Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Humania Assurance Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- Humania Assurance encourages employees to adopt an ownership mentality with a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and offers referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to recruit friends (up to $1,500 per successful hire)
- As part of the company's health benefits plan, Humania Assurance offers a generous health spending account of up to $800 per year, allowing employees to customize coverage to suit their personal needs
- Humania Assurance keeps employees connected and up to date through a company newsletter and themed town hall meetings each quarter, featuring sugar shack, barbecue and ice cream themes recently
Communication is a priority at Humania Assurance
When Louise Crawford had a good idea about creating a spot in the office that remote workers could reserve ahead before coming in to Humania Assurance, she submitted it through the company's weekly online employee survey. Her director responded the same day and within two weeks, Crawford's idea became a reality - no more wondering where to sit.
"Communication is very strong here," says Crawford, a Claims Analyst for Disability Benefits at the firm's headquarters in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que. "The upper management really hears us and takes our opinions and suggestions seriously. If it's something they can do, they do it."
Crawford appreciates that the company listens to what people would like to have as well as making sure programs are truly aligned with what the employees want, not necessarily what the company wants.
"The employees and upper management are very close," says Crawford. "The president and vice presidents know who we are. They do the maximum to keep employees happy."
President and CEO Stéphane Rochon says the frequent Officevibe surveys help evaluate the engagement, mood and overall satisfaction of employees quickly. He personally reads every comment, ensuring there's a follow up by a manager to any request or question so that the person has a timely response and interaction.
"This is something that allows us to put the employee at the centre of our culture and react in an agile way," says Rochon. "It's an interesting way to manage in real time. We used to do a survey once a year but now we can see if there are problems right away. Then we can decide if it needs an action from HR, management, the VP or myself."
Communication has become increasingly important to Humania since the company started a change towards a full digital approach a few years ago. The digital transformation is allowing the small firm to expand its clientele and be more competitive with bigger companies.
"People had to know why we made that decision and to continue reporting on our progress," says Rochon. "So we began to communicate more about the vision, the mission and the projects that are happening. Every two months or so we have a town hall where we go over the projects and achievements of every department so everyone has a better understanding of what the organization is trying to achieve."
Humania's award-winning Dragons project, started in 2017, further encourages workplace communication and engagement in an innovative way. Employees submit ideas for improving work processes or the workplace in general and then present their case to Humania's top management. Five or six of the best ideas are chosen from about 20 presentations every year.
"It's important for us to stimulate innovation from the bottom up," says Isabel Portelance, Assistant Vice-President, Human Resources. "The employees come up with initiatives in areas such as health and wellness or green committees. Those projects are implemented on their own initiative and they manage those committees themselves."
"The Dragons project illustrates our culture perfectly," adds Rochon. "Employees have to identify the problem, the different solution, the ROI [return on investment] and implementation. The ROI might not necessarily be financial, but could be an ROI on wellness or greenness. They have to determine what it costs versus what it gives to the organization."
Rochon says one of the best employee ideas to come out of the Dragons project was the creation of a training room for fitness instead of the traditional gym that you'd find in most businesses. The difference is most classes are led by employees.
"On one day, you might have the head of the call centre becoming the yoga master and a computer programmer as our kick-boxing trainer," says Rochon. "The approach is very inclusive. It creates a different mindset and engagement rather than having someone external, but if we need outside expertise, we'll do that too. It builds a camaraderie among the staff."