Using a real-time benefits scoring tool, Targeted Strategies Group is making changes to its benefits plan to enhance its employee value proposition amid a tight labour market.

Since 2017, the insurance brokerage firm, which has 142 employees, has used CloudAdvisors’ benefits ranking tool to gauge whether it’s accomplishing the goals it’s set out to achieve with its benefits plan design. “We do a lot of recruiting so it’s very helpful to understand whether our benefits really are as good as we believe they are,” says Kathryn Newstead, human resources coordinator at the Targeted Strategies Group. “It helps us to understand how we compare with and stack up to other companies’ benefits offerings.”

Read: 38% of plan sponsors planning to update benefits plan design in 2021: survey

The platform is a database of different employers’ plans that provides a cross-comparison of how each company ranks nationally, provincially, within its industry and by group size. The tool provides ammunition to take back to senior management to explain any pivots or changes the company needs to make to stay competitive, says Newstead.

During Targeted Strategies Group’s annual renewal each March, Newstead uses the tool to better align the benefits package with the primary objectives of the plan and its company culture and values.

In March 2021, it was able to maintain a competitive edge by adding dependant life insurance to its suite of benefits. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of plans enrolled on the platform already offered this benefit, she says, noting the change was a minor cost of the company’s overall premium for the benefits package.

Read: Employers enhancing meaningful benefits offerings to attract, keep top talent

In March 2022, the organization made changes to its long-term disability insurance and its prescription drug coverage, based on information it gleaned from the tool. The organization changed the plan so it now covers 100 per cent of the cost of drugs purchased through the employer’s preferred virtual pharmacy or 90 per cent through any other pharmacy, regardless of whether or note the drug is on the national formulary list.

After incorporating these changes, Targeted Strategies Group now sits in the platform’s 83rd percentile in the category of firms with 100 to 500 employees. “Every year, we’re making changes due to reviewing our score and where we find we can make the most impact,” says Newstead. “The [insurance] market has been unbelievably challenging, so certainly trying to stand out and differentiate ourselves in that competitive landscape is in our best interest.”

Read: How small and mid-sized employers can offer benefits like large employers