Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Saskatchewan Blue Cross was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017):
- Saskatchewan Blue Cross supports ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies (to $2,000 annually) for courses related and indirectly related to their current position
- Saskatchewan Blue Cross encourages employees to keep fit with free membership to an onsite fitness facility which features instructor-led classes including yoga, Piloxing and barre fitness classes
- Saskatchewan Blue Cross helps employees plan for a secure future with a defined contribution pension plan and a health benefits plan that extends into retirement (with no age limit)
Clients are neighbours at Saskatchewan Blue Cross
When Michael Carss graduated from the University of Saskatchewan nearly a decade ago, he went looking for an ideal employer rather than an ideal job. "I wanted to join a reputable company that was committed to the community and offered me a chance to grow," recalls Carss. It didn't take him long to focus on Saskatchewan Blue Cross. "This is a place that really cares about their employees and the province it serves," he says.
Carss started in a sales-support position, was promoted twice and now is an Employee Benefits Specialist. When Carss needed advice or a mentor, he felt free to walk into any executive's office, including the CEO's. When he needed a specialist insurance licence to advance to the next level, the company paid for the training and licensing.
Noting that others from his graduating class have changed employers several times to further their professional development, Carss says: "This is a great place for starting and building a career. There is endless opportunity."
And should people leave, President and CEO Arnie Arnott sees that as an opportunity. "We want them to become our next best customer," he says.
However, lots stay. Arnott is proud that the Saskatoon-based insurer's workforce is comprised of baby boomers, millennials and Generation Xers, with some employees on the job for four decades. "To retain people, we have to recognize and accommodate their needs," he says.
To that end, the company offers a shortened workweek, flexible work schedules and a recently expanded downtown office building that features an open-concept design and a fitness centre with free membership for all employees. "Since we are dedicated to improving the well-being and health of Saskatchewan residents, the best place to start is with your own team," Arnott says. "It is who we are."
The company also offers annual bonuses tied to both individual and corporate performance, tuition support of up to $2,000 annually, and a $300 wellness benefit that can be used for a wide range of equipment and activities from hockey registration to cooking classes.
Corporate community support is demonstrated by total donations of more than $1 million annually to a variety of charities. The company also matches all employee United Way contributions. "With only one million people in the province, we serve our neighbours," says Arnott. "We better get it right."