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 Kanetix Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Kanetix helps employees save for the future with matching RSP contributions and manages a generous year-end bonus program that's available to all employees
- Kanetix employees enjoy a fun social calendar throughout the year, from the annual "Festivus" holiday party to departmental events such as go-karting and axe throwing -- employees also receive their birthday off every year
Kanetix looks to be 'super-smart' about insurance tech
If you like good benefits, it's hard to imagine you'll get a better health and insurance plan in a medium-sized company than you do at Kanetix Ltd. That's because helping people choose insurance and financial products is what Kanetix is all about. But benefits are only a small part of the attractions at this 19-year-old Toronto-based technology firm.
"One of the key things I care about is the employee experience," says President and CEO Andrew Lo. "I want to make sure it is meaningful, exciting, full of opportunity and that employees have the ability to explore. We pride ourselves on being innovative and super-smart."
Kanetix is, as Lo calls it, "the Expedia of insurance and financial services." Its websites offer users sophisticated comparison shopping for a wide variety of types of insurance and personal finance products in Canada, including car, home, travel, life, health and even pet policies, plus credit cards and mortgages. The company also builds technology and develops digital marketing programs for major corporate clients in the insurance industry. Or to put it another way: "We are Canada's largest digital customer acquisition platform for insurance and financial services companies," says Lo.
This means the company employs a lot of software developers and a lot of insurance experts as well as a range of corporate functions, notably in digital marketing, among its 140 staff members. "Insurance knowledge is not a requirement," Lo says. "The requirement is a passion for learning and growing and experimenting."
And having fun. "We do a lot of events," he says. "We hold our Christmas party in February, to get it away from the December period, and we call it Festivus." Some departmental team-building events have included go-karting and axe-throwing, and there are annual hackathons to generate new business ideas.
Alongside his gender-balanced leadership team, Lo holds a monthly meeting for all employees, making use of a 100-inch screen in the open-plan office as he updates the company's plans, gives out kudos and celebrates work anniversaries. A games area and in-office yoga classes and massage services help employees relax, and people get their birthdays off.
The recently updated health plan is all-digital, using an instant-reimbursement claims app plus cards for prescriptions and travel, and includes flexible coverage for dental, vision and services like massage therapy. "We're a digital company so we wanted a fully digital benefits package," says Lo.
Lydia Ku, Marketing Campaign Manager, likes the benefits, but she especially likes the culture at Kanetix. "Even though it has been around since 1999, we're more like a start-up culture," she says. "The company doesn't put much emphasis on hierarchy. We encourage ideas, and there are no bad questions and no bad answers. We all get together and brainstorm. Everyone matters."
Ku joined Kanetix in May, 2016 as a social media specialist and has been promoted twice since. She has found a lot of support for employees to try new things. "Not everything we put out will work, but they're not afraid of me failing, as long as you learn from it," she says. "We don't say 'no' a lot, because we want to encourage innovation and creativity."
She, too, points to the regular events at Kanetix, including a Friday social and free lunches on certain days. Ku has also done well in the hackathons, which last 24 hours and pairs people from various different departments. One winning solution she worked on updated a tool that allows the public to punch in their postal code to see whether they pay too much for insurance. "It gave us a lot of coverage on the PR side," she says.
Ku says she is very proud of how she has been able to develop professionally at Kanetix in a short time. "Upper management puts a lot of resources into career development," she says. "They really care about what I want to do, and they will help me grow into the person I want to be."