Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Medavie Blue Cross was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2017):
- Medavie Blue Cross encourages employees to balance work and their personal lives through a number of flexible work arrangements and recently introduced a vacation purchase program to help employees find a little more time
- Medavie Blue Cross supports employees who are new parents with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 90% of salary for up to 6 weeks) and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Medavie Blue Cross commits an annual social dividend to the Medavie Health Foundation to support community-based programs -- and encourages employees to give back to local communities by providing paid time off to volunteer and financial donations to organizations where employees volunteer their time ($500 for every 50 hours)
Medavie Blue Cross invests in building healthier lives
Soon after he joined Medavie Blue Cross eight years ago, Jeff Bremner experienced first-hand what is so special about this not-for-profit benefits provider and administrator of health-related, life and long-term disability insurance products. Knowing about Medavie's reputation as a congenial workplace, Bremner expected a warm welcome as a rookie account executive. However, he was surprised by how warm.
"Early on, I joined two other long-standing account executives for a routine business review," Bremner recalls. "They suggested some brokers and consultants they felt would be a good fit for me and transferred those accounts to me, despite the impact it would have on their own incomes.
"I was surprised. In my previous position with a competitor, the account executives were very territorial. But at Medavie Blue Cross, we look out for each other and do what's in the organization's best interest."
Now Sales Manager for Medavie's Toronto office, Bremner says taking less for the greater good is part of the corporate culture. "When we are adding new people, determining the client alignment is a collaborative process," he adds. "We are all prepared to give something up for the greater good. Everyone here roots for everyone else's success."
Medavie Blue Cross President Eric Laberge also noted the caring attitude and generosity he found when he joined the company five years ago after more than two decades in the private sector. "Here, we leave our egos in the hallway," Laberge says. "It's common for people to make suggestions for improving how we operate that may not fit in with their immediate personal interests. Bottom line: we all want to do what is best for the company and our clients."
Laberge believes strongly in transparency and openness. There are monthly employee information videos and regular executive road shows to inform staff of how Medavie is performing and their role in ensuring its success. "We think of it like building a house," he says, "and everyone needs to understand what bricks they need to bring along."
Being a not-for-profit, Medavie can take a long-term view. "We don't have to worry about shareholders and quarterly results," Laberge says. "We can concentrate on helping Canadians live healthier lives."
Nevertheless, Medavie Blue Cross, with its head office in Moncton, N.B. and a strong presence in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada, is profitable. Most of the returns are reinvested in the company and its people, and an annual social dividend is invested in the Medavie Health Foundation that supports three core causes: child and youth mental health, Type 2 diabetes, and post-traumatic stress disorder. "Giving back in this way demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of Canadians," says Laberge.
Medavie also encourages its employees to support their communities in other ways. They can get time off for charitable activities, and the company will donate $500 to any charity where an employee has volunteered 50 or more hours.
Work-life balance is also valued. Laberge personally reviews the more than 100 pages of employee suggestions that emerge from the company's annual engagement survey. One that just saw the light of day was the option of purchasing an additional week's vacation, spreading the cost over the year. More than one-quarter of the employees have taken advantage of this opportunity.
A comprehensive employee recognition program is another way to demonstrate appreciation for staff efforts and boost morale. A few years back, Bremner was surprised when he received a personal letter from Laberge congratulating him on winning a Value Champion citation for "anticipating and responding to customer needs," one of five award categories. A fellow employee had nominated him without his knowledge.
"Everyone wants to feel that their efforts are recognized," Bremner says. "There's a real sense of pride when you're nominated by a colleague. But even better was nominating someone else and seeing their reaction when they won."
Just another example of Medavie Blue Cross's caring culture.