engineered to get ahead of mental and physical illnesses. Investment in employee health and wellness can curb the factors that reduce quality of performance and greatly contribute to the overall success of the company.

How to combat

Stay informed on how the workforce is rapidly evolving and changing. Health and wellness programs provide services that allow employers and employees to educate themselves on factors correlated to workplace stress and provide resources to improve physical, emotional, and financial health. Addressing the root cause of the factors contributing to absenteeism and presenteeism helps to control costs thus effectively increasing your firm's bottom line. A competent advisor will offer annual educational sessions to ensure all employees and team leaders are informed of the health and wellness resources that are built into their benefits program. 


Final Thoughts

Employee benefits are more than perks and not merely a cost that could be applied elsewhere. Happy and healthy employees are key in driving organizational performance. We cannot foresee injury or illness and investing in your employees can ensure they are financially supported—no matter what the future holds. Investing in the right type of benefits for your organization can reduce recruitment and training costs by keeping employees satisfied. This helps companies maintain a strong workforce and sustain long-term growth. To put it simply, employees that feel valued will drive organizational performance. 


Revisiting Employee Benefits in Light of COVID-19

Jaime Laprise addresses the changes in the employee benefits world and what these changes mean going forward for your organisation as well as how to best manage your benefits plan right now.

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