The gaming and entertainment company’s new manager of benefits, retirement and wellness discusses improving benefits communication, transferring total rewards skills and her favourite Peloton workouts.

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

A: I’d like to develop an ongoing education and communications strategy to promote our current benefits programs and categorize them under the pillars of total well-being. My goal is to be a key business partner to the site leadership teams and employees to improve the employee experience and internal service level agreements, so they’re equipped to use the benefits programs when they [and their families] need them.

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

A: One way is to take an inventory of the current programs to understand whether they’re meaningful and impactful by using analytical data tools. I’ve always built strategic relationships with external vendors, requesting quarterly experience and usage reports to understand how our programs are performing. As well, hearing experiences directly from employees can be used to understand the accessibility of the program offerings and whether we’ve put out sufficient education to support them.

Read: How employers are using data to integrate DEI into their benefits plans

Career crib sheet

April 2023 — Present
Manager, benefits, retirement and wellness, Great Canadian Entertainment

August 2022 — Present
Senior compensation and total rewards consultant, White & Gale Consulting Inc.

December 2021– March 2023
Manager, global total rewards, benefits, retirement, recognition and well-being, Cineplex Inc.

December 2021 – July 2022
Total rewards, payroll and HR systems consultant, Fresh Prep

July 2021 – December 2021
People and culture manager, Fresh Prep

December 2018 – March 2021
HR, total rewards, retirement and payroll coordinator, Entertainment Partners

Q: What programs do you consider most successful?

A: Throughout my career, I can recall many programs that were well-received and continue to be widely used today. One example was spearheading the design, delivery and implementation of an employee assistance program and internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy program during the coronavirus pandemic. Identifying our need for a wellness program, engaging with various vendors in a request for proposal, selecting a partner and working through the implementation and phased launch along with follow-up training was worth the months of effort.

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

A: I recently joined the company and have transferable total rewards skills I can apply from previous roles. However, every company has its own internal structures and policies to learn. In addition, each company has different workforce demographics and program offerings, therefore, working with business partners across the organization and understanding the complexities associated with the role will lead to a successful adjustment to a new workplace.

Read: Maintaining benefits during inflation key to providing stability for employees, says expert

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

A: The impact of increasing inflation and the cost of programs, along with the relevancy of the programs that are in place. Leading the benefits, retirement and wellness programs for around 8,000 employees requires monitoring costs, doing pulse checks and being aware of market trends to stay competitive. Developing and offering programs that align with employees’ needs isn’t always straightforward, as people have different priorities and health profiles.

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

A: As a North Vancouver local, I love to explore different walking trails and parks with my partner who’s a certified outdoor guide in British Columbia. Another way I try to stay active while working from home is doing different Peloton bike and floor mat workouts. My favourites are the country pop music themed strength or Pilates classes. On the weekends, you can find me trying new restaurants and coffee shops, watching HBO shows and movies in theatres and shopping for consignment clothing.

Read: Head to head: Should employers allow staff to carry over their annual paramedical coverage?

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

A: My favourite employee benefit is a lump-sum extended paramedical balance as part of the medical and health-care offering. Rather than being capped at an insignificant amount per service, this coverage grants employees the flexibility to make appointments for services that support them and their eligible dependants’ individual health needs and concerns.

Sadie Janes is an associate editor at Benefits Canada.