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The smaller size of UV Insurance helps create an agile work environment where employees can quickly communicate with each other.Provided

First-day jitters are one thing, but when Tania Di Chiara started at UV Insurance (UV) in April last year, she was the Drummondville, Que.-based group insurance provider’s first anglophone employee. Yet, thanks to the welcoming environment, Di Chiara never felt out of place.

“I was nervous because I didn’t know if it would be difficult to transition, but sure enough my onboarding process was very smooth,” says the inside sales representative. “They were putting a large amount of effort in to make that shift – it was impressive.”

Di Chiara, who lives in Ottawa, was looking for a change when she was first approached by the company on LinkedIn. She was intrigued and decided to interview for the position.

Her first impression of UV put Di Chiara at ease immediately and she was excited to jump on board.

“I felt comfortable right away,” she says. “We connected and I could see then and there that the company’s culture was very inclusive and supportive.”

The 135-year-old mutual company already serves Ontario and Western Canada, so hiring an English-speaking employee made sense to continue to support the company’s growth in those regions.

Working closely with the business development director for Ontario and Western Canada, Di Chiara focuses on building relationships and trust with her clients on a daily basis.

The company’s ability to put Di Chiara at ease transcends language and boils down to the shared values at UV. Di Chiara always feels supported and that the teams are working together, not in competition.

“The level of workplace integrity and inclusion makes me feel that we share common morals and beliefs,” she explains. “We’re all working toward the same common goal and supporting each other.”

A piece of that culture comes from being a smaller business, something that was part of the draw for Pierre Parenteau, chief financial officer and senior vice-president, actuarial and finance.

“You get to wear more hats in a company this size,” says Parenteau. “Every day is different.”

The size provides flexibility and a flow of communications that is harder to achieve at a larger company.

“We are agile at UV and we think this is a huge competitive advantage,” he explains. “We can find solutions and execute them quickly.”

The fast-paced work environment is only part of what drew Parenteau to UV. In his former roles, he found that at industry events he was always spending time with the UV team because they clicked so well.

“The caring aspect of UV comes directly from the top,” he says. “Our CEO is known for his benevolence and knows every employee in the company – our employees are our strongest and most important asset.”

The company’s six values – open-mindedness, focus, respect, solidarity, competence and engagement – help drive strategic direction at the company and are integral to its identity.

“In the big picture, the culture and the values define who you are and how you support your employees,” says Parenteau. “When that’s in place, you can reach the ambitious goals that you give yourself.”

The people-first direction at UV seems to be working. The company’s values have been key to Di Chiara feeling as though she can thrive in her current workplace.

“Our values help foster an open mind and a positive team, which in an ideal workplace. I think is a true representation of who we are at UV,” she says. “Being so honest and open in communication is paramount in creating a powerful foundation where there’s effective leadership and we can flourish.”

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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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