Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 20, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Alberta Blue Cross was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2018):
- Alberta Blue Cross supports ongoing employee education with generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (up to $4,000) and nurtures high-potential employees through dedicated leadership training
- Alberta Blue Cross encourages employees to take a proactive approach to health and wellness through a number of different initiatives, including an internal wellness fair, a dedicated steering committee comprised of senior-level employees, and the recent opening of the renovated Balance Wellness Centre (with free fitness classes) -- the organization also recognizes employee efforts through a Wellness Superhero recognition
- Through Alberta Blue Cross' employee-led charity, Hearts of Blue, employees can donate funds, as well as volunteer their time to assist dozens of community-based charitable organizations
Alberta Blue Cross walks its own wellness talk
When you're working to provide innovative health solutions to an entire province, you need a few superheroes on your team. Luckily for Alberta Blue Cross, they have employees like Robert Kisteleki. He's a mild-mannered database administrator by day, but at lunch hours and after work, he's a certified "wellness superhero."
"Our Wellness team recognizes employees who go above and beyond promoting wellness, whether it's through nutrition or a fitness activity or encouraging teams just to go for a walk," says Kisteleki.
"I was fortunate to be recognized for my work as a fitness instructor. It's part of Alberta Blue Cross's commitment to wellness and work-life balance. They don't just talk about it, they live it."
Alberta Blue Cross is the province's largest benefits carrier, providing health and dental benefits to meet the needs of more than 1.7 million Albertans. The Alberta-based company offers benefit plans for individuals and families, seniors and large and small employers.
When you're in the wellness sector, you have to set an example in the workplace. Alberta Blue Cross goes that extra mile not just by promoting a healthy lifestyle, but by giving its employees the support they need to keep physically, mentally and professionally fit. The new Wellness Centre where Kisteleki teaches classes is an on-site, state-of-the-art facility with weight and cardio rooms, a studio, touch button showers and other fitness features.
"We believe it's through wellness that you're going to reach your potential as an employee," says Mark Razzolini, Vice-President, Human Resources. "If you're well, then your opportunities to do more and to succeed are exponential."
Razzolini says the company's approach to wellness is holistic. Mental wellness is supported in part by employee development with generous tuition subsidies of up to $4,000 annually as well as leadership training programs.
The wellness philosophy also extends into the communities through Alberta Blue Cross's employee-led charity, Hearts of Blue, which gave over 100 charities a total of $800,000 in assistance in 2017. Employees also get paid time to participate in "Days of Giving" events.
Razzolini says this approach not only helps to attract and retain top employees internally, it gives Alberta Blue Cross credibility outside the workplace.
"It starts with our own employees. Building a culture of excellence in health and wellness gives us credibility, especially in the industry we're in -- we're here for the health and wellness of Albertans so if we don't get it right internally, we're not as credible externally," he says.