Canadian Underwriter

Why these four insurers have highly engaged employees

November 18, 2018   by Jason Contant

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Four insurers with “highly engaged employees” have been recognized by commercial brokerage Aon for their efforts.

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, Intact Financial Corporation (IFC), The Co-operators and Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company were platinum award recipients of the 2019 Aon Best Employers in Canada Study (Trisura, with less than 400 employees, was among the best small and medium-sized employers in Canada).

Now in its 20th year, the study recognizes organizations that have achieved outstanding results among their Canadian counterparts for engaging employees, demonstrating effective leadership, building a performance culture and leveraging the strength of their employer brand.

“In this year’s study, we’ve found that high-engagement organizations distinguish themselves by how quickly they respond to change and how well they manage and support employees through it,” said Todd Mathers, partner and culture & engagement consulting leader with Aon in Canada.

For insurers on the list, it’s often about values, people and the culture in the organization.

“Our employees are the reason Allstate Insurance Company of Canada has been given this honour for the last seven years,” the insurer’s vice president of human resources, Adrianne Sullivan-Campeau, said Friday. “We are extremely proud that our employees recognize the commitment at all levels to creating a culture that supports our employee value proposition of opportunity, flexibility, family, diversity and community. This takes consistency over time and a congruency between what we say and how we behave.”

People and the culture they’ve built are what differentiates Trisura from others, said Cindy Grant, Trisura’s vice president of human resources. “We invest a lot of time, energy and effort into building and cultivating our team and we work hard to maintain our entrepreneurial culture.”

Trisura’s culture is based on “transparency, a philosophy of excellence, discipline, passion and a sense of urgency in everything we do,” Grant said. “These values are demonstrated from the top down and communicated frequently. They are evident in how we operate on a daily basis.”

Values are seen as a significant differentiator and top driver of employee engagement within The Co-operators, which has been on Aon’s list for 16 years, said spokesperson Michelle Robichaud. “Our employees have expressed pride in these distinct values and they feel connected to our commitment to good corporate citizenship,” Robichaud said.

For example, 92% of employees agreed that The Co-operators is a socially and environmentally responsible organization; 90% noted that the insurer “has an excellent reputation in our location community” and 86% are proud to work for the insurer.

“What makes this award so meaningful is that it’s based on what employees have to say about our company,” said Denise Thompson, vice president of human capital management at IFC. “It is very powerful when you have the entire organization working towards one purpose – to help people, businesses and society prosper in good times and be resilient in bad times.”

IFC has been recognized as a best employer at the platinum level for the fourth year running. Thompson said to recognize the impact employees make every day, “we commit to never compromise on our values of integrity and respect, support employees in their career and growth, surround them with inspiring teams, and offer a financial rewards program that recognizes their success.”

The insurers also shared some human resources best practices. “One of the most important things we nurture is a culture of continuous feedback,” Sullivan-Campeau said. “We get employee sentiment in many ways: through anonymous online survey, employee town halls, coffee meetings with our CEO, and manager-once-removed meetings, where employees sit down their manager’s manager to discuss how to make the workplace better.”

Intact also holds regional town halls, as well as monthly employee webcasts and quarterly webcasts for managers. The monthly employee webcast, for example, allows employees to interact with their CEO and other senior leaders, post questions via a crowdsourcing platform and vote on the top questions that are most important to them, Thompson said. These questions are then answered by the executive during the webcast. Employees also provide feedback on what’s important, which is analyzed. Focus groups help support the development of action plans and pulse surveys measure progress.

At Trisura, every 12 to 24 months, each line of business brings all team members from across Canada to learn, share and discuss recent trends, business strategy and product updates. “This is an opportunity to ensure that the team is collectively on the same page, working towards the same goals,” Grant said. “Each meeting allows for an exchange of ideas, while solidifying relationships between employees, managers and leaders.”

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1 Comment » for Why these four insurers have highly engaged employees
  1. Anonymous due to fear of reprisal says:

    The study would be more credible had the employees completed the survey at home. The work computers are monitored. I’ve been an employee at one of the aforementioned companies and I can promise you neither I or much of the current staff are/were happy in the poisoned culture. Glassdoor has a more honest portrayal of what’s going on inside. These studies need to be taken with a pallet of salt.

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