Navigating a Dynamic Workplace

Miki Paczek, Director of Sales & Distribution, The Commonwell

Trying to figure out the new normal for your team is a complex topic. Companies large and small are wrestling with what the best model is for their business. It becomes an even more challenging topic when you layer in the crucial question, how do you attract and retain great talent?

One of the most challenging questions is around remote work. In a recent study published by Marie-Josee Le Blanc, Partner and Health Innovation Leader at Mercer Marsh Benefits Canada, she writes, “It’s never been more urgent to tackle people-related risk. The pandemic left many companies exposed and vulnerable around their people. Understanding and evaluating these exposures is a core priority for business leaders.”

The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group has been grappling with these questions and they have some great takeaways that are shaping the culture and the business strategy moving forward. 

“The WHO’s declaration of a global pandemic March 2020 was a pivot point none of us will ever forget,” said Enrico Mastrangeli, VP, Distribution & Member Innovation at The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “As we sent our teams home, we asked them to take their laptops and be prepared to work from home for a couple of weeks. No one predicted what would happen next—more than two years of learning how to stay open for business and deliver for our brokers and members while protecting the health and safety of everyone.”  

The Commonwell has achieved record high employee engagement scores, sitting well above the relevant benchmark, as well as member satisfaction scores of 93%. This along with continually enhancing operational effectiveness is driving the company’s success.     

“For us, it begins by asking the hard questions and actively listening to our employees and our brokers,” said Enrico. “The pandemic drove a transformation in how we do business. We knew it was important to stay connected and we doubled down on communication both internally and externally. We have learned that it is okay to not know all the answers—what is important is to lean in and be transparent and continue to provide information as the situation evolves.”

“The ability to work from anywhere has made a measurable difference in our employee engagement scores,” said Caroline Gaffney, VP, Talent at The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group. “We had already implemented a flexible work program and we added additional DIYW (Do it Your Way) Days with employees being given five paid days that they can choose to use as they like.”  

“The culture is amazing,” said Cassidy Allison, Marketing and Member Insights Specialist. “When many organizations are mandating their employees come back to work in the office, the Commonwell continues to give us flexibility to work where we want and based on what makes sense for our day.” 

The company also focused on supporting employee mental and physical health by running Wellness Wednesday sessions. This program included hearing from mental health experts, mindfulness and meditation, exercise, and nutrition. 

“This was an important learning experience for us,” said Caroline. “While people that attended the mid-day sessions found the content engaging and helpful, others told us that they needed that time to get away from the screen, disconnect and take a break. So, we pivoted to a flexible schedule that enables everyone to participate at a time that works for them.” 

Turns out that flexibility is key. The Commonwell was initially concerned about being able to manage productivity and service levels. They had to be intentional in their efforts and did so by setting clear expectations, ensuring everyone was aligned with the strategy, were focused on communication, and having their teams continue to collaborate.  This resulted in significantly improved service levels and employee engagement scores.

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