Canadian Underwriter

How to support your P&C employees in transitioning to the new workplace

May 20, 2021   by Jason Contant

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Employers in the Canadian P&C insurance industry must shift their role to supporting employees and their families following more than a year of working from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hub International speakers said during a webinar Wednesday.

“We know that if employers take care of their employees, the employees will take care of their customers, and the customers will take care of the business. That’s how it works,” Joanne Rose, a senior benefits consultant at Hub, said during Work from Anywhere: Creating Inclusive Benefits in a Boundaryless Workplace, one of six sessions at Hub’s Resilient Summit.

With the rollout of vaccines in Canada accelerating, businesses are finally beginning to consider what a future return to the office might look like. During this time, employers should plan to create and maintain a new “virtual reality” that is personal, and they need to stay close to their employees, counselled Joanne Rose, a senior benefits consultant at Hub. What’s more, employers need to provide solutions to make these changes happen.

Hub is advising Canadian organizations on how to adapt to the shifting workplace during the pandemic.

The first step for employers is to decide what they are trying to achieve, Rose said. “And that goes back to looking at, ‘What is your purpose? Why are your employees working for you? Why will they continue to work for you?’

Joanne Rose, a senior benefits consultant and Devon Forshner, associate vice president of employee benefits at Hub International, at the brokerage’s Resilient Summit.

“If we have a ‘why’ in our work and in our personal lives, we can pretty much get through any ‘how,’” Rose said. “If a business or an individual has a committed or higher purpose that aligns with their values, then they certainly have a ‘why’ and they will succeed.”

Although many employees have been working from home successfully over the past year, employers “need to improve their employee experience in this new reality for the long-term,” Rose said.

She gave the example of a large corporation in Toronto that had 20,000 employees commute to their downtown office in the financial district. “What they discovered during this current situation [the pandemic] is that they actually only need 400 of those employees to physically be in the office,” Rose said. “So, they’ve already sold two large office towers in anticipation of that.

“That’s in less than 12 months. It’s a very radical change.”

Devon Forshner, associate vice president of employee benefits at Hub International, said organizations of any size can support their employees in this new “work-from-anywhere” approach. “Employers need to adapt more to change than ever before. It’s inevitable,” he said. “We’re now inviting people into our living and dining rooms and employers are [getting a glimpse] into what’s happening at home for their employees.”

Employers now need to be able to understand their employees’ unique situations amongst all the other decisions they have to make. And they have to update programs, such as benefits programs, that were designed and implemented 20 years ago. “The programs really need to be more reflective of the world today and the multi-generation workforce that we have,” Forshner said.


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