Two Canadian employers explain why it’s important to implement a combination of higher coverage and a variety of practitioners under their plans.

Elaine Cheung, director of total rewards at Coke Canada

At Coke Canada, employee benefits are key enablers of the overall employee experience.

That’s why we listen to our employees and what they need, learn about best practices and emerging opportunities from other organizations and evolve our offering to suit the needs of our employees and their families.

We’re committed to becoming the ‘World’s Greatest Bottler Built by the Best People.’ For people to be their best, they must be able to focus on their wellness and the wellness of their family members. In the past two years, we’ve been particularly focused on mental health.

Read: Coke Canada expanding coverage for mental-health, family-building benefits

During an especially challenging time with the coronavirus pandemic, Coke Canada increased its benefits plan coverage from $1,500 to $5,000 per year for psychologist services for employees and their dependants and expanded the coverage to include social workers and psychotherapists. This ensured that employees and their families who needed support during the pandemic could access it.

Since then, our employees have been telling us how important the added coverage has been in supporting them and their families with getting the care they need. By reducing the cost barrier to accessing support and not being limited by a few visits, our employees feel they can have regular and continuous care to really be able to work through life’s challenges. When we expanded the coverage to include the additional mental-health practitioners, the immediate uptake showed us there was a need to provide more options for care.

As we continue to build on our mental wellness focus in the new year, Coke Canada is keeping the increased coverage at $5,000 and further expanding the practitioners to include registered clinical counsellors and marriage and family therapists.

It’s our belief that investing in our employees and their families’ mental well-being proactively helps keep them healthy, more productive and engaged.

Carlos Villamizar, senior director of total rewards and HRIS at CSA Group

CSA Group is a global organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability.

Many of our employees are committed to the organization because its purpose and mission aligns with their personal values. Our global benefits program strives to reflect this culture of care, which focuses on providing employees with access to the services they need to be successful both in their professional and personal lives.

Read: Which employers are finalists in the 2021 Workplace Benefits Awards?

Developing a competitive and progressive total rewards package is an ongoing effort, which includes listening to and engaging with our employees on an ongoing basis. Well before the pandemic, we undertook a formal review of our benefits program with a focus on identifying the right mix of offerings. To inform this, we consulted with employees and familiarized ourselves with benchmarking to local market and global best practices. We had already identified mental health as a long-term priority, but the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 accelerated and confirmed the urgent need to enhance this coverage.

As part of our Canadian benefits offering redesign, we made the decision to increase our mental-health coverage from $1,000 to $5,000 per employee annually. Both external and internal utilization indicators clearly showed our employees needed more support and our organization felt it was necessary to make a swift and significant improvement.

To complement this, we made the decision to expand the nature of practitioners offered under this coverage to better reflect the range of mental-health experts and the diverse needs and circumstances of our employees. For example, telemedicine is gaining popularity and our employees are seeking out a wider range of paramedical services.

Our employees welcomed these changes and enhancements, which we saw through strong utilization rates and positive feedback gathered through regular employee engagement surveys.

Read: How 5 employers are ensuring mental health remains a priority