SSQ wins wellness pioneer award for 15-year well-being focus

Highlighting a long-standing commitment to the health of its employees, SSQ Life Insurance Co. was awarded the Sanofi Canada Wellness Pioneer Award at Benefits Canada‘s 2020 Workplace Benefits Awards on Oct. 16.

Its health and wellness program, which was established 15 years ago, integrates health prevention and health promotion, a lever it considers essential to workplace absence management. It covers four areas: lifestyle habits, work-life balance, working environment and management practices.

In addition, over the past two years, SSQ has also added a virtual health-care platform and formed a partnership with a company offering psychological health support, including conferences, workshops and group and individual support.

Read: Who are the winners of the 2020 Workplace Benefits Awards?

Referring to the insurer’s merger earlier this year with La Capitale Insurance and Financial Services, Martin Robert, executive vice-president of talent, culture and communications at SSQ, notes the win says a lot about what the two companies can achieve together. “Now that we’re together and we joined forces, imagine what we can achieve. For me, for this new company, that’s very positive.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, the insurer was able to react quickly to support the health of its 2,000 employees. Within a few days, 97 per cent of staff were working remotely and the company implemented new initiatives, including: a four-week, daily coaching program for managers on how to manage their teams during a crisis; a conference on psychological health and work-life balance; and team activities focused on physical health and lifestyle habits.

“It was a quick, but very pertinent training on how to manage people . . . and how to manage themselves as managers, how to lead during those times of pandemic,” says Robert. “At the same time, we worked with a Montreal-based mental-health provider . . . to put together three different trainings for employees. . . . We’ve had many testimonials from our employees saying how they appreciated it, how they felt they worked for a company that not only cared about their physical health, but also their mental health.

“I really feel that this whole package we were able to put together in a few weeks . . . really made a difference to our people.”

Indeed, despite significant changes in employee lifestyle during the pandemic, the organization’s employee net promoter score has increased, from 40 to 51. In addition, a weekly survey showed an improvement in the wellness metric, from 66 per cent to 75 per cent.

Read a full list of the 2020 Workplace Benefits Awards winners.