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A Bridgewell case study: Customizing an appliance retailer’s employee retirement savings plan

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Appliance retailer and retirement savings plans

There are certain workplace experience and compensation hallmarks that matter to most employees. Think competitive compensation, a supportive and rewarding work environment, workplace recognition and a strong employee benefits program. When it comes to the latter, it’s often assumed that retirement savings plans are a trailing priority behind other benefits such as health and dental coverage. Recent studies beg to differ.

According to the 2021 Canadian Employer Pension Survey commissioned by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and market intelligence firm Maru/Matchbox, 83 per cent of employers said that retirement benefits are more important to attracting and retaining employees than health, dental or life insurance benefits. HOOPP data also showed that 71 per cent of Canadians would pass up a salary increase to have access to a better retirement plan.

Not surprisingly, the drive to save for retirement is most prevalent among older employees, with the same survey finding that 85 per cent of 30- to 44-year-old and 81 per cent of 45- to 59-year-old workers are concerned about saving enough for retirement. However, that sentiment was also shared by a whopping 79 per cent of 18 to 29-year-old workers. Retirement saving is top of mind even for Canadians that have four decades or more to prepare for their golden years.

It goes without saying that group retirement savings matter to workers and should be a top priority for employers aiming to attract, retain and engage qualified professionals across their industry. While all employees have access to government retirement savings platforms such as Individual Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Tax-free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security pension, these mechanisms can fall short in terms of delivering the level of financial well-being that so many employees covet as they transition out of the workplace.

They want more robust retirement savings solutions that deliver financial security and peace of mind—and company group savings plans are a key part of addressing their retirement goals.

An appliance retailer’s unique challenge

Case in point: A major Canadian appliance retailer approached the Bridgewell Financial Group Benefits team early in 2023 in search of a customizable group retirement savings platform to meet their sales employees’ compensation expectations. The company also needed to compete for top sales talent in a very dynamic sector.

Specifically, the retailer—with hundreds of employees across the country—wanted to enable its sales team members to put their annual bonuses in a tax-efficient channel directed towards a cost-effective, company-sponsored retirement savings plan. The program would eventually be made available to non-sales employees, as well.

The retailer faced high employee turnover rates and related recruitment and training costs thanks to low nationwide unemployment and fluid movement of staff between their company and major national competitors. The retailer urgently needed to boost salesperson retention rates to ensure consistent revenue growth.

A customized retirement savings solution

Leveraging sector-specific research that highlighted employee demand for more comprehensive retirement savings plans—and after benchmarking against the retirement plan offerings of Canada’s other larger appliance retailers—our team suggested a savings solution with no administration or setup costs to the business. The turnkey, voluntary plan—delivered by Bridgewell partner Common Wealth Retirement—would be managed through the retailer’s payroll platform for better tax efficiency.

Leveraging this innovative digital platform, the retailer was able to not only help employees gain access to a solution designed to help them build adequate retirement savings, but also communicated management’s willingness to listen to employee concerns and take action to enhance the company’s group benefits offering. During the platform onboarding phase, our team produced a number of webinars to promote the plan and educate employees on its benefits and ease of use. We also developed a customized enrollment process to help ensure convenient onboarding.

The initiative has helped enhance the retailer’s employer brand and has already begun to show signs of delivering the desired long-term sales recruitment and retention results the company needs to ensure sustainable business success with lower sales employee turnover.

This is just one example of many where the Bridgewell team has helped small, mid-sized and enterprise-level employers enhance their employee group benefits programs and retirement savings offerings. When data provided by organizations such as the Canadian Payroll Association shows that one in four workers spend 40 minutes of every workday focused on their personal financial situation rather than their job, and 43 per cent of Canadian workers say financial stress impacts their performance, it’s a relevant business conversation.

Put simply, when we work in close collaboration with our clients to develop innovative, customized solutions, employee wellness improves and with it, the client’s bottom-line performance.

The Bridgewell team

For assistance with your retirement savings and group benefits planning needs, contact a member of our team today.

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