A Vancouver-based software company is using education benefits and a flexible work schedule to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive labour market.

Kathy Enros, vice-president of people for Klue, says the company is enhancing the education component of its benefits program, which is currently the most-requested benefit among employees. While the education programs are mostly related to leadership and job skills, they also include personal interests and hobbies, she says.

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“The [benefit that employees] have been asking for the most lately is learning, which is why we’ve really invested back in them by getting some learning platforms and allowing them to attend some sessions in person or virtually. . . . As we grow, we need to upscale our team, so we’ve been supporting them that way. Some of the learning platforms out there are great in that they offer programs like the fundamentals of sales, but also learning how to paint. We welcome [employees] to take as many courses as they like that are also not work-related because we think that helps them balance out their lives.”

The enhanced education offering is an example of how employee input is shaping Klue’s benefits package, which in turn results in a more efficient and cost-effective offering, notes Enros. “We survey our employees regularly as to what they love and use and would like to see [in their benefits package]. I think customizing and giving them what they’ll use and see value in is important. We track things like usage to see, for instance, if there’s a benefit they’re not using so we can get rid of it. That’s been a big part in determining the offering.”

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Beyond Klue’s benefits offering, Enros says a flexible working arrangement — which includes unlimited time off in addition to vacation — has also helped the company retain talent and is easing the return to the workplace. While this flexibility was in place pre-coronavirus pandemic, it’s importance has only been reinforced over the last 21 months, she says.

“Employees are encouraged to use that unlimited time off for volunteering or a mental-health day or going to the dentist. We like to offer flexibility and that’s a huge benefit that the employees love.

“We’re all figuring out what the return to the office looks like, so we’re offering a very flexible arrangement. We recognize that 9-to-5 is no longer — people have lives and kids, so we let them pick when they want to be in the office, if at all. The employees have seen that as a great support in removing some of the stressors in life.”

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