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Sterling Capital Brokers supports its employees with company-sponsored events that help to foster social connections.Provided

It’s only to be expected that Sterling Brokers offers a highly regarded employee benefits package, says Heather Nadler, vice-president, human resources. Sterling, Canada’s largest independent benefits broker, specializes in servicing high-growth small-to-medium size businesses, and is staffed by benefits professionals.

“It gives us a bit of an advantage when it comes to taking care of our own employees, because we’re experts at designing benefit plans,” says Nadler.

In a competitive job market, the plans are also very important to prospective employees. “‘What are your benefits?’ is one of the top questions I’m asked during job interviews,” Nadler says. In recent years, the answer has evolved as substantially as Sterling itself. The 11-year-old firm has a current worldwide workforce of 170, but when sales analyst manager Brittani Gilmour came on board in September 2020, she was only Sterling’s 18th employee.

In less than four years both employee and benefits plan have advanced rapidly. “The plan has been enriched twice,” Gilmour says. “It’s one of the best plans you’ll see – and the people who work here know what’s out there – especially in extended health and dental care, which are the two benefits most people use most often.”

And Gilmour, who joined Sterling as an entry-level analyst, is now managing a five-person team. She notes how the company’s dynamic and continuing growth has always occurred within a flat, non-hierarchical structure that opens numerous career opportunities for employees. “Back when we were so few, there weren’t really that many teams yet, and whoever had the skill set would do sales or service or what was needed,” Gilmour says.

“Even today, with the departments scaled quite a bit and fully functioning, and people with the right skill sets in the right seats,” she continues, the same cross- platform opportunities and collaborative approach mark workplace culture.

“I think the people we have at Sterling are really what makes it great,” says Gilmour. “There are so many people who will drop what they’re doing to come and help when they’re needed, even if it’s not their job, even if they’re not on your team. If they can help, they will.”

Every part of the employee experience at Sterling exhibits the same degree of flexibility as its personal growth opportunities, says Nadler, including schedules, remote work and its benefits plan. In addition to its robust health care provisions and generous tuition subsidies, Sterling has an unlimited vacation policy.

“That means most of our employees, however long they have been at Sterling, can arrange to take four weeks or more through the year,” explains Nadler, “while new entries into most companies usually receive only two weeks.”

Many in the expanding workforce were hired during the peak of the pandemic and have remained largely remote. They can make arrangements to work from almost anywhere. “We have employees who travel to Mexico for a month and work from there, or who go overseas,” Nadler says. “One went to Colombia for a family reunion and worked from there for three months.”

“You have to be very comfortable with change to work here,” says Nadler. “But for those who are, Sterling is a place for a growth-oriented workforce seeking opportunity.” And good benefits.

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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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