Increased flexibility, enhanced digitization and a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion are among the trends shaping 3M Canada’s benefits plan in 2023, says Jacqueline McLennan, a benefits specialist at the company.

In particular, 3M’s wellness program offers employees the flexibility to support their personal health and well-being. “We don’t have it narrowed down to only use for certain things. Wellness can mean a lot of different things for employees, so general wellness programs are a great way to provide flexibility for employees. I feel like more employers are working on improving their wellness offerings.”

In light of employees’ diverse health and wellness needs, employers need to focus their group benefits plans on providing employees with timely access to care and adding flexibility to support their health outcomes, says Shane Reid, director of drug, product and provider management at Medavie Blue Cross.

Read: How wellness is guiding employers, employees into the future workplace

“Flexibility [ties into] this concept of almost ‘health consumerism,’ where employees need the ability to decide when and how they spend their benefits dollars. . . . It’s more about the breadth and depth of resources that you make available so employees can self-navigate to improve their well-being.”

3M is also increasingly digitizing its benefits offering, says McLennan, noting virtual health care has revolutionized employee access to health-care providers. “[Virtual care] is becoming so prevalent and it’s really important for employees, especially those who do shift work or people with young children. Having that virtual care option that can work around their unique schedule is key for flexibility as well.”

Another benefits trend that has emerged in the last few years is the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion. Both McLennan and Reid believe employers and insurers will continue to develop this relationship throughout the year.

McLennan also highlighted the importance of innovative benefits communications, noting 3M has successfully promoted its benefits offerings to employees through a trivia contest.

Read: How employers are integrating DEI into their benefits plans