Dive into your benefits toolbox to support your employees post-pandemic

There’s lots of talk about what the post-pandemic workplace will look like. And as the world embraces the transition into the new normal, many employers are seeking new ways to support their employees. 

While many organizations were initially skeptical about work-from-home situations, employees have been able to retain, and even surpass, productivity levels. The consequence of this, however, has been higher levels of stress and burnout in the workforce

As the lines between office and personal time were blurred, many employees have struggled to cope. The weight and uncertainty of the pandemic itself has led to increased mental health issues and financial challenges. Working mothers have been disproportionately affected by all this too. Some have had to reduce working hours or resign from positions altogether for the sake of their sanity and family. 

Now, slowly but surely, we’re nearing the finish line of what has seemed like an endless marathon. And as we move into a phased transition back to the workplace, employers need to start thinking about how to prioritize their employees’ wellbeing in different ways

The easiest answer? Dive into your benefits plan’s data and adjust accordingly. 

How to make better decisions about your post-pandemic benefits plan

Recently, Benefits Canada hosted the 2021 Benefits and Pension Summit. There, experts shared some recommended actions that employers can take today to better prepare their employees in the post-pandemic workplace. Below we’ve summarized the key takeaways: 

  1. Explore how the pandemic has uniquely impacted your workforce

Since certain groups of people have been affected by the pandemic in unique ways, employers should get clear on how that has impacted their organization specifically. 

To do this, employers might consider comparing turnover and resignation rates before and after the pandemic based on age and gender. They can also send out employee surveys to collect feedback on company morale and benefits usage. 

This information can inform changes to the benefits offering or help employers build targeted retention and acquisition programs as this pandemic subsides. 

Suggested read: The value of employee opinions to your benefits plan strategy

  1. Assess mental wellness using your benefits plan information  

Mental wellbeing has been a top concern for many employers throughout this pandemic. By extracting data from your wellness platforms, you’ll be able to get a snapshot of the most popular resources that your employees have been using.  

Other sources of information could also come from employee health risk assessment tools, offered under most benefits plans. 

With that data, organizations can get a timely overview of how their employees are coping with stress. From there, employers can look at other options that could improve their access to mental health support such as virtual counselling services. 

Suggest read: Tackling COVID’s mental health crisis with virtual teletherapy services

  1. Examine disability data to see how your EAP is holding up 

Looking at year-over-year changes in disability leave data and costs can tell employers how valuable their employee assistance program (EAP) has been during these past few months. 

Many employees might not even know these resources exist or might be reluctant to use them. This could be reflected in higher levels of disability claims or even higher antidepressant use. 

By getting more insights on how your employees are using your benefits, you’ll be able to adapt your EAP offering or find new ways to communicate those specific perks. 

Suggest read: 5 benefits that support employees in a post-pandemic workplace

  1. Consider including benefits that boost financial wellbeing 

RRSP contributions can be a game-changer for employees who are tackling financial fallouts from COVID. 

If businesses don’t already have them, perhaps it’s time to consider adding RRSP contributions to the list of perks. If that’s already set up, employers might want examine contribution levels or withdrawals over the past year. 

If people have had to dip into their retirement savings to pay bills, they may be more financially stressed than anyone realizes. In this case, sharing additional support resources or financial tools could be a good way to make sure they feel supported.

Suggested read: How RRSP perks can be a game-changer for your employees today

  1. Try out a variety of ways to communicate your benefits offering

Not every employee will absorb benefits plan information in the same ways. Some prefer to go to specific websites or read documents, while others might want quick updates via webinars or emails. 

Right now, it’s particularly important to offer your employees varied levels of support. Creating a communicating strategy for your benefits offering and regularly dispersing information using many different channels can be the best way to keep your employees informed. This will also reinforce your position as employer who is looking out for their wellbeing.  

Suggested read: 5 ways to help employees better understand the value of your benefits plan

Not sure where to begin? Call on benefits experts

We get it— you’re busy juggling lots of priorities right now. And sometimes, analyzing your benefit plan’s performance or data isn’t as straightforward as it should be. 

If you ever need assistance evaluating your current employee benefits offering or want a second opinion on some adjustments you’d like to implement, contact our team. We’re here to support you, so you can keep focusing on supporting your employees. 

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