The technology company’s senior benefits consultant on employee well-being, the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion and bikes races in Western Canada.

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

A: Although there can be day-to-day challenges supporting our employees across Canada, Amazon continues to support the increased needs created by the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years. While developing continuity across operations and corporate employees can be challenging, Amazon has gone beyond our current core benefits program by introducing our new My Wellbeing program, supporting employees’ mental, physical, financial and social well-being. This program supports both onsite and remote workers.

Read: Amazon expanding employee benefits program with free skills training, career coaching programs

Career crib sheet

November 2019 – present
Senior benefits consultant, Amazon Canada

September 2015 — November 2019
Manager of leave of absence and global benefits, Stantec Inc.

April 2011 — June 2015
Manager of global benefits administration, Enbridge Inc.

November 2008— February 2015
Independent consultant, Edmonton Public Schools

February 2000 — November 2008
Claims supervisor, Workers Compensation Board of Alberta

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

A: Based on employee feedback, we continue to focus on DEI. In 2022, Amazon’s initiatives include supporting the needs of families through programs such as fertility treatments, gender affirmation and removing barriers to ensure we’re supporting diverse individuals and family needs through childcare and elder-care programs, while increasing flexibility within our maternity and parental leave programs.

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

A: Employee feedback is No. 1, along with utilization within our programs. If the programs we offer aren’t meaningful, we work towards introducing programs that fit the needs of employees.

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

A: The program that I’m most proud of is our My Wellbeing program. Within the program, we offer numerous benefits at no cost to all workers across Canada, no matter what employee class they’re in.

Read: Amazon launching employee health programs in Canada

The program includes mindfulness sessions, virtual health care and support including free doctors’ notes and prescriptions refills, debt management, community support, nutrition, body strengthening and many other benefits that focus on both the employees and their families.

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

A: Transitioning back to the office while taking into account changes in the family dynamic. We’re also ensuring we continue to build on the trust we had prior to the pandemic. Mental health is always at the forefront of our decisions as we continue to grow our well-being programs.

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

A: Road bike races across Western Canada and taking care of my grandchildren. I just learned
to ride a motorcycle in 2021, which has allowed me to visit a number of the beaches on Vancouver Island where I currently reside.

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

A: Our mindfulness benefits that focus on managing stress and anxiety. Last summer, we introduced a number of these sessions. With a utilization rate of 43 per cent, it demonstrated we’re on the right track when it comes to addressing our employees’ needs.

Blake Wolfe is the managing editor of Benefits Canada.