Health & well-being strategies: Raising up every voice 

Do you know which benefits matter most to your employees?

All across Canada and around the world, organizations are re-evaluating their employee benefits plans.

The pandemic only accelerated trends in total rewards. Flexible working took center stage at first. Other employee needs – such as personalized benefits and mental health support – are also in the spotlight. As a result, many organizations are making a concerted effort to evolve and adapt.

Every organization is responding at its own pace to these challenges, and it may not be easy to do so. But there are real advantages to making your workplace more inclusive and welcoming.

With our resources, you can gain valuable insights into these trends, from the rise of hybrid work to the increasing importance of digital healthcare support. As you refine your own total rewards strategy, contact a Mercer consultant to put this data to work for you.

More meaningful support

We surveyed 14,000 employees worldwide (including 1,000 in Canada), and their message to employers was clear: your support matters. In addition to salary and financial tools, employees want support in terms of their lived experiences, family situations, health and values.

To find out more about what employees want when choosing an employer, download our Health on Demand whitepaper. As you read it, consider whether your organization is taking action in all five areas of health and well-being. Are you doing everything you can to enhance your employee benefit plan?

  1. Support moments that matter
    No two employees have identical lives. Flexibility in scheduling, for example, means something different to a parent doing school pickups than it does to a single person who enjoys travelling. Finding ways to meet the unique needs of each employee can demonstrate that your organization values their well-being.
  2. Invest in mental health
    Our Health on Demand whitepaper shows that nearly one in every two surveyed employees reported feeling stressed. One in five said they experienced depression, anxiety or another mental health issue during the pandemic. Employers can step up by covering costs of mental health care, providing virtual services and facilitating time off to prevent burnout.
  3. Deliver benefits equitably
    Workplaces are becoming more diverse. That means your benefits should too, by accounting for the different needs of LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, women, immigrants and people with disabilities.
  4. Enable digital access to healthcare
    The pandemic made many Canadians more comfortable with digital health services. In fact, our survey suggests that 45% of respondents intend to use these services even more in future. Providing your employees with digital tools, such as tele-medicine and virtual counselling, makes healthcare more accessible than in-person treatment.
  5. Provide varied and valued benefits
    Expanding the range of benefits you offer acknowledges the diversity of your employees and the lives they lead. And they notice the difference: employees with access to 10 or more well-being resources are 37% less likely to move to another employer than those with access to fewer. For some employees, these benefits are tied to family planning and counseling. For others, financial well-being or flexible scheduling may better support their lifestyles. What is important is that you offer 

Putting DEI at the heart of your benefits

By now, most employers have developed DEI programs to ensure that every employee feels welcome, regardless of their background. However, the same can’t always be said about the benefits packages those same employees receive.

Reworking your benefits to be more inclusive can enhance the health and well-being of your employees. Traditional benefit plans assume a single, linear life pattern – an employee gets married, buys a house, has children and retires. Inclusive benefits, on the other hand, are based on understanding that these paths can vary based on age, gender, sexuality, race and ability.

For some organizations, providing coverage of gender affirmation treatment and workplace supports for transgender employees. For others, mental health programs are now being offered. Your organization may choose to support employees who came to Canada as refugees, with language acquisition programs.

With our whitepaper, Turning Health Risk into Value, you’ll learn a four-step process to lead the way in offering inclusive benefits:

  1. Assess gaps in current benefits
    Identify priority areas overlooked by your benefits – as well as gaps in care from public coverage.
  2. Define and uphold minimum standards
    Set a clear internal bar across the company aligned to your DEI strategy that considers employee needs, your legal risk tolerance, costs and operational resources.
  3. Design a universal strategy
    Create a three- to five-year plan with strong buy-in from senior leaders and other stakeholders to show employees that this is an organizational priority.
  4. Challenge the status quo
    Where gaps in care persist, take the issue into your own hands. Work with internal leaders to be proactive as new challenges arise.
Find out in greater detail the ways that an inclusive benefits approach can make your organization more appealing, by downloading Turning Health Risk into Value today.

By the numbers


of Canadian employees view the pandemic as having a “mostly” or “entirely” negative impact


feel their employers care about their well-being


will continue to use telemedicine


feel extremely, highly or somewhat stressed on a daily basis


worry that they can’t afford the healthcare their family needs

This is just skimming the surface. For a closer look at the data – and the types of benefits employees are asking for now – download the full Health on Demand whitepaper today.

The future of remote, hybrid and flex work

Did you know that 87% of Canadian employers are considering making hybrid work a permanent offering?

Clearly, remote and hybrid work are here to stay. These new ways of working may help organizations save on the physical space needed to run a business. At the same time, they can give employees more freedom to lead their chosen lifestyles.

Throwing the doors open to remote and hybrid work can have drawbacks, however. Building team cohesion can be more difficult, and it’s unclear whether productivity can be maintained over the long-term.

The who, what, where, when and how of remote work

Put your organization in a position to succeed by reviewing Mercer’s five dimensions of flexible working:
Want to learn more? Contact a Mercer consultant to get started on your flexible work strategy.
Related products for purchase
Related solutions
Related insights