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 Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- Along with paid volunteer time for employees, Trisura employees can become members of the company's charitable donations committee that works to donate one per cent of the company's net underwriting income
- Trisura offers three weeks of paid vacation allowance to start, moving to four weeks after only three years on the job -- and helps employees get an early start to their summer weekends with early closings from Victoria Day to Labour Day (and offers early Friday closings before every long weekend during the year)
- Along with helping employees save through a matching RSP contribution program, Trisura lets everyone share in the company's success with profit-sharing and share purchase plans that are available to all employees
At Trisura, success is built on collaboration
Although he was running late for lunch one Friday, company CEO Mike George stopped to do a little something for his staff. It was a few years after he cofounded Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company in 2006, and he wanted to acknowledge the recent good work by his dozen or so staff. "This afternoon, you can all leave early," he emailed them - or so he thought.
Instead, the email went to everyone working for the partner investor backing Trisura's startup. "I didn't realize my error until I started getting thank-you emails from strangers across North America!"
George's misdirected goodwill gesture was an early winner of Toronto-based Trisura's periodic Blunder Award and one that has become legendary among the now some 130 employees in six offices across the country "At Trisura, we leave our egos at the door," says George. "We take our work seriously, but not ourselves - that's an essential part of our culture."
He adds: "The Blunder Awards demonstrate that. It's okay to make mistakes, everyone does, especially if you learn from them."
George, like everyone else, except the VP Human Resources, occupies a workstation in the middle of Trisura's office. "I love the open concept because it creates a more collaborative environment," he says. "Walls create issues; people hide behind them."
Adds George: "Too many of us spend too much time glued to our computers or devices. In an open office, people are almost forced to speak with each other. That creates collaboration, and our success is based on collaboration."
Mathew Manol, a Trisura Underwriter, Surety, also endorses the open space design. "I don't feel intimidated walking into Mike's or any other senior person's office to discuss an idea or concern," he says.
Manol, who joined Trisura after graduating from university some three years ago, is among a growing number of young people attracted to the company despite the insurance industry's overall dull image. "Lots of people think insurance is not very sexy," he says, "but nothing could be further from the truth, at least at Trisura."
Indeed, Trisura's workforce average age is in the mid-30s, well below the industry's as a whole. But to retain young people and their energy, says George, "you need to provide them with mentoring, career opportunities and meaningful work."
In the case of Manol, who started as an analyst, it has meant company support for professional development courses and ongoing education as he seeks a professional accreditation. "They really care," he says of management. "If you have the drive, you get lots of responsibility and opportunities right out of the gate."
Trisura also is generous in its financial support. There is profit-sharing and an employee share purchase plan that has attracted three-quarters of the workforce. The company also contributes to its employees' RSP plans.
Another point of pride is Trisura's full-blown support for charitable activities. All staff get two paid days of leave to devote to a cause of their own choosing or for a company-sponsored event. As well, the company donates one per cent of its net underwriting income to its charity partners.
"Giving back to our communities is another critical company value," says George. "When we hire, we look beyond skills. We want to ensure we have decent people."
For his part, Manol, who volunteers as a hockey coach for a local boys-and-girls hockey league in a downtown Toronto neighbourhood, says Trisura "hires compassionate people who care both about our clients and the community." Manol has even persuaded George to speak to his hockey team about career possibilities and contributing to the community.
Trisura also values its flexible working environment, tailored to the needs of its people. Working from home is not an issue, and if you need time off for family reasons, that's also not a problem. Says Manol: "This is a company that cares more about your well-being than rushing you back to the office."