The RBC’s senior director of North American benefits and global well-being discusses building flexibility into the modern benefits plan, harnessing AI capabilities in the banking world and finding wellness in the great outdoors.

Q: What top challenges do you face in your role?

A: Employees are looking for meaningful support in both their professional and personal lives, which is why it’s important that we offer a modern and flexible benefits plan that helps them in whatever life stage they’re at. At RBC, we strive to discern which areas to prioritize and when, so we can determine the most effective way to allocate resources and identify programs with the highest impact in order to support employees when they need it most.

Q: What new programs or initiatives are you looking to implement?

A: People want to work where they feel valued and supported. That’s why it’s important to ensure prospective and current employees are aware of RBC’s unique suite of benefits. That’s where our new Employer Brand team is stepping in — to help build employee awareness of RBC’s extensive range of benefits and boost usage of these valuable support tools.

Read: Lululemon’s use of video, social media in benefits communications results in award win

Q: What programs do you consider the most successful or that you’re most proud of?

Career crib sheet

July 2023 — Present

Senior director, North American benefits and global well-being, RBC

2018 – July 2023

Director, North American benefits design, RBC

2014 – 2017

Assistant vice-president, total benefits, Sun Life Financial Corp.

2010 – 2014

Director, retirement and savings programs, Sun Life Financial Corp.

2006 – 2010

Director, benefit programs, Sun Life Financial Corp.

2005 – 2006

Director, business planning and organizational development, Sun Life Financial Corp.

A: RBC’s approach to benefits extends beyond typical employer offerings, encompassing overall employee well-being. For example, the coronavirus pandemic underscored the need for mental-health support. In Canada, where more than 70 per cent of RBC’s global employees are based, the bank increased reimbursement for psychological services to $5,000 per year and expanded its list of eligible practitioners to include psychotherapists and marriage counsellors.

Q: How do you judge the success of a program or initiative?

A: We assess program success through a combination of participation, utilization and employee feedback. A key focus is understanding how our preventive and early intervention programs influence health outcomes. Through testimonials and direct feedback, we gain insights into the tangible impact our benefits have on employees’ lives.

Q: What key HR issues do you expect in the coming year?

A: RBC has been using artificial intelligence for several years and we believe it’s one of the most transformative technologies impacting the world today. It has the potential to expand banks’ capabilities as well as their ability to enrich the lives of their employees and clients.

Read: ChatGPT a game-changer for benefits communication, but risks remain with full automation: expert

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

A: We have a two-year-old Doberman pinscher, so managing her high energy is a daily requirement. We get outdoors as often as possible, which is so beneficial to our family’s mental and physical well-being.

Q: What’s your favourite employee benefit and why?

A: I don’t have a favourite per se, but I believe our best benefits plan feature is the flexibility and choice we offer to our employees. We have robust core coverage with the option to add coverage based on each employee’s individual and family needs.

Lauren Bailey is the interim managing editor of Benefits Canada and the Canadian Investment Review.