Employers across Canada think they are doing their best to provide their employees with the rewards and benefits they want (and often expect) . However, with shifting demographics, more millennials entering the workforce, and a multi-generational workforce, there’s a growing disconnect between what many employers are offering in terms of benefits and what today’s employees are looking for.
Nowhere is this disconnect more apparent than the low penetration of voluntary benefits in the Canadian market. Employers are either unaware of voluntary benefit options, or don’t understand how they can be used to bridge gaps in their benefits plans.
Voluntary Benefits Defined
Voluntary benefits are benefits options above and beyond a traditional plan or Health Spending Account (HSA) that employers offer. Employees may choose to opt into all, some, or none of these options. They only pay for the benefits they want to purchase. Staff members can just scan through the options that their employers have made available and choose what they like. It’s an à la carte system that is a win-win for both employees and employers.
Some of the traditional benefits options that have been available over the years include the following:
- Critical illness coverage
- Life insurance
- Long-term care coverage
The Growth in Popularity of Voluntary Benefits: Why Now?
Most employees want to choose their benefits. In fact, when asked in Sanofi Canada’s 2015 health-care survey, a stunning 91 percent of plan members said they’d appreciate the option of choosing their unique benefits at work.
However, these days the options are changing. Why? Millennials are making up a higher and higher percentage of the Canadian work force, and their idea of a benefits package is much different from Boomers, Generation X-ers and even Generation Y-ers.
Not only do these new employees want voluntary benefits, they expect them. According to a recent study, 73% said that the access to customizable benefits was an attractive option when job hunting. In other words, if they don’t see these options, they may move on.
Additionally, the type of voluntary benefits that employees (especially Millennials) expect is changing. The following is a list of the growing trends in the voluntary benefits landscape:
- Pet insurance
- Car insurance
- Eldercare coverage
- Accidental injury insurance
- Identity theft insurance
- Travel insurance
Want to include Voluntary Benefits in your plan?
It’s always important to adjust benefits packages to match the growing and changing market — but not just for the sake of staying ahead of the times. Signing on to offer additional voluntary benefits to employees will help you retain and attract the best workers and staff, as employees will welcome the option to only purchase what they need and want and they won’t feel forced into paying for something that they can’t use.
Employers who are considering adding more flexible coverage options and voluntary benefits to their benefits packages should contact their Advisor or a Benecaid Benefits Consultant. Through Honeybee, it is easier than ever to offer personalized benefits and voluntary benefits products to your employees, and the whole platform is digital, easy to use and sustainable year-after-year.