Three-quarters of Canadian organizations (and 67 per cent of global employers) either offer or are keen to offer benefits choice or flexible benefits, according to a new survey by MBWL International, an international joint venture between Barnett Waddingham, Milliman Inc., Lurse and Normandin Beaudry.

The survey, which polled more than 250 global employers, found 27 per cent said they don’t offer flexible benefits and have no plans to offer it in the future, while five per cent were unsure.

The majority (81 per cent) of respondents cited cost as the most important aspect organizations consider when designing and reviewing benefits, followed by attraction and retention (51 per cent) and market benchmarking results (33 per cent).

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When asked what benefits programs they’re most focused on this year, more than two thirds of employers said well-being programs (68 per cent) and insured benefits (63 per cent), while 24 per cent said flexible/hybrid working.

Age and generational considerations (56 per cent) were the top aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion that organizations felt need attention, in addition to equity across job levels (56 per cent) and gender (53 per cent). Employers also noted flexible working (63 per cent), healthcare (61 per cent) and leave benefits (43 per cent) were most valued by their employees.

More than two-thirds (37 per cent) of respondents cited communication as the number one challenge to successful employee benefits engagement, followed by lack of manager training, lack of resources in benefits teams and lack of budget for benefit programs (33 per cent each, respectively).

“Global benefits leaders are facing an ever-changing set of challenges, and their priorities are evolving accordingly,” said Daniel Drolet, senior partner of group benefits at Normandin Beaudry, in a press release. “With the right strategies and governance, they have a [significant] opportunity for these leaders to add tremendous value to their organizations and employees worldwide.”

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