Karen Loebach-Smith, People Management Superhero

Meet Karen Loebach Smith, Human Resources Analyst for Green Shield Canada (GSC). She worked with a paper HR and Payroll system up to mid-2013 and was directly involved in the implementation of Avanti at GSC. Here's her story.

Karen Loebach Smith, HR Analyst at Green Shield CanadaAbout Karen

Karen has worked for GSC for 26 years in various departments, starting out in Claims Adjudication in the early years of her career, She has worked in Human Resources for the majority of the time.

Her interests outside of work are playing hockey and travelling. Here's her story. 

Q: What makes you a People Management Superhero?

I love what I do and I hope it shows in my interactions with our employees. I like to think that employees come to me with requests and questions because I provide timely, confidential and accurate assistance.

Q: How does Avanti help you take care of your employees?

Through Avanti's Self-Service portal, they have the ability to change their personal information themselves, view their vacation entitlements with ease, and make changes to their own schedules.

Q: Is there something you can now provide to your managers or employees that you couldn't before implementing Avanti?

All employees have the ability to see their vacation entitlements and take ownership of keeping track of their time off. HR and Payroll are now able to extract any information from our HRIS – something we couldn’t do before. Leaders at GSC used to deal with a paper system for their employees and now they can view and approve time off, overtime, etc. in a much easier way. They can also run a variety of reports themselves.

We’re able to provide accurate and efficient reporting to our Leaders. With the introduction of Workflows, this is done automatically at certain points of the week/month, which is a huge improvement for all-- no more setting reminders in calendars to send reports at certain times.

Q: As you look ahead to the next year, do you have any new initiatives that involve Avanti?

We will be implementing the Onboarding feature to run our orientation process more efficiently. We're also looking at using the new Career Connector feature to make the process more efficient for HR and Leaders.

Q: What is the single most important thing that you do to make a difference to your employees?

Provide outstanding customer service with regards to access of information. Avanti plays an important part in providing our Leaders and staff with timely and accurate information.

Q: What tip would you give to other professionals who struggle with employee management?

Challenge your employees to think of different ways to tackle their jobs, don’t continue to do something one way, because 'it’s always been done that way'. Promote accountability and engagement with your employees.

Q: How does Green Shield set itself apart from other employers?

As a not-for-profit company, GSC strives to make health care accessible to all Canadians. GSC makes a difference by funding programs focused on providing care and improving access to health care for uninsured/underinsured Canadians.

Q: What is at the heart of making Green Shield a great place to work?

Definitely the employees and their enthusiasm and drive to provide outstanding customer service. Personally, I work with amazingly creative and intelligent coworkers; we all work hard, but take time to find humour in our daily work lives.

We have free coffee and tea!  We’re also able to listen to personal music while we work, as long as we use earbuds.

Q: How do you make your people feel engaged, appreciated and help them thrive at Green Shield?

Employees come together as volunteers at numerous causes all throughout the year, for charitable activities outside of work hours. We have many celebrations for various milestones, one of which is awards for employees with over 5 years of service; we celebrate and recognize our coworkers at our annual holiday party.

GSC acknowledges project efforts through a program called “We Built That”, the program celebrates new or improved processes and employees/departments that were involved.

GSC is always encouraging employees to come forward with new ideas, process improvements and allow them to own and champion the initiative.

Look at Karen's super transformation in The Little Book of People Management Superheroes: Volume 2.

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