August 24, 2023
Terri O'Brien

On Establishing and Nurturing Équité’s Culture

Version française

When we began building our organization in 2021, our team was small and has since grown with an unwavering focus on building a single, unified, not-for-profit organization to proactively tackle insurance crime on behalf of our members. We prioritized building the foundation of what our organization would grow to become, establishing our workplace culture as an essential component of who we are, along with the products and services we offer to members. As a result, our ‘Values’ were initially drafted by our culture committee, which was driven by our employees, across the country and across all levels.

In our 2022 Annual Report, I referenced a quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” Ginsburg was, and still is, a personal icon for me – a trailblazing leader who lived her values every day, but who also knew that enduring change, that follows the arc of justice and contributes to a better future, a more equitable future, is built one step at a time. The foundation we build today, will sustain us now, and into the future.

Establishing Workplace Culture

Values define the culture of an organization, which is why I was very involved with each and every word that went into our final set of Values statements. Before reviewing our values, I did a lot of listening to our members, to our team, and folded that in with my decades of leadership experience. Employees, who feel valued and supported for who they are, experience greater job satisfaction, well-being, and work-life balance. They are also more likely to develop strong interpersonal connections, build meaningful trustworthy relationships, and foster a positive work environment.

In order to ensure employees feel engaged and listened to, they are empowered to participate in our Connect with Purpose Committee, working hand-in-hand to build a positive, caring, and high-performing culture. It is critically important to me to have diversity of thought at every level across our organization, and particularly at the senior leadership level. Having diverse perspectives, experiences and voices at the decision-making table leads to innovation, greater productivity and true equality, which is the goal. Collectively we can all embrace equity.

Nurturing Workplace Culture

A workplace culture is more than just a statement that lives on our website and annual report. Our values are year-round, and therefore as an organization, it is important that everyone knows about, understands and sees those values being demonstrated.

All new employees in the organization receive a wallet card of our values as part of their welcome package. By having a physical version, employees have them at their fingertips for easy reference as we underscore their importance to the organization.

Every month I host a meeting for all employees and ensure there is time to recognize and lift up employees who are championing our values – both big and small – informally, and also through our internal ÉQudos employee recognition program.

Creating space for awareness and conversation is key to building trust among employees. For example, Équité recognizes Pride Month every June, and by embracing diversity and providing a supportive environment, we ensure our employees can thrive personally and professionally. Équité is committed to continuing our work towards nurturing an inclusive culture, guided by our core values of diversity and inclusion, where every employee can authentically contribute to our shared journey of growth and excellence.

As companies look to the future, they are adopting values-focused hiring strategies. At Équité, we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and have achieved gender parity at the senior and executive leadership levels, as well as on our board of directors.  

In 2022, Équité provided $115 million in value to members. These incredible results are closely aligned to the positive employee culture that Équité has created. 2022 was a tremendous year of growth and change, which the team navigated with integrity. I am deeply appreciative and proud of the diversity of knowledge, experience, and perspectives around the table; each team member contributes to what makes us an amazing place to work.