Canadian Underwriter

How employers are incentivizing the return to the office

April 27, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

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Many in the P&C industry plan to return to work in-person, so companies may want to consider ways to incentivize their employees to return to their offices, suggests a panellist at the Insurance Institute of Canada’s Pivot with Purpose webinar.  

“[It’s] about creating opportunities,” says Trevor Buttrum, director of operations at TalentEgg. “What incentivized me to come into the office?”  

He says the industry needs to get creative to make the office somewhere that employees want to be. 

“What kinds of opportunities may be created for me that I wouldn’t have otherwise had, whether it’s access to leaders, whether it’s access to mentorship, whether it’s the opportunity to be a part of a conversation with cross-functional colleagues?” Buttrum poses.  

“Is there a wellness incentive for being there? Is there a bonus incentive for the days that I’m in the office? Do I get a commuting allowance?” 

Companies should also stress to employees they are taking the necessary COVID-19 safety measures. “The other thing that’s important to recognize here is safety. So, creating a sense of, ‘We’ve got you,’ and ‘We’ve thought about all of the implications [related to being in the office],’” Buttrum adds.  

To encourage employees to return to work, companies should make it clear why they want everyone back in the office, says Thomas Wright, vice president of specialty risk at Westland Insurance. 

“It’s a question that I hear often…‘Why are we going back?’” he poses. “It’s so important to be clear on why we’re moving back to the office.” 

Wright suggests professional development as a possible answer to the “why” question.  

“Having that dialogue one-on-one with someone to say, ‘This is why I believe you should be here. These are the benefits that I think it means for you, your future, your career.’  Instead of just saying, ‘We’re coming back three days a week,’ and that’s it.’” he says. “Tell them why we’re making that decision and be transparent about it.” 

Buttrum adds it’s important to have “pulse checks” with employees and let them weigh in on how they feel about the return to work. 

“The other thing about the return to work is, certainly, not everybody’s happy working at home,” he says. “There’s never a more important time to be gauging how people are feeling about a potential return, if they haven’t already made that journey.” 

Buttrum says a company may be able to stave off the Great Resignation if people feel like they’re being heard. However, he adds it’s alright for employees to move on if they see fit. 

“If the new normal for your organization is not a fit for that employee, it’s actually okay for them to go. It doesn’t reflect on us as leaders necessarily if an individual is choosing a different reality that fits better with who they are.”  


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