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At AIG Canada, employees have opportunities to recharge outside of the office through volunteer initiatives, such as its tree-planting campaign.Provided

Employees at AIG Insurance Company of Canada (AIG Canada) already benefited from very generous paid time off provisions; this past year, it got even better.

The existing policy gave even new graduates at AIG Canada 26 annual paid days off which they could use for vacation, illness or personal matters. Now, they have seven more paid days off, immediately preceding statutory holidays.

Along with their global colleagues, AIG Canada employees are also given an annual health and wellness day off, where they are encouraged to take part in activities that enhance their physical and mental health.

All of these initiatives are aimed at providing employees with a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives and part of AIG’s total rewards philosophy.

“Careers in our industry can be pretty intense and people spend quite a bit of time focusing on their work,” says Pete Walker, president and CEO of AIG Canada. “We want to make sure people have enough time to spend with their families and enjoying their personal lives.”

Walker adds that work-life balance is a particular priority for new and younger recruits when they are looking at potential employers. It also helps foster a sense of loyalty and commitment from all concerned.

“To be a high-performing company, you need to be able to attract the best people and also retain them,” says Walker. “I think part of the reason we have a lot of longevity in our work force is the emphasis we place on work-life balance.”

It’s a way of doing business that Karlo Villanueva, who leads AIG Canada’s Toronto Region distribution team, finds very appealing.

“We all have tough weeks at work and sometimes it takes even more than a three-day weekend to fully wind down,” says Villanueva. “So now, with these extra days, we really have the chance to rest, recharge and get that separation we sometimes need from work.”

Villanueva agrees that it is also a smart strategy for attracting and retaining the best and brightest.

“A healthy work force is an effective work force,” he says. “It’s in any company’s interest to make sure their employees stay healthy and happy, and I think AIG does a great job of that.”

Another way AIG Canada engages employees is through community outreach and volunteerism. That includes matching, two-for-one, every dollar employees donate to a registered charity of their choice.

“The work we do in the community is very much defined by our employees telling us what they are passionate about,” says Walker. “It’s a grassroots effort that helps create a sense of belonging and engagement within the organization.”

For example, a recent tree-planting event organized by AIG Canada saw a third of its staff taking part to plant over 900 trees.

Walker, who became CEO in 2023, says that understanding and supporting the value of community outreach has been a major focus for him during his first months on the job.

“I really do think it makes for more holistic employees and drives greater collaboration,” he says. “The experiences people have volunteering and supporting their communities are something they bring back to our organization.”

That’s certainly been the case for Villanueva, who took part in the tree-planting campaign and also recently spent a work day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

“AIG is a large organization and sometimes we can just get caught up in our own little bubble,” he says. “These outreach events are a perfect opportunity to connect with our colleagues, while also making a difference in our communities.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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