It’s a constant question for employers: how do you attract the best and brightest people to your organization—and then hang on to them? Some forward-thinking companies, like Ceridian Canada, have realized that, rather than guessing what employees need, it’s better simply to ask.

As HR specialists providing services such as payroll, employee assistance programs, recruiting and HR consulting, Ceridian Canada recognizes the importance of satisfying and connecting with its employees. So they go right to the source.

“We have world-class engagement levels at our company,” says John Cardella, executive vice-president and chief people officer. “We believe it’s very important. When you’re engaged with your people, they’re more connected, they’re happier, and, therefore, they’re more productive.” And more productive employees make for a more profitable organization, he says.

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Ceridian Canada connects with its workforce—which spans four generations—through yearly surveys and multiple follow-up focus groups. The company’s goal is to ensure that its benefits offerings include something for every single employee.

“We listen to our people and really try to understand what they want, and what works and doesn’t work for them,” says Cardella. “We’re constantly making adjustments. Now we’re at a point where we offer an unbelievable suite of benefits that can accommodate every employee and age group. And, to us, that’s very, very important.”

For example, Ceridian learned that some employees have pets whose health—and associated veterinary costs—is a source of considerable stress.

To address this concern, Ceridian partnered with Petsecure, a Canadian pet insurance provider. Now, employees who purchase pet insurance receive discounts of up to 10% off the cost of premiums, depending on the level of coverage they select. It may be a relatively small percentage using this benefit, but it’s a valuable and important offering for those who do.

Pet insurance isn’t the only interesting coverage option among Ceridian’s benefits offerings. Cardella says Ceridian also offers a flex benefits package, granting every employee $1,000 in credits per year, allotted as he or she wishes. If, for example, the employee only needs to allot $500 to his or her health spending needs, the additional $500 can be shifted into a personal tax-free savings account or RRSP.

“People don’t lose out just because they don’t need as much coverage,” says Cardella. “That’s another example of what we do so that our benefits really mean something to everyone.”

The company also contributes an amount equal to 4% of an employee’s salary toward their pension plan. It offers maternity leave top-up to 95% and one paid week off for new fathers; it covers adoption-related costs up to $5,000.

“To truly be a best employer, you have to have a culture of appreciation,” says Cardella. “The take-away is that you really have to really listen to what your employees value. We offer so many unique benefits that, in themselves, may not be showstoppers. But when you offer a unique blend and variety that somehow hits the mark for all of your people, you’re onto something.”

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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