Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Medavie Blue Cross was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2016):
- 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
Working for the community at Medavie Blue Cross
Running. Walking. Cycling. Preparing a meal. Planting a garden. Employees of Medavie Blue Cross will do almost anything for their communities.
"If you have a personal orientation toward helping others, it's tough to find a more compelling proposition than Medavie Blue Cross," says Greg Bambury, Medavie's Vice President of Human Resources, in Halifax.
In Moncton, N.B., nearly 50 head-office employees raised more than $1,500 for the Heart & Stroke Foundation in an hour-long Big Bike Ride in August. In Montreal, employees supporting multiple sclerosis research sold baked goods before embarking on a 150-km bike ride through Quebec. Eric Laberge, the organization's president and keen supporter of its culture of giving back, joined the journey.
As a not-for-profit organization, Medavie Blue Cross provides health, dental, travel, life and income replacement products to small and large companies in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec and to individual customers in Atlantic Canada. It also administers various provincial and federal government-sponsored health programs.
"Our shareholder is the community," says Bambury.
The organization contributes 13 per cent of its annual net income to the Medavie Health Foundation and its corporate Building Healthy Communities program to support health-related causes in the six provinces where its clients and employees live and work.
This commitment to community and health causes helps inspire the organization's more than 1,900 employees to do much more than go to work every day. Backed by its Employee Causes program, which focuses on volunteerism and team fundraising, employees receive one day a year of paid time off to volunteer.
For every 50 hours volunteered by one employee to charity, Medavie Blue Cross donates $500 to that cause. It also matches collective employee fundraising with $3,000 per employee team. Last year employees spent 1,500 hours volunteering, and those are just the hours that are tracked.
"Medavie Blue Cross really cares about making an impact in our communities," says Sylvia Atkinson, Team Leader, Case Management Services, in Toronto. In September, Atkinson and several fellow employees walked 25 kilometres through the streets of Toronto to raise money for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
The strong community focus is just one reason why Medavie Blue Cross received more than 11,000 applications for 465 available positions last year. The organization also provides employee benefits like health insurance, a defined-contribution pension plan, a computer loan program and a $150 wellness credit that employees can apply to gym memberships, running shoes, yoga classes or similar expenses. It also makes top-up payments to new parents on maternity and parental leave to 90 per cent of salary for up to six weeks and offers an optional extension of unpaid leave, as well.
Such a supportive environment encourages loyalty, while employment policies encourage employees to advance throughout the organization.
"Medavie Blue Cross encourages personal growth and development," says Atkinson. "I was given the chance to move up into a role I really enjoy, and I know my colleagues like seeing other employees promoted from within."
To employees and the community at large, Medavie Blue Cross represents the spirit of involvement. Collecting donations for a local food bank? Employees in Charlottetown hosted a feminine hygiene product drive to restock empty shelves. Supporting Centraide in Montreal? Employees joined the March of 1000 Umbrellas, raising their bright blue brollies while walking down Saint Catherine Street.
Says Bambury, who joined the organization in 2014 after 25 years as an HR professional: "You'll find more sense of purpose in one day at Medavie Blue Cross than you'll find in a thousand days at other organizations."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top 100 Employers winners, published November 9, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.