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How Definity develops its people and culture with CARE

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Definity Financial Corporation will launch a $1.6 billion IPO in November 2021, making it the largest Canadian IPO of the year and the second largest in the history of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Although they have only just been unveiled, their roots go back over 150 years to the 1871 time when a community of people in Kitchener, Ontario, devised a plan to protect each other in times of trouble.

Since its founding in the region 150 years ago, the company has grown to become Canada’s sixth largest property and casualty insurer with approximately 3,100 employees. Marc Viola, Vice President of Organizational Development and Talent at Definity, is on a mission to foster and maintain a culture of continuous learning and development during a period of rapid growth after going public.

CARE — Definity Employee Promise

At the heart of Definity’s culture of learning and development is the Definity Employee Promise of CARE, delivering a collaborative, ambitious, challenging and empowering employee experience.

C-Collaboration: Contribute to a team that values ​​what you bring.

A- Ambitious: Challenging the status quo for better results.

R-Rewarding: personal growth and learning achievement.

E-Empowering: Making a difference every day in a collaborative values-based environment.

The Definity Employee Promise serves as a clean and concise entry point into the culture of learning, and Viola and his team extend the framework’s strengths by showing that Promises are two-way. To support each of these components of the Employee Promise, they carefully consider their development investments to ensure that they are deep and broad.

Employee Development for All: On-Demand Learning, “Learn at Work Month”, Personal Development Plans, Culture U

To support all employees (and keep the Definity employee promise), Viola and his team have built four foundational programs to make this possible.

First, there is an LMS called “Definity Learning”. Available to all employees for self-directed, on-demand learning. LMS includes both in-house and externally designed content. Employees leverage the platform for everything from compliance, employee, leadership and technical training content.

The second major offering for all employees is the annual “Learn at Work Month,” which consolidates key learning opportunities across the organization. For example, the 2022 Learn at Work Month included “Wellness,” “Inclusion,” and “Hybrid” learning opportunities, as well as curated content and social learning. Popular among employees were panel discussions, ‘Learnle’ puzzles powered by Wordle, and the ‘Community Picks’ channel where employees and leaders could share their favorite learning content.

The third is cultureU, a transformation and learning program led by Definity’s named Culture Champions. Viola shared how she built and deployed a unique Culture U program that broke the mold of typical employee development opportunities. A one-hour mandatory program for all employees that we call Culture U. What makes this program unique is that it is led by a business leader called Culture Champion. Culture Champions are selected based on their belief in making a difference, their courage to help change and transform their teams, and the communication skills necessary to articulate and convincingly articulate why cultural change is necessary. Being selected as a Culture Champion is a great leadership development opportunity. Cultural champions love to do that too. At first he asked me to sign up for 12 months, but since 2020 many members are facilitating it. ”

Led by these Culture Champions, cultureU sessions provide a deep dive into how to successfully reinforce cultures, values, and key behaviors with practical examples. The program is also integrated with how all employees set up individual performance management plans with their leaders.

Finally, all employees work with their leaders to develop a performance and development plan containing individual goals for their own development. These individualized plans typically turn the elements of each offering above back into action plans and objectives.

Leadership development from frontline to executive

When it comes to leadership development, Definity offers three main programs from frontline level to executive level.

  1. Leadership Essentials: This frontline learning and development program focuses on operations and helps new leaders learn how to lead other employees.
  2. High-Performance Leader Program: This program is for existing leaders above the front line. Focuses on developing people’s leadership skills. Viola explains how her 2022 version of the program has evolved to suit the changing work environment: Learn how to foster curiosity in a hybrid environment and build more impactful and effective connections with your team. She also described her change leadership and coaching skills for leaders. Going forward, much of the program will remain the same and serve as a foundation, but other elements will change to suit her 2023 needs. ”
  3. High-Performance Executive Program: Newly added programs at the Executive level are designed to enhance executive-level competencies. Like any program, it’s a learning journey. Viola said it aims to raise executive awareness in several key areas. It is about challenging traditional thinking and sustaining all this learning through intentional intersessional learning. ”

Learn more about Definity’s Frontline Leaders Program: A Blended Approach to Learning

Their Leadership Essentials program provides leaders with the practical knowledge and skills to lead their employees, but also the people leader practices. Modules they cover include Talent Acquisition, Diversity and Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, Performance Management, Perception, Planning, and Budgeting.

To reach frontline leaders, their programs have the right mix of self-directed learning, facilitated learning, and learning panels. Viola stressed that high-quality facilitators are essential even if their offerings are digitally robust. No. There is still a valuable and meaningful place for quality facilitation in hybrid work environments.Overall, learners are consistently making meaningful connections with strong and passionate facilitators. Facilitators enhance the learning experience and add credibility to the learning programme.As new ideas are introduced, it is very important to build connections physically and virtually.”

Learning panels are a unique component of Definity’s Frontline Leader Program, and Viola shared that they are a key driver of interest. Viola’s team has selected senior her leaders from the organization to share their expertise and experience on specific topics. Panels are virtual and provide an opportunity for frontline leaders to meet senior leaders and get to know each other.

Viola’s Advice for Leadership Development Professionals: Get as Many Data Points and Perspectives as Possible on Your Learning Roadmap

Looking back over the past few years of work, Viola’s advice for leadership development professionals is: You will be amazed at their interest and the value of their ideas. After all, they are the biggest consumers of content. I think sharing roadmaps is a great way to engage and an opportunity to leverage real-time insights. This is a way of gathering additional data about how we think and design our learning programs. ”

Viola’s Biggest Priority: Building for Engagement and Connection

All return to the Definity Employee Promise to support high performing, highly engaged organizations. When asked what her top priorities are going forward, Viola noted that changing learning environments at work support these goals. How to change and evolve the way learning is designed to reliably build engagement and connection. It is also about creating fairness in the experience. There are now many different modalities for providing and creating meaningful connections. ”

Kevin Kruse is the founder and CEO of lead x, a leadership development system that scales and maintains habits through micro-coaching and behavioral nudging.Kevin too new york times best-selling author of Great leaders have no rules, 15 Time Management Secrets Successful People Know When Employee Engagement 2.0.