Benefits can make or break any hiring decision: WFG


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October 16, 2014 11:09 AM

Heavy competition means employers have to set themselves apart

The day of the door-to-door insurance salesman is over, and if a solution to the ever shirking small business insurance salesperson isn’t fixed, a major problem could be faced, according to the Western Financial Group (WFG).

Shirley Parchoma, regional director of Saskatchewan for the WFG, said that the small businesses, particularly in the insurance industry, are facing a stigma of what the job actually is.

“People assuming that insurance is door to door sales,” Parchoma said. “A lot of people don’t choose to be in the insurance industry, but they fall into it.”

With the aging population and the baby-boomers readying for retirement, she estimates that insurance firms will be in severe need for insurance sales people in Canada over the next couple of years.

“We need to be both promoting our company and recruit at the same time,” said Parchoma. “When we are going out to colleges and promoting the insurance industry, we have to promote the industry, not just the firm.”

With the Western Financial Group in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Parchoma says that she is seeing this issue of the shrinking workforce effect insurance industries in all of the provinces.

“The issue is coming up more often in Saskatchewan and Alberta than the other provinces,” she added.

“One of the biggest hinders that we have, and I’m going to use Alberta and Lloydminster specifically, is that we have an oil industry that pays much more than the insurance industry does.

“When younger generations are not going into the post-secondary education, but instead choosing to go into the oilpatch, the recruitment becomes harder.”

She added that new oilfield workers can make much more than someone entering into the insurance field.

“In Saskatchewan, what I’m noticing is, the trends in high school students are going into post secondary for the more professional careers.”

The ability to attract and retain top talent in the Lloydminster area can make or break an insurance company as well, according to Parchoma.

“Someone who is well versed in the industry, who knows the industry are an asset to most insurance companies right now.”

Attracting new workers to insurance companies not only in Lloydminster but the surrounding area can be somewhat challenging, but Parchoma said that having a good benefit package goes along way.

For small insurance firms, and even small businesses, who might find it hard to afford those types of benefit packages, Parchoma said that partner- ing with insurance firms that deal directly in benefits can be beneficial to both parties.

“Partnering with those other insurance firms can be beneficial to craft an benefits package for your own small business, and can be beneficial to all those involved,” she said.

A recent study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found 77 per cent of Saskatchewanians are more likely to say that extended health and dental coverage is very important when mulling over a potential job.

Although benefit packages can lead to further costs when workers start making use of their policies, small businesses are starting to mitigate additional expenses by taking certain measures.

“For instance, 80 per cent of employee claims come from prescriptions, but you can reduce the cost by using dispensers with lower fees and allowing for the use of generic prescriptions,” Jeannine Chuckvar, with Western Financial Group, said.

“Employee benefit packages are an effective way to stand out in a crowded hiring market.”

Western Financial Group conducted a national study which found more than 60 per cent of Canadians say that benefits are vital when looking for a new position, ranking only behind salary.

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