We all know great people are the key to great business, but in today’s job market, it’s challenging for a small business to compete. With the flexibility of the gig economy and the exciting perks offered by large corporations, recruiting and retaining talent is more difficult than ever.

So, how can a small business stand out in the war for talent? The first instinct for many people is to offer the most money. Everyone easily understands the value of money and, let’s face it; we could all use more of it.

However, when you think about the total cost of a raise or salary offer to you and your employee, there may be a better way that offers more to both of you. More and more, candidates are looking beyond just the money. So when you’re considering how best to compensate your employees, look at what you offer as a holistic package rather than just focusing on a number.

With a variety of employer payroll, provincial, and federal taxes applied to their paycheques, most employees won’t see the full benefit of a pay increase. A competitive group benefits plan is a great option to consider instead. Providing a benefits plan is a tax-effective choice for both the employee and employer. Unlike a salary increase, benefits are tax-free to employees. Claims can be paid out tax-free if the employee pays life and disability insurance premiums. Health and dental benefits, whether paid fully or partially by an employee, are also as a non-taxable benefit in most provinces.

While it’s nice for employees to have visits to the dentist or a monthly massage covered, the true value of group benefits comes from coverage for catastrophic events and chronic illnesses. Without coverage for prescription drugs, emergency travel insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, or hospital stays, your employees could end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

The cost of health care for Canadians is increasing, so the value they place on their benefits plan is higher than ever. Government benefits are being reduced, inflation is rising, and there are long waiting lists for many services. Having an employer-sponsored benefits plan offers them security and peace of mind and generates goodwill toward your company. This goes a long way in creating a culture that attracts the type of people you want.

However, a benefits program is just one way to increase the value of your compensation plan and your overall value proposition for employees. Additional programs like employee assistance, savings and group retirement plan are also all great options to offer your employees. Our dedicated professional team at Cowan will work with you to provide a customized solution for your insurance and benefits needs.