How Group Wealth Services can make your agriculture operation more competitive
Today’s job market is highly competitive. An employee benefits package can help set your farm or ranch apart.
By ATB Financial 6 April 2023 3 min read
The agriculture industry has drastically changed in the last 50 years. Has your employee benefits package evolved at the same pace?
That, as Jason Lorencz points out, is a major part of why offering group wealth services to farm employees can make such a difference for farmers looking to attract and retain help.
“Finding and retaining employees can be a challenge,” says Lorencz, a senior business strategist with ATB Wealth.
“The right benefits package can make a farm more competitive with their neighbour or the industry down the road that prospective employees are considering.”
Deciding on the right benefits package
And while farming is a longstanding practice with family roots, Alberta farmers today run large, complex, and sophisticated operations.
“Even family farms are huge operations now,” says Lorencz. “They require specialized skills to run, and those are getting harder to attract. There are people leaving oil and gas, for instance, who are looking for work and agriculture is a great draw.”
The right benefits package can go a long way to help employees succeed. The exact details of each package will vary by each farm’s specific circumstances, but according to Lorencz the nature of farm work in general means that generosity in investment matching is valuable.
“It’s hard, roll-up your sleeves” work,” he says. “That’s why I say you need to make sure you take care of them. Any benefits package should recognize this.
“In most industries, an employer will match 2% of an employee’s wages in their benefits plan. But we see farmers put in a little extra because of the nature of the work, usually between 3-5%. The added match can mean so much more when your family works alongside your operations.
Offering the benefit of financial wellness
Investment matching is the heart of any financial benefits plan, but extras can make all the difference in the long run, says Lorencz.
“Financial wellness goes beyond investing,” he says. “A benefits program ideally helps employees deal with day-to-day finances such as TFSAs, RRSPs and saving or investing advice.”
This is an important benefit that Lorencz and his colleagues bring to their agricultural clients. As part of ATB, they can connect farm workers with advice and expertise to tackle almost any financial hurdle.
“When we partner with an organization we’re not just a vendor,” he explains. “We want to form a relationship with them and their employees. What really sets us apart is our advice—employees get access to ATB Wealth advisors and personal bankers. Otherwise they need to go to so many places to get the help they need.”
Working with family
Working with family provides a sense of security in your operations, and the employee-family relationship can provide additional considerations. As an owner, you’ll likely be looking to balance the needs of family members who work on the farm or ranch and those who do not. For those working with you, they will all be at various stages of life in their career (starting out, career growth, family stages and retirement). A group wealth services plan can balance out of the needs of every family member regardless of their connection to the operation.
Group Wealth Services Benefits: Team Members
• Personalized, expert advice to set financial goals and build a plan to reach them
• Flexibility to tailor plans to financial needs, goals and comfort level
• The ability to watch retirement and savings plans grow automatically through payroll deductions (with options for employer matching)
• Most financial institutions will offer savings on everyday banking through employee perks, discounts and incentives
Group Wealth Services Benefits: Employer
• Engaged, growing, and thriving employees at no cost to you (unless you choose to match employee contributions)
• Dedicated support to help setup and manage your program so it meets your organization’s needs
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