Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Medavie Blue Cross was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2016):
- In addition to providing paid volunteer time and offering financial contributions to those organizations where employees volunteer ($500 for every 50 hours), Medavie Blue Cross commits more than 10% of its annual net income to charitable and community giving, including through the "Medavie Health Foundation"
- 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 an option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- employees can also take advantage of a variety of alternative work arrangements to help them transition to their new role as parents
- Medavie Blue Cross encourages ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses, subsidies for professional accreditation and financial bonuses for some course completions
Medavie Blue Cross reinvests in communities
Medavie Blue Cross has an unconventional approach to business: It measures its wealth in terms of people, not just profits. In fact, Canada's fourth-largest provider of individual and group insurance products officially operates as a not-for-profit, and believes deeply in investing in the communities where it does business.
"There's a long-term view to growing the bottom line, with an emphasis on doing what's right for the organization - to the benefit of employees, client service and our communities," says Eric Laberge, President, Medavie Blue Cross. "Striking that balance resonates with our people because, as a health-care company, we're only as strong as our employees."
After working 22 years for two leading corporate consulting firms, Laberge joined Medavie Blue Cross in December 2012. But instead of remaking it as a strictly market-driven company, he embraced its community-oriented culture and is building on it.
The company contributes in a variety of ways. Ten per cent of profits go every year to the Medavie Health Foundation, which supports programs related to child and youth mental health and type 2 diabetes. Medavie Blue Cross is a key sponsor of the annual MS Bike event for multiple sclerosis in Quebec, and a major supporter of the United Way.
When employees volunteer with a charity for 50 hours or more, Medavie Blue Cross donates $500 to that organization. It also matches donations up to $3,000 when staff members team up to raise funds for a charity.
For Derek Orsini, Account Executive, Group Sales, in the company's Toronto office, the opportunity to help others makes the job more meaningful. "It's important to give back to the community because we're very lucky to live in Canada," he says. "Obviously you want to make a profit, but everything shouldn't be based on the bottom line, so sharing back with the community is important."
Orsini, who joined Medavie Blue Cross about 10 years ago after working for two larger insurance companies, says he also enjoys the company's smaller size and the family feeling that creates. Employees typically feel a stronger sense of job security and loyalty, he adds. The company still supports an annual holiday party - an increasing rarity in corporate Canada - and most locations enjoy a turkey lunch at Christmas. "It feels like we have really strong relationships with all departments," he observes. "There's a very strong team environment, and it trickles down to better service for clients."
To enhance its family-friendly atmosphere, Medavie Blue Cross supports new parents with maternity and parental leave top-up payments to 90 per cent of salary for up to six weeks, and offers parents the option of extending their leave with an unpaid leave of absence. Employees can take advantage of flexible work arrangements to help them transition to their new role as parents. And a new vacation-purchase program gives eligible staff the opportunity to buy extra holiday time through payroll deductions to spend more time with family and friends.
At the same time, the company's strong growth offers exciting challenges and opportunities for development, says Orsini. Medavie Blue Cross encourages professional growth through tuition subsidies for job-related courses and subsidies for professional accreditation. More than 200 employees have gone through its recently introduced Leadership Summit program, and the company tries to promote from within whenever possible.
As president, Laberge says he's trying to create a collaborative culture by continuing to break down barriers between departments, increasing the pace of decision-making and improving communications with managers, team leaders and employees.