Fair and flexible

Some companies offer employees extra time off

Fair and flexible

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AON Hewitt - Best Employers in Canada
When it comes to attracting and retaining top-notch employees, rewards—pay, benefits and programs for retirement savings—are often the bottom line. After all, everyone has to pay the rent. And for many companies it’s a way of differentiating themselves from the competition. Take, for instance, Conexus, a small credit union in southern Saskatchewan. “We know Saskatchewan is a little hot in terms of the market,” says Delia Ermel, the company’s interim executive vice-president. So, she says, “we want to make sure we attract the best and brightest.” To do that, the company offers full medical insurance, a pension plan with matched contributions and annual bonuses when it meets yearly business goals. Management reviews the reward packages annually and makes minor tweaks, then keeps the staff abreast of changes through an annual update. On top of regular vacation time, Conexus offers 72 hours a year of flexible “Your-Time,” which employees can use to do whatever they want. And the company emphasizes a flexible work-life balance, giving employees time to work out of the office, get to doctors’ appointments or take care of their family. “We like to take a holistic approach to our rewards,” says Ermel. “What motivates me may be totally different than the person sitting next to me.”

Alison Konrad, a professor at the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, says that’s the right idea. “Employees are more diverse in the kinds of needs they bring to employers,” she says, “so a narrow set of benefits isn’t as effective as a broader array.” She says remaining fair and flexible is the best way to keep employees happy. Ermel says that’s exactly why her company is doing so well. “We try to stay as open-minded as we can,” she says, adding that as a result, “we’ve got a motivated and engaged workforce.”

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