Earlier this year, Blue Cross Life was ranked Canada’s Most Respected Life Insurance Company by over 4,200 Canadians coast-to-coast, topping a list of 26 national insurance providers.
Displacing Sun Life Financial nationally, we asked Tim Mawhinney, President and CEO of Blue Cross Life his views on what ‘respect’ means to him, how it applies in a corporate environment and how it guides him in his role.
When you reflect on the above result, what do you think are some of the reasons behind why Canadians have chosen Blue Cross Life as the most respected Life Insurance Company?
I think we have earned the respect of Canadians by always acting in a professional manner, being honest, having integrity and being fair. Such fundamental actions build our internal and external relationships, creating mutual trust, openness and transparency. The above behaviours are reflected in our corporate values.
In addition, our leadership team genuinely respects our people. Our internal teams and distribution network deliver our product to the Canadian marketplace. We know how important they are to us and our brand. We work to foster an environment of continuous learning and growth, striving to cultivate a positive and stimulating work environment.
Finally, for us to be a trusted and respected life insurance company, our Board and leadership team ensure we have robust governance, risk management and compliance programs in place.
When you hear the word ‘respect’ nowadays, what are the 2-3 key qualities or elements that constitute that attribute?
I believe that honesty and integrity form the foundation of earning respect. Without these two attributes, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to foster respectful and trusted relationships. I believe that customers are looking for these attributes when they are considering companies, as are other companies when they are considering suppliers and partners.
Now, more than ever, companies are being held accountable for their actions. Customers will move their business if they see evidence that companies are operating without honesty and integrity. And, with advances in technology impacting media, as well as the vast and rapid spread of information, companies need to be constantly mindful in their operations and actions.
What’s been a memorable/impactful “lesson” on ‘respect in business’ that has stuck with you from your career?
Throughout my career, I have been mentored by leaders that have exhibited a great deal of respect for their teams/people. These individuals treated me well, challenged me and let me know I was valued. Their actions and behaviours have stuck with me, especially as it relates to acting with respect in a business environment.
If you were to give advice to a young manager on ‘corporate respect’, what would that be (if at all)?
To earn respect, companies need to be good corporate citizens. They need to focus on doing the “right things” all the time. This is where having elements of respect (like honestly and integrity) embedded in your company values and encouraging leaders to apply these elements in their day-to-day can help.
Leaders set the tone within a company, and it is important that they act accordingly. It is also extremely important that leaders hold their team members accountable for demonstrating the same behaviours.
I also believe it is important for junior managers to receive solid mentoring and receive development opportunities so that they can grow into higher-level leadership roles within a company. If this mentoring relationship isn’t defined or set by a company, it is important for junior managers to seek out this relationship and respect should always be a guiding factor when selecting a mentor.