Genetic testing is a growing benefits trend among organizations who employ specialized talent, or intent on promoting a competitive benefits program.

While the addition of genetic testing offers an opportunity to strengthen and compliment a robust health and wellness program, plan sponsors and company leaders will need to consider and examine the legal and human rights implications entailed. Is your organization prepared for this growing trend?

Benefits Canada interviews Suzi Beckett, COO and Health and Benefits Consultant, Northern Star Benefit Consultants Ltd.

Click image below to read Benefits Canada article (Rolfe, Kelsey. June 5, 2019)

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Updated: Mar 26, 2019

Boots filled with tulips in the snow

Across the years, I’ve celebrated the first day of spring gazing up at the cherry blossoms in Vancouver, enjoying the early ice thaw in Toronto, or standing in the deep snow drifts of Winnipeg. More than January 1st, or the first day of school, the first days of spring have filled me with renewed motivation, purpose, and hope.

For some Canadians however, the sense of spring is fleeting and external. While skies may slowly brighten, for 1 in 5 Canadians the days may be filled with a sense darkness (CMHA). The Canadian Community Health Survey on Mental Health reports almost 12 per cent of the adult population has expressed a need for counseling or therapy in the past year to treat mental health conditions.

Mobility, technology, and social trends have changed our sense of community – inside and outside of the workplace. Numerous academic and medical studies identify loneliness (the feeling of being isolated and disconnected from our social network and environment) as a real barrier to physical, mental, and emotional health.

Employee engagement is an important measurement of workplace health, but have you tried the latest trends to forge workplace community? Leading companies are finding innovative and inspiring ways to promote a collective culture of health and team well being:

  • Institute or enhance your EAP Program. Need to evaluate the return of your EAP program, or assess the financial impact of adding one? Use our simple and effective EAP ROI Calculator to quantify the true cost of an EAP program and financial effect on productivity. Results not as high as you would like? Consider a tiered and multidimensional communication strategy.

  • Implement a different kind of “Pay for Performance.” Tying a corporate defined wellness spending account to your employee culture, and to promote individual and team fitness is more cost effective and prescriptive than a broad health spending account.

  • Have a staff kitchen available? Consider offering a cross-departmental team snack class – creating healthy meals together increases team bonding, while reinforcing workplace health.

  • Promote paramedical service lunch and learns. While employees may be accessing your group plan massage and physiotherapy, other practitioners’ services included in your group benefits policy may offer alternative avenues to increase mental health benefits. Ask an occupational therapist, or registered dietician to provide a team demonstration of typical services.

  • Does your company depend on, or accommodate remote workers? Have you measured the relationship of this model to your workplace health objectives? Implementing a weekly or quarterly “in-the-office-day” increases engagement, and reinforces the value of social work connections

As the weather warms and the flowers bloom, let’s all work together to help each other find the spring in our step, our health, and our work environments.


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