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Executive planning: the best insurance to retain business leaders

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executive planning

Unemployment is low and employee turnover is higher than in recent memory as many Canadian executives explore new career options in the wake of the pandemic. That’s why this could be the perfect opportunity for your organization to recruit senior-level staffers with the help of effective executive planning strategies.

Satisfying the workplace expectations of executive-level employees is a focus for any business that relies on top talent to achieve key performance indicators and drive bottom-line growth. Executive planning is a process that helps ensure the long-term success of the organization by developing customized benefits and total compensation programs that are designed to engage and retain managers.

In that sense, executive planning is also a risk-mitigation tool that delivers stability and financial wellness to leaders and organizations by allowing them to focus on their work and plan for the future. That peace of mind also helps to enhance shareholder value, sets the stage for organized business succession and could even help position the organization for a potentially lucrative sale or merger.

What does executive planning involve?

On top of the items that are typically included in all employee benefits packages, executive benefits often include extra perks—from generous health spending accounts to enhanced medical and diagnostics—which are usually in the form of non-cash privileges and incentives. Those packages are built as part of the executive planning process, which also typically includes the necessary insurance, regular compensation reviews and legal structuring (think documentation such as shareholder agreements) that make employment with your organization as appealing as possible to current or prospective leadership team members.

Of course, there are various types of executive benefits plans and each comes with its own approach for rewarding an executive or top-tier employee, depending on your objectives as a business owner/operator. Ultimately, executive benefits and compensation are tied to the degree of expertise that a key individual brings to the table and should reflect their value to the business.

Common types of executive benefits and solutions include:

  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Enhanced Income Protection Insurance
  • Health and Wellness Spending
  • Retirement Compensation Arrangements
  • Executive concierge medical services with access to global medical care

Why executive planning matters

As we emerge from COVID-19, overworked, over-stressed executives may be actively seeking new opportunities. Smart executive planning could discourage them from leaving.

A recent Deloitte study revealed that around 70 per cent of high-level executives are seriously considering quitting their jobs, largely out of concern for their overall health and well-being. Fifty-seven percent said they were fed up enough to quit altogether.

The cost of executive-level turnover can be staggering—sometimes as much as three times the individual’s salary in severance, outstanding bonuses, operational downtime and the cost to recruit their successor. At times the costs are much higher if the executive’s skills are irreplaceable or if they have ownership over important business relationships. That’s assuming the individual leaves for another organization. If their exit is due to an untimely death or catastrophic disability, the impact on your organization can be swift if there’s no time to prepare for their absence.

Assessing your executive planning strategy—What to consider

Fortunately, retaining senior-level employees doesn’t have to be difficult. There are several ways that organizations of any size can attract and retain employees that are integral to the success of the business.

Assess your current executive planning strategies by asking yourself these questions:

  • How do we want to attract, reward, and retain our key executives?
  • Is our retention plan compelling enough to keep them in place?
  • Are we working to motivate our current management team as we actively look to recruit the next generation of leadership?
  • Do we understand what total compensation means to our leaders—and what they value most?

While motivating and retaining skilled executive employees with a well-defined group benefits and total compensation strategy is important, remember there are several complementary tactics to engage key leadership talent once a proper executive planning framework is in place:

  • Providing a career-development program to ensure that top performers have a path to promotion, and see themselves as a part of your leadership team over the long term
  • Implementing an executive recognition framework—extending beyond monetary or bonus-related compensation—that acknowledges the outstanding work and personal sacrifice that leaders commit to the success of the organization
  • Keeping executives aware of developments across the business, along with longer-term growth strategies (if they weren’t involved in setting those strategies in the first place), through constant communication. A steady flow of information can help rally leaders behind an operational plan and reassure them when times are tough

A first step is understanding that executive-level compensation programs take time to build and should be aligned with your organization’s strategic goals. Don’t miss the opportunity to make executive planning a priority for your leadership and human resources teams.

The Bridgewell Team

To learn more about our executive benefit packages, contact a member of our team today.

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