Canadian Underwriter

‘Tis the season to recognize employees for a job well done

December 12, 2017   by David Gambrill, Editor-in-Chief

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When co-workers in the office are treating you like a rock star, that’s a special type of motivation to bring your A-game to work every day.

Employee Benefit News issued its ‘Top 10 Ways Employees Want to Be Recognized’ Friday, and the list shows that workers crave positive affirmation from their peers at work.

“It doesn’t always have to come from the boss,” Nick Otto writes for EBN news. “Support and recognition from colleagues and friends can be just as important at motivating employees. Employers need to look at creating a culture of open communication and peer-to-peer recognition.”

Canadian property and casualty insurance organizations have taken the advice to heart — not only because peer-to-peer recognition creates a strong team bond, but also because it’s a means for insurance organizations to gain the upper hand in a heated competition for recruiting and retaining the industry’s best and brightest.

Some insurance organizations feature award-winning peer recognition programs, in which work colleagues motivate each other to do their best in their everyday roles.

Recognized in the list of Great Place to Work’s 2017 Best Workplaces, Capri CMW Insurance, an insurance brokerage based in B.C., developed its Rock Star peer recognition program in 2013, when internal surveys suggested that employees sought more ways to appreciate their peers’ special efforts.

Capri CMW employees are invited to nominate colleagues who go above and beyond the call of duty in promoting the five core values of the organization — Integrity and Credibility, Teamwork, Customer Service and Dedication, Fun and Enjoyment, and Entrepreneurship. The names of the nominees are entered into monthly draws for prizes; all nominees for the year enter a Christmas draw for $100 gift card.

Capri CMW has 400 employees in 14 offices across B.C. and Ontario. Those in the senior executive, management and leadership levels do not participate in the program, which is designed for ground-level employees. In one of the brokerage’s western offices, numbering 50 eligible employees, about 50 nominations are submitted annually. Rock Stars in all the brokerage’s offices receive recognition on the company-wide intranet.

“It inspires employees to recognize each other through the process,” says Amanda Manning, office associate at Capri CMW, who helped launch the Rock Star program. “We have the top-down feedback, but you don’t always get the peer-to-peer feedback. Nominations are fairly regular though the month, so people are recognizing that their colleagues are stepping up and helping either on a project, or giving up lunch hours to get work done for a client.”

Intact Insurance was recognized as Aon Best Employer in Canada in 2017, its third consecutive year of receiving the award. Intact has developed a four-level Bravo program to encourage peer-to-peer recognition. The Bravo program offers a range of options to express appreciation.

The basic level is to select an eCard from Intact’s Appreciation Hub, recognizing employees for special occasions, putting in extra time to help the team accomplish a goal, coaching a colleague, or covering someone while they’re away. The Bravo or BravoPlus awards allow employees to accumulate points to redeem a gift from the Bravo catalogue — gifts range in value from a pair of movie tickets to an iPad.

And then there is Bravissimo, a premiere recognition award presented to teams that have demonstrated core values through a project that has had a significant and lasting impact on the organization.

Winners of the Bravissimo award are invited to take part in a full-day, off-site leadership development day in Toronto, followed by an awards dinner and celebration event. At the Bravissimo awards gala, winners receive a personalized trophy directly from the CEO and 5,000 points ($500) are awarded to each winner, to be redeemed for products from the Bravo catalogue.

In 2016, nearly 40,000 eCards, Bravo and Bravo Plus awards were given to employees, in addition to the 321 employees nominated for a Bravissimo.

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