The majority of Canadian small business owners make the connection between employee satisfaction and workplace productivity, according to results from Manulife Financial’s second annual Small Business Research Report.

Of more than 1,100 small business owners polled, 95% said they understand the link between ensuring employees are satisfied and ensuring a productive workforce. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they feel an obligation to take care of their employees. Additionally, 79% agreed that a company-sponsored retirement plan benefited both employee and employer, while 66% indicated they believe a company-sponsored health benefits plan can help improve business productivity. Almost half (48%) of respondents believe a health benefits plan is more effective than paying a higher wage in driving employee satisfaction.

“Health benefits and retirement plans can have a significant positive impact on the productivity of a small business owner’s company,” said Marc Avaria, vice-president, group small business, with Manulife Financial. “Investing in your employees will also help attract and retain the best talent, all of which ultimately support the success of the company.”

The small business owners polled cited a variety of reasons that motivate them to offer an employee benefits plan. The top reason is recruitment and retention, at 28%. In addition, 17% say they offer these plans to keep up with the competition.

Likewise, the research indicates that owners provide a retirement plan for several reasons, including encouraging retirement savings (22%) and retaining employees (21%). Of those who do not offer a retirement plan, 43% say they would be motivated to do so in order to reduce turnover, 38% cite the benefit from tax incentives, and 31% cite the need to attract top-quality staff.

The report shows that 41% of respondents believe that they have a responsibility to ensure that their employees save for retirement. “The reality is that millions of small business employees in Canada don’t have access to a workplace retirement savings plan and are not saving enough for retirement. Small business owners have an opportunity to educate themselves on existing retirement programs and the new pooled registered pension plan to determine the best option suited to them,” said Avaria.

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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