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Johnston Group Inc. is a family company – and with a few hundred full-time staff, it’s a relatively big family. In fact, Will Johnston, a second-generation family member working at the group benefit plan administrator, proudly declares, “We punch above our weight class as it pertains to community involvement.”
And the company tends to attract people who are interested in stepping up and giving back. “Doing the right thing just sort of permeates how we treat our employees and how our employees treat one another, our customers and the advisors we work with,” Johnston says.
Before he worked there, Jeff Reyes frequently saw Johnston Group employees out in the community, supporting events for UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, blood drives, tree plantings and more. “The engagement we have with the community just blows my mind,” says Reyes, an advisor support representative. “We love to help.”
Reyes was also attracted to Johnston Group because of the opportunities for growth and development there. “The company provides you with the necessary resources to get where your career goals are,” says Reyes, whose intent it is to become part of the sales team for group insurance. “They’re in the process of providing me with the right tools, the right path to get myself licensed in the right way and then eventually be part of that team. They’re fully committed to help you reach your goals.”
Most job openings are posted internally five days before they go public, to give employees the first pass. There are research resources in the lunchroom with courses specific to benefits, and anyone can speak to their manager if professional development is what they want. “We absolutely want to develop people and have them move up and around in the organization,” says Johnston.
“I’ve had a lot of jobs,” Reyes adds, “and I’ve never experienced a work family like this one. No matter how big or small a project is, you get nothing but support.”
Johnston Group employees also benefit from working at a company that specializes in benefits. In January, the company introduced additional mental health supports into its Chambers Plan, Maximum Benefit and CINUP benefit programs at no additional cost to plan members with a health benefit.
“These are virtual supports that complement existing therapy options but are really powerful in enabling employees to potentially self-manage their care,” explains Johnston. “And if an employee has an existing diagnosis and they’re uncertain about their treatment plan or it isn’t working, they have the ability to get an expert second opinion. It’s really just making the access easy.”
Also, like so many other organizations, he adds, Johnston Group has spent a “great deal of time and effort and money, frankly,” enabling hybrid work for everyone, “understanding that this is the new world order and flexibility is really key.” It has also brought in $500 health and $500 lifestyle spending accounts annually for each employee.
Not surprisingly, retention at Johnston Group is very high, according to Johnston. “From what we hear from our customers and our advisors, it all comes down to the people here,” he says. “They’re talking about an interaction they had with someone from Johnston Group; they’re talking about knowing people by name and knowing who to call when. And that doesn’t happen without good retention.”
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Johnston Group Inc.