Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- GroupHEALTH Global Benefit Solutions can unwind in an employee lounge that features comfortable seating, television, video games, table tennis and regular deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as occasional treats such as ice cream, popcorn, popsicles and cake
- As part of their flexible health benefits plan, employees at GroupHEALTH Global Benefit Solutions receive a generous health spending account (to $500 for most employees) and a generous fitness subsidy (to $1,350)
GroupHEALTH offers challenging work -- and fun
When it comes to building a positive workplace, GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions CEO Matt Houghton believes that time is just as important a currency as money. "It doesn't make sense to work somewhere you don't like for five days a week just so you can enjoy the other two," he says. "That's why our biggest priority is to hire the right people for the right job -- and then make sure they enjoy what they are doing."
At Surrey-based GroupHEALTH, this is done through a vigorous screening program for potential employees, beginning with a very detailed job posting that lets applicants know exactly what the position is about and what success would look like for them three, six and 12 months down the road. Several rounds of interviews ensue, with a strong focus on whether or not the applicant is a good fit for GroupHEALTH's collaborative, informal and challenging workplace culture.
Technical skills and experience are certainly important, says Houghton, but it's even more critical that employees are able to live the company's core values.
"One of those values is 'play nice or leave'," he adds. "We really do look for people who are team-oriented, have respect for their fellow human beings and want to have a great work environment."
Other values include 'do what's right' (even if it costs the company money, do the principled thing); 'think hard, work smart' (find innovative ways to do the task at hand more efficiently); and 'have fun and laugh lots' (even on the toughest days, a sense of humour goes a long way).
GroupHEALTH is an innovative provider of employee group benefits and sees itself as a creative "disruptor" in a very staid insurance industry. By creating new software solutions and developing innovative benefit products, the company works with clients to make sure they can continue to afford to provide employees with first-rate benefits. The focus is on managing costs and claims -- the two root causes of spiralling benefit expenses.
GroupHEALTH is also on an aggressive growth path; Houghton says the company has grown by 250 per cent over the past five years alone.
That makes for a fast-paced workplace, with plenty of opportunity for career growth in both the Surrey, B.C. and Barrie, Ontario offices. To provide work-life balance, the company gives employees every second Friday off -- 26 long weekends every year. It also organizes and subsidizes fitness programs and trainers, brings fresh fruit into the office every day and makes a point each month of celebrating employee birthdays.
Ferdinand Espedido joined GroupHEALTH as an IT Project Manager five years ago. He was impressed that the company wanted to shake up the insurance industry through the use of innovative software applications and techniques. But he was also taken with the people who recruited him, whom he describes as "relaxed, casual and calm."
Espedido says GroupHEALTH meets his needs on multiple levels. "I want to be challenged and constantly learning and I get that here. But I also appreciate that this is a company that is open and not afraid to do new things to help employees manage stress levels while still being productive and hitting aggressive growth targets."
He cites the "Happy Friday" program as a key example. "I look forward to that every second Friday off; it's really my time. I didn't realize how that would really help me in what can be a fast-paced environment."
Espedido also takes advantage of company-sponsored "fitness boot camp" sessions that take place at a nearby gym twice a week after work. "I've been doing that for a year and I feel really great about where I am physically. And that translates into my overall well-being."
He believes the company has done a good job in keeping true to its values even during a period of rapid growth.
"People here take pride in their work and then they own it. Everyone feels like they can make a difference."