Take a deep breathe. Now close your eyes and envision yourself, working at your dream job. Oh no wait, open your eyes you won’t be able to read this if they are closed. But imagine working at your dream job. A place where the culture promotes you to grow and explore and adapt, your teammates are more than just coworkers they are friends, the space you work is welcoming and the atmosphere is encouraging. Ok, now picture working at an insurance brokerage. Your probably envisioning two very different environments. Well, we’ve got some exciting news. McDougall Insurance was just recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Small & Medium Employers. I know what you are thinking, how can an insurance brokerage be recognized as a one of Canada’s top employers? I mean insurance is pretty much the most boring industry ever right?
Not with McDougall Insurance & Financial.
The Top Employer Award
Before we get into what makes McDougall so great lets take a look at the award. Each year the SME in partnership with The Globe and Mail recognizes companies across Canada with fewer than 500 employees. The panel of judges evaluates firms all across the nation in 8 key categories; physical workplace, atmosphere, benefits, vacation and time off, employee communications, performance management, training and skills development, and community involvement. The organizations are compared with others in their field to determine which offers the best workplace. Let’s take a look at those categories in a little bit more detail to see what really sets us apart.
If there is one category McDougall Insurance really stands out on it is atmosphere and culture. We are a close knit team despite having over 300 employees. Right when you walk through the doors you feel a positive vibe, people are happy and that stems from the top down. We host monthly and annual events, we celebrate whacky days such as National Grilled Cheese Day (one of my personal favourites) and it is this atmosphere that sets us a part from the stereotypical insurance environment.
This coincides a little bit with the last category in that we have built our space to be open and promote communication. We consider ourselves one big McDougall Family and our employees have really taken that to heart. We participate in monthly social gathering outside of our regular office hours to promote team building and comradery. Our sales staff and customer service staff work very closely to service our clients and that communication is important for us to do our work effectively.
Eggs benefits are one of my favourite things to start my morning with. Not but seriously, I love Eggs Benedict, I mean the Hollandaise sauce, the yolk, the melted butter on the English Muffin. Ok, sorry where were we? Oh right the benefits! Ya they are good too. I mean we have an employee benefits and group benefits department to provide plans for other company’s and their employees for Peter’s sake. We are the professionals so you know we make sure benefits are good for our employees too!
Vacation and Time Off
You hear it all the time, people complaining about their job. They will utter statements like, “I need a vacation to get away from my job” or “my work is killing me, I need some time off”. Our philosophy here is; it is not work when you love what you’re doing. But nobody loves insurance so we have a great program for vacations and time off. Everyone deserves a little break from time to time. Every year we offer our service and administration team some variation of their choice of a relaxing spa getaway or an exciting trip to Toronto for shopping, a show and a delicious dinner. We also do an annual sales trip to an exotic destination for our top performing staff. Sign me up.
OK, admittedly we have over 30 offices all over Ontario so this category is a little challenging. What we try to accomplish with our physical workplace is an area where everything is open. Ideas, questions, problems are all tackled together. An open and modern concept is what we strive for with our employee space. For our clients we have separate rooms or offices where they can go to discuss their insurance in private. We are still waiting on the nap stations and water slides but I imagine they are coming.
A fun work environment is important but you know what is also fun? Performing well. At McDougall Insurance there are a lot of performance tied incentives as we spoke about above (big sales trip). Not to mention it is a commission based business so your income is directly related to your performance. As a result we go a step further in creating individual performance goals for each and every employee. This provides a personalized benchmark to work towards based on what stage an individual is at in their career. More importantly it enables our managers to help our staff perform better and be successful. We also hold semi annual meetings to review our results and compare them historically.
Training and Skills Development
When you first venture aboard the McDougall Insurance ship you are bombarded with training and courses. For many others in the industry I am sure this can be an overwhelming experience. However, McDougall Insurance not only equips you with the tools you need to become a licensed insurance broker, they also encourage you and support you financially to pursue your own designations. And it doesn’t stop there. The insurance world is constantly changing and evolving so what you learned 5 – 10 years ago may no longer be relevant. Luckily, at McDougall Insurance we are committed to continued education for our employees. After all, it is our job to help educate and advise our clients and without the proper training and skills development we would have a hard time doing that effectively.
What a great category to end on. We are a part of small communities all over Ontario, and we know how important these communities are, which is why we place a major focus year after year on giving back and contributing to these communities. We donate to various charities throughout the year, we volunteer our time, and we truly do our best to make an impact in these communities. Just take a look at some of the events or donations we have made:
Yes, we would say it is pretty great here, even for an insurance company! If you’re interested in finding out more about available positions or opportunities head to our careers page. If you would like to see the full article by the SME you can check that out here or if you want to see the rest of the top employers you can check them out on the Globe & Mail article here. Alright Dougallers, until next time!