Earning the ‘caring company’ designation

Giving back to the community enhances the engagement of employees, says Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie, pictured second from left with employees (from left to right) Maureen Welsman, David Kabalen and Swati Bhuchar. supplieD

Giving back to the community enhances the engagement of employees, says Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie, pictured second from left with employees (from left to right) Maureen Welsman, David Kabalen and Swati Bhuchar. supplieD

What does dedication to the health and well-being of Canadians look like? What does it mean to be a caring, accountable, responsive, innovative and community-minded company? Embracing a philosophy that includes workplace flexibility, mentorship, wellness and volunteerism programs has earned Medavie Blue Cross wide recognition for an award-winning corporate culture.

“Our core values aren’t just words in a poster on the wall,” says Bernard Lord, CEO of Medavie. “We can’t have strong finances and operational excellence without an engaged and talented workforce.”

Founded in 1943 in Nova Scotia, the private, not-for-profit organization has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Moncton. Medavie Blue Cross is a premier all-in-one carrier that provides health, dental, travel, life and disability benefits to individuals and organizations nationwide, and it administers various government-sponsored health programs on behalf of provincial and federal governments. The company covers nearly three million Canadians in all. Together with Medavie Health Services, Canada’s largest private provider of emergency medical services, the organization employs more than 6,400 Canadians in eight provinces.

Medavie Blue Cross was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures and designated as a Caring Company by Imagine Canada, which puts it among the country’s leaders in corporate philanthropy.

The recognition is gratifying, “but I don’t want us to rest on our laurels,” says Mr. Lord. “We take nothing for granted.”

While Medavie’s annual revenues have more than doubled over the last decade, the company has put in place a long-term recruitment and retention strategy. This includes employee coaching and mentoring, health and well-being programs, rewards and recognition, as well as monitoring to ensure that staff are culturally aligned to the mission of the organization.

“It’s a perpetual journey,” Mr. Lord says. “Employees stay with us not just for the paycheque. People want to come to work to do something that matters.”

The company commits an annual social dividend to the Medavie Health Foundation, which has a capital base of more than $50-million. Since late 2011, it has committed more than $13-million to programs and initiatives aimed at addressing some of the country’s most pressing physical and mental health-care challenges. Medavie’s corporate social responsibility programs include Time Equals Money, which donates $500 to a qualified not-for-profit organization where an employee volunteers at least 50 hours per year. A team-matching program provides up to $3,000 to each staff fundraising group that supports a health-related charity.

Nurturing talent and giving back to the community fosters an environment where people can be efficient and enhance the company’s bottom line, while continuously improving and supporting the changing needs of customers and clients, Mr. Lord adds. “Everything we do, every single day, is designed to improve the well-being of Canadians. That’s been at the centre of the organization for 76 years.”

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