The importance of employee benefits


ou don't "build a
business" - you hire
people and they help
build the business. It is
these people who continue
to list employee benefits as
important when choosing
to work for one company
over another.

According to a recent industry
healthcare survey conducted by
Sanofi Canada, six in 10 Canadians
indicated that extended health and
dental coverage is a very important
factor in their decision when
considering a new position or job.
The survey showed that benefits
tied with number of hours worked,
only falling behind salary, and
ranked well ahead of group savings
and retirement benefits. For many
businesses, holding on to talented
employees and attracting new ones
can be difficult (and sometimes
impossible) without a competitive
employee benefits plan, particularly
as the business and its employees
grow and evolve.
When business executives are
asked about why they provide
employee benefits, we often hear four
common reasons:
* Attraction - the need to attract key
talent and therefore be competitive
with other businesses in the market.
* Retention - the need to retain
employees by providing benefits



that are as good as or better than
your competitors'.
* Tax-effectiveness - the ability to
provide tax-effective compensation
and thus increase the value of the
total compensation package.
* Obligation - the moral (or
perceived legal) obligation
to provide some level of
employee benefits.
Since each company's situation
is different, there is no single right
answer to why you should provide
employee benefits. However, there
is a lot of value in surveying the
ownership and senior leadership of
the business and then in comparing
their views to the nature and form
of benefits actually being provided
to employees.
The key is to design a plan that
delivers value to employees and is
affordable and sustainable for the
business. The benefits strategy should
support the business' people strategy,
which in turn supports the broader
business strategy. Like any other cost
to the business, when you are investing
in an employee benefits plan, you
should expect to see a return on that
investment. The good news regarding
employee benefits is that, in general,
the vast majority of companies are
satisfied that employee benefits plans
are meeting their objectives. However,
there is still an opportunity to manage
this area in a more strategic manner
than has historically been the case.

Until we no longer need people
to run businesses, we will need to
be sensitive to employees' needs,
wants and wishes. Employees
continue to tell us that employee
benefits are important to them
when making career choices. In a
competitive business environment
with known labour shortages,
businesses really need to provide
a solid employee benefits
plan program.
The Building Supply Industry
Association of BC has sponsored a
group benefits buying consortium
since 1998. It recognizes that each
organization's needs are unique
and warrant a customized solution.
Should you have any questions on
the above, please don't hesitate
to contact me or a member of the
ZLC Financial Group team. 
John McGrath works with organizations
of all sizes who share the belief that
there is a better way when it comes
to employee benefits and broader
human capital strategies. As a benefits
consultant with ZLC Financial Group he
applies his 30-plus years of experience
as a human resource consultant and
employee benefits specialist to maximize
the value from employee benefits
plans and to ensure their financial
sustainability and ongoing relevance
to employees. John can be reached by
email at or phone at
604-688-7208 or 1-800-663-1499.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING SUPPLY INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION - Spring 2019