The greatest wealth is health

Posted on January 09, 2019 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

At Medavie Blue Cross, employees are committed to the wellbeing of all Canadians. Photo submitted.

AT MEDAVIE BLUE CROSS, which has been named one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers for 2019, the company’s dedication to caring about health is on display everywhere. That’s a fact that should surprise no one, given the company’s explicit mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians, including the ones who actually work for it.

Here, at one of the country’s premier national health, dental, travel, life and disability insurance carriers, you can see the evidence of healthy and engaged employees who have access to comfortable wellness rooms and collaborative work spaces to share ideas. With locations in Moncton, Halifax, Montreal and Toronto, employing a total of 1,986 full- and part-time staff—caring for employees and clients reigns supreme, even after 75 years of continuous business.

Consider, for example, how the company’s president and senior management routinely engage with employee groups in open conversations at different office locations. At the same time, through the Growing Together video blog, the president shares business updates and internal initiatives.

Then, there are the numerous appreciation events that celebrate successes and thank employees for their hard work. In fact, each location maintains an active staff association that organizes special activities throughout the year, and the company has a long-standing holiday-season turkey lunch, served by the management team.

The organization also acknowledges employees who have reached significant length-of-service-milestones with cards signed by the president, gifts, receptions, and dinners in recognition for their dedication. Currently, the longest-serving member of staff has 47 years of service.

Most engaging, perhaps, Medavie Blue Cross communicates with employees through its annual traveling road show, an opportunity to discuss core priorities for the year and the future. In 2018, the company introduced a talk-show format with its CEO as host. This created exciting exchanges and reinforced the organization’s priorities in a casual, engaging way. Leaders shared personal stories—things employees wouldn’t necessarily know about them—creating a personal and people-centric environment.

Indeed, according to Bernard Lord, Medavie CEO, engendering a rich and rewarding workplace experience is a top priority. If his long career in both the public and private sectors has taught him anything, it’s about listening to people. This highly collaborative style tends to inform the company’s broader corporate culture. “I strive to connect with employees at all levels of the organization,” he says. “Their feedback is crucially important. We approach every person in a spirit of partnership. We’re all working together to reimagine the future of Canadian health care.”

It’s not surprising, then, to see this degree of commitment also reflected in the way the company deals with its employees on a nuts-and-bolts basis.

The company provides an enhanced health and dental benefits package along with life and disability insurance. The Be Well Feel Well program reimburses staff for wellness-related products or services with up to $150 annually. The organization also offers a corporate-matched defined-contribution pension plan, group RRSP options, and a vacation purchase program to help employees spend more time with their family and friends.

At the same time, talent management is critical. This means having the right people in the right roles—with the right values—at the right time. A part of this process involves an annual review to identify key leaders for upcoming development opportunities.

Then there is their community impact. The Medavie Health Foundation is part of the organization’s commitment to health-related outcomes in the communities where employees and clients live and work. Since late 2011, through the Foundation, Medavie has committed over $12 million to single and multi-year grant and partnership programs in support of three causes: child and youth mental health, post-traumatic stress, and type 2 diabetes. The company’s community giving program supports employee fundraising through matching and volunteerism, and holds an annual employee-led campaign for United Way.

The numbers speak for themselves. The staff turnover rate in 2017 was only 11.59 per cent. The retention rate was an impressive 94 per cent.

All of which suggests that within Medavie Blue Cross’s dynamic, engaging corporate culture beats the happy heart of a workforce committed to supporting the wellbeing of all Canadians. —sponsored content

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