The Sanofi Healthcare Survey – Key Resource for Plan Sponsors

The Sanofi Healthcare Survey – Key Resource for Plan Sponsors

I was very excited to attend the 22nd edition of the Sanofi Healthcare Survey presentation in Vancouver. I am a longtime fan of the survey since 1997 and watched it evolve from a smaller paper-based survey of employees’ perception of their health plans to an online opinion survey that now reaches 1,500 employees and over 400 employers annually. What particularly intrigued me was the idea of tracking employee opinions through varying economic periods and the changing needs of a multi-generational workforce. I was very proud to be asked to join the Sanofi Advisory Board in 2008 and I have been an active member ever since.

The annual Sanofi survey report helps organizations understand how employees perceive their group benefit plans and identifies knowledge gaps that plan sponsors should consider during their group benefit planning process. It also addresses the important questions of why employees and employers think differently based on survey responses as interpreted by the National Advisory Board. In my mind, it’s the best roadmap we have for planning and ensuring the investment in health benefits is achieving an organization’s objectives.

During a recent meeting, someone asked me why I have been a strong advocate of the annual survey and the work of the Advisory Board. For anyone reading the Sanofi Healthcare Survey for the first time who is unsure about the value of this, I offer the following considerations.

  • The survey is an example of how all industry stakeholders can work together. The Board is comprised of a wide cross-section of well-known and knowledgeable individuals representing insurers, plan sponsors, advisors and health industry stakeholders from across Canada. Each individual brings extensive experience and a different perspective that provide a complete spectrum of expert opinions.
  • The survey report provides practical advice and planning tools that can be incorporated into benefit planning and total reward strategies. Every year the Board works diligently to distill ideas into key action steps and deliverables based on the findings. This sounds like an easy task, however, when you consider the amount of survey data, historical reference points and in-depth board discussion around each of the survey’s 100 questions, arriving at the top 5 priorities is very daunting. The results are a clear direction for plan sponsors with many alternatives and tools at your disposal to improve employee retention and attraction objectives.
  • The survey findings also act as a “barometer” for how Canadians view their benefits plans and identify the gaps in perception between employees and employers. The results are often surprising and reflect the need to develop better communications, and engage employees proactively about how their benefit plan meets their needs. It takes a conscious effort to align the organization’s benefit plan objectives with employee expectations.
  • The survey report helps readers understand important environmental issues and trends which will likely impact benefit plan designs. Awareness of issues such as national pharmacare, biosimilars, medical cannabis, pharmacogenomic testing, virtual health care and wellness strategies will help define future organizational needs and an effective HR strategy.
  • Each year the survey underscores the value of developing a group benefits strategy that has a clear vision of your desired direction and destination. I refer to this as a “group benefit philosophy” which is really the way your organization thinks about benefits and the needs of your employees as a whole. Establishing a philosophy and reviewing it regularly, will help employers focus on initiatives that matter most, align define contributions plan priorities to best practices and help make sound strategic decisions regarding plan design investment and plan member experience.

I believe the annual Sanofi Healthcare Survey is the best report of its kind in Canada and that all benefit plan sponsors need to have this information available to assist the benefits planning process. (https://www.sanofi.ca/en/about-us/sanofi-canada-healthcare-survey).

As the 22nd edition of the Sanofi Healthcare presentation winds down for another year I would like to thank Sanofi for their continued support of this valuable research. I am proud to continue to serve on the Sanofi Advisory Board and look forward to being a part of this leading-edge research on employee benefit plans in Canada in the future.

Each organization’s needs are unique and warrant a customized solution. We would be pleased to discuss your specific situation with you to identify the best strategy with respect to your employee benefits program. Should you have any questions on the above, please don’t hesitate to contact me or a member of our team.

At ZLC Financial we are one of the fastest growing employee benefits advisors in Western Canada and we are fortunate to have the best people, resources and clients. We provide value to you by leveraging one of the most skilled benefits teams – collectively almost 300 years of experience within our team of 16 employee benefits specialists. We have been working with businesses ranging from 3 to over 70,000 plan members for over 30 years. Visit our Employee Benefits Page to learn more about our benefits plans.

By John McGrath

This information is designed to educate and inform you of strategies and products currently available. As each individual’s circumstances differ, it is important to review the suitability of these concepts for your particular needs with a qualified advisor.

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