Every year it seems like technology is taking us in new directions and changing how we communicate and do business.
We've experienced the novelty of car phones, cell phones and now, smartphones as well as Google Home, Siri commands, and superfoods delivered to your door. Technological advancements seem to afford us endless possibilities and the potential for a future that is beyond limits. This notion got me thinking about how technology changed the way products and services are delivered and how it affects group benefits as a whole.
Last year, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported on benefit industry changes over the course of the last 20 years. Their survey captured a comparative analysis of benefit plan offerings in 1996 and then again in 2016. This report captured marked differences including "what's in" and "what's out." While these examples reflect the sentiments of US respondents, they are not out of line with the trends reported by Canadian employers.
Telecommuting. In 1996 only 20% of companies offered employees the ability to work remotely. Technology and views of employers shifted significantly in 20 years. In 2016, 60% of companies provide flexibility in terms of promoting work-life balance.
Professional development. In 1996, the emphasis on recruiting and employee retention was not as much of a focus as it is today. In 2017, 86% of companies cover additional training and education for their employees. Costs for memberships to professional organizations and trade unions are up 88% as compared to 65% in 1996.
Focus on Wellness. In 1996, 54% of employer offered health and wellness programs. Comparatively, in 2016, 72% of employers offer wellness programs including discounts on insurance premiums or Health Savings Accounts. Given the increased number of chronic disease conditions related to diabetes, obesity and heart disease seen in the workplace, this increased focus is well placed.
Employee stock purchase plans. Back in 1996, 28% of companies offered employee stock purchase plans compared to 9% in 2016.
Credit union memberships. The buzz around credit union membership has seen its heyday. Today only 23% of companies offer credit union memberships compared to 70% in 1996.
In 2017, we see more examples of providers implementing service experiences using artificial intelligence. Members can find out if their massage claim was processed using Google Home. It begs the question, what is next? Time will tell -- and we can help. Our extensive resources ensure we stay ahead of the curve so that we're at the ready when you are. We invite you to contact us to discuss employee benefit trends and ways to ensure you're staying current with recruitment, retention and benefit plan arrangements to meet your specific requirements now and in the future. As always, we're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
There is an odd dichotomy in the employment landscape right now. The Canadian unemployment rate hovers around 6.8 to 7 percent over the course and yet there are many employers who struggle to find the right candidate and have jobs sitting vacant for months at a time.
Recruiters and Human Resources professionals alike spend upwards of 15 hours per week just looking for the ideal candidate for their client. Perhaps there are jobs that Canadians won't take or maybe there is a significant skills shortage to match the demands of available work. Another possibility could be that there is too much competition in the marketplace or that some employers struggle with reduced budgets to support their recruiting needs. Whatever the mix of reasons, recruiting challenges exist and aren't likely to dissipate any time soon -- especially when one factors in North American Baby Boomer statistics where 10,000 workers retire every day.
Recruiting challenges are real and they are costly. The average hiring time is 10-12 weeks from job opening to accepted offer and the reality is that most organizations underestimate the cost of recruitment by 90-95%. In addition, once a suitable candidate has been interviewed and considered optimal for the role, over 50% of job offers are rejected.*
Smart recruiting involves strategically navigating the hiring landscape. My top tips for addressing current recruiting challenges are:
1) Rule the Job Description domain: spend sufficient time really ensuring that a detailed job description has been prepared with day-to-day duties clearly identified so that the candidate has a good picture of the nature of the work and you haven't created unrealistic expectations or hiring requirements.
2) Communicate your vision and market the organization: Candidates, especially Millennials (those born between 1980-2000) want to feel that they are connected to something greater and have a strong sense of community. They often seek this over job security.
Spending time communicating the vision and mission of the company as well as how the candidate's department fits into the overall scheme of things will help better position you when it comes to competition for talent.
3) Outline opportunity and total rewards: Make the effort to describe the opportunity for growth and advancement that exists within the organization for a talented team player and provide details about the total compensation arrangement, not just salary information.
4) Involve the direct supervisor as well as other employees in recruiting efforts: Loyalty and higher engagement are known to come from situations where referrals offer up the strongest candidates because workers understand they will have to work day in, day out with the person they've recommended. Also, managers generally know the details of the role better than a recruiter and whether a candidate is a good fit based on their own experience and knowledge of education and experience required in a specific field.
Employers who apply these steps as part of the hiring process do themselves a recruiting favour and also put applicants in a better position to feel excited about the prospect of being a strong organizational fit. There is a lot to consider when working to overcome existing recruitment challenges. As part of Gallagher Benefit Services, we have the experience of a global organization to address your needs. We invite you to contact us. We're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
*source: Reed in Partnership
It has been just over seven months since I announced my partnership with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.(AJG) and I'm just as thrilled about it as I was back in late August 2013.
A few weeks ago, my team and I were featured on page 17 of the May 2014 issue of the Ottawa Business Journal. The article highlights some of the many reasons this partnership makes great sense for our clients, our team and our community.
While this change allows us to provide a more robust service platform with a new international offering, we continue to steadfastly honour our client-centric model where providing superior service and innovative solutions for our clients' insurance and benefits consulting needs is a top priority.
The merger with AJG allows us to expand our service offering in new and important ways. With more than 100 branches around the world, we're well supported by a national platform while we still maintain a local Ottawa presence.
With an increased range of services including group insurance, executive and personal benefits, retirement services, international benefits, human resource consulting, and optional benefits, our team is well positioned to access the information and services our clients request. Although our name has changed, our entire staff remains in place. We've just moved to a different suite no. 510, within the same building we've occupied for years at 220 Laurier Avenue West in Ottawa.
We're excited to share our full range of services with you and we'd love to hear from you if you have any questions about how we can support your needs. As always, we're here to help so that you can focus on what you do best.
Please feel free to drop by and visit us.
Dave Dickinson, B.Comm, CFP, CLU, CHFC
Experienced Benefits Specialist ready to optimize your group benefits and pension plans.