Q&A with Bruce Power’s Monica Warnell

Bruce Power Ltd. Partnership’s manager of human resources and total rewards shares her view on optimizing the benefits plan, enjoying the great outdoors and employee assistance programs.

Q. What are the top challenges you face in your role?

A. Getting employees to be active participants in the benefits plan. We’re trying to encourage individuals to use their questioning attitude when it comes to their health, and treating the health and benefits they’re considering using in the same way they would any sort of commercial service they may be purchasing for their home or families.

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

A. We changed benefits carriers in 2018. That raised a lot of questions and concerns, which we answered. Now we’re looking to move past our transition and turn employees’ attention to our new carrier’s tools and resources that will help support their effective use of the plan and further their health journey.

Read: Q&A with CAA Atlantic’s Morag Duncan 

We’re also looking to use more than just our health and dental carrier’s resources, linking them to our employee assistance program’s tools and resources, because they’re so valuable for preventative health and health education. And we’re also looking to continue people’s awareness about the value of healthy lifestyles. In 2019, we’re engaging with health champions throughout our business to help turn people’s minds to their health choices and to help them along that health spectrum.

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

A. We do a biannual employee engagement survey, so those results help us understand how well they’re working. We also [look at] participation in preventative programs, such as employee assistance program use, participation in [our] health platform, participation in our health champions program and participation in our carrier’s online tools and apps.

Q. What program do you consider the most successful or that you’re most proud of?

A. Certainly our mental-health journey. Like many employers in Canada, [we’re focused on] providing a greater awareness and knowledge about mental health within our communities and our organization. We provided foundational mental-health training to our leaders . . . to support their employees and to know when there’s a change and how to connect them with important resources.

Read: Editorial: Deck the halls with mental-health support

We also launched and introduced employee tools. And there are leader tools as well, through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Not Myself Today program, which has given us accessible resources and education on mental health and mental-health resiliency tools.

Q. What key human resources issues do you expect in 2019?

Career crib sheet

Jan. 2018 – present
Manager of HR and total rewards, Bruce Power

May 2015 – Jan. 2018
Senior HR specialist for total rewards, Bruce Power

Feb. 2005 – Apr. 2015
Compensation and benefits specialist, Toronto Hydro

April 2004 – Feb. 2005
HR metrics analyst, Manulife Financial Corp.

July 2001 – April 2004
Benefits consultant, Maritime Life Assurance Co.

July 2000 – July 2001
HR administrator, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

A. It continues to be communication and helping people understand the why. Why are plans valuable? The role of our benefits plan and its goals to support their long-term health and well-being. Why adjudication practices are the way they are. Why it’s important to coordinate with provincial plans.

Q. What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

A. I have three children. My husband, our kids and I love being active. That’s one of the incredible things about where we’re located — we have a really healthy outdoor focus in this area. Whether it’s being down at the beach in the summer or walking through the trails in the winter, it’s incredible to be this close to the outdoors.

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

A. I’d have to say the employee assistance program. It’s a fabulous program because it helps with supporting day-to-day life. Whether it’s a challenge in finding a long-term care facility to assist a family member, or a new health condition that’s come up and you’re looking for a trusted source of information, I think it’s a program we want to continue to highlight. Personally, I find it’s a really great, incredible benefits plan to have.

Ryan Murphy is a former associate editor at Benefits Canada.