Shaw Communications Inc.’s Kristina Humphreys talks financial well-being, plan flexibility and league hockey.
Q. What top challenges do you face in your role?
A. A big challenge is finding effective ways to communicate with our employees because it’s across many locations, demographics, different career points, etc. Also, retirement may feel very far away for a lot of our employees, so it’s a little more difficult to grab their attention.
We’re approaching communication from different angles — webinars, in person, online material and targeted emails — and we’re going to see what works best for us and our employees. We’ll continue to use a variety of methods because we know people have different preferences for how they like to receive information.
Q. What new programs or initiatives are you looking to implement?
A. In early 2019, we made additional investments in our employees’ long-term financial well-being and we introduced a matching component to our pension plan, which has been very well-received. Along with continuing to build our employees’ awareness of the plans, we’re also going to be looking at other financial wellness tools.
Q. How do you judge the success of a program or initiative?
A. Employee feedback is very important, so we introduced a quarterly survey to help us gather ongoing feedback. We also look at participation rates in the plans we offer. We have a 70 per cent participation rate in our voluntary share purchase plan.
In early 2019, we introduced pension matching on employee voluntary contributions and our participation rate is already at 30 per cent. And monthly voluntary pension contributions have more than tripled, so that’s a really positive move.
Q. What program do you consider the most successful or that you’re most proud of?
A. I’m definitely proud that our company keeps our employees’ and their families’ wellness top of mind when we design our rewards programs. And so, of course, that includes our benefits and our savings plan, but we also have other rewards — like our scholarship program — that are available to dependants of Shaw employees. It’s just exciting to see that these programs are making a lasting impact on employees and their families.
Q. What key human resources issues do you expect in 2019?
A. In our high-speed world there’s lots of competition for employees’ attention and time, so we have to make sure our communication is targeted and [that it] resonates.
Also, our employees are very security aware and they’re very skeptical of opening external emails. That’s amazing, but we also have to find an efficient way to let them know when to expect communication from our external benefits providers so they’re able to easily identify them as authentic and safe to open.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
A. My husband and I love to travel. One of our favourite trips was hiking the Inca Trail in Peru a couple of years ago. That was a lot of fun. And in May, we went on a European vacation. We play a lot of hockey — that’s actually where my husband and I met. I play mostly ball hockey and we play in a couple of different leagues. I play on three different teams and then I sub for other teams, so I keep really busy.
Q. What’s your favourite employee benefit and why?
A. I love the flexibility we offer on the benefits and savings plans because we can choose what works best for us. Personally, I really enjoy the matching under the pension and the share plan. And I definitely love the [tax-free savings account] because it gives me a nice structured way to do payroll deductions to save for travelling. I can tailor benefits to fit my needs, so my husband and I enjoy that. I sometimes joke that my husband married me for my benefits.
Kelsey Rolfe is an associate editor at Benefits Canada.