Smart Tips for Startups on How to Start a Benefit Plan

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Are you eager to attract and retain the best talent for your startup? You may want to consider providing health benefits for your employees. Employee health benefits are an important part of Canadian culture. And, just like new businesses that change the way things have been, Canadians are using their employee health benefits in new ways and shifting the type of coverage they expect. This plays an important role in a startup’s ability to compete for talent.

Going all out with a generous benefits plan to attract and retain employees is sometimes the first plan for startups. It may feel like a great decision, but at plan renewal time it could be too expensive. There are benefit plan options that deliver important health protection benefits for your employees and help ensure that you don’t go overboard for your business finances.

Taking a cautious approach

Employees of well-established businesses are often protected through group benefit extended healthcare, which reimburses a variety of expenses, such as prescription drugs, dental, hospital and medical expenses not covered by provincial government plans. But starting with a group insurance plan that covers 100% of these things can be the wrong thing to do for a startup.

A startup should consider taking a more cautious approach, and waiting before jumping into the group benefits. Instead, consider offering some individual health insurance options for smaller groups. Often young, new employee priorities are for training, flexible work hours, job security and advancement — and they appreciate any health coverage protection. Be sure to take the time to understand what is important to your employees.

Think outside the box for options

Consider paying your employees a little more cash, and letting them get an individual policy on their own. Or, pay for the individual health insurance plans for your employees.  Both options can be a more cost effective way to provide benefits versus implementing a group plan. Plus, employees can choose the health insurance benefits they think they will need.  That is flexibility they will appreciate.

When the ‘human resource department’ is you, the owner, keeping insurance straightforward and simple is a strong business strategy from a logistical standpoint. If your company does not have investor backing, it’s important to ramp up employee compensation strategies progressively, rather than all at once. This can help you stay on budget. It’s important to know that benefits are not a flat-line cost.

And think about the changing definition of healthcare that employees expect. Beyond physical health, helping your employees balance body, mind and spirit can be vitally important to their success and yours. Using flexible working hours and focusing on high employee engagement can help build a strong working group as your business establishes itself. By empowering them to be both physically and emotionally well, they are more energetic and focused at work.

Consider your Employee Demographics

Discovering options for health insurance that work for your employee demographics is the key. You’ll have single staff, some that are married and some that have children. All will have different interests and different health insurance needs.


If your staff consists of millennials, they will love having benefits to pay for annual dental check-ups, but enhanced dental coverage may be less important. If you have hired senior-level executives who are older, they may expect features like homecare and coverage for chiropractic visits.

Position yourself as a Health Insurance Hero

When it comes to benefits, perception can sometimes matter more than reality. Clear communication about what benefits are available is very important. Help employees understand what you are willing to offer, so they can access health benefits they may not otherwise have.

Give us a call

Happy and healthy workers are more productive and miss fewer days of work due to illness. By offering preventative healthcare services you can really help your employees cope and flourish even if it‘s stressful in your startup environment. If you want to give your employees the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle, give us a call.


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