Saskatchewan Government Insurance
Tests that measure ability and personality are often used in the insurance industry to assist with the selection of new employees. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is taking a different approach; they are using tests as part of a career development program for current employees. The goal of the program is to get the right people into the right job and introduce them to the many career options available at SGI.
“We want people to take charge of their own career development,” says SGI Human Resource Consultant Danielle Peterson. To do this they developed a two day voluntary program called: What Colour is Your Career? The workshop is offered several times a year and is open to everyone in the 1800 person organization.
To help participants learn about themselves they are asked to complete two assessments online before the program begins, an interest inventory and a values scale.
On the first day attendees have an SGI orientation, learning about the company’s background, career paths and the SGI careers website. Many of the long term employees are surprised to find out that there are over 200 job classifications at SGI – opportunities that they may never have considered before.
On the second day, the results from two of the assessments are analyzed. The Career Interest Profiler helps people clarify their interests and relate them to work and career options. Employees use this information to make the connection between what they like to do and careers within SGI that meet these desires. By guiding people to make better career choices, staff members can pursue a path within the organization that they will more likely enjoy. Peterson adds that, “Employees that are happier in their careers tend to perform better and grow with the company.”
Another assessment that SGI uses is the Career Values Scale. “Values are a critical factor in determining satisfaction with ones career,” states Shawn Bakker a psychologist with Psychometrics Canada. “In the context of career guidance and development, clarification of values will assist in providing an employee with the self-knowledge that is often missing and secondly, given a number of career choices, help the client choose the one that will best lead to a satisfying career.”
Peterson provides a concrete example, “if family life is a core value for someone, a career as an adjuster who has to travel throughout the province is not going to be a very good fit. They won’t be happy and won’t last long in that position.”
After reviewing the test results, the remainder of the day is spent with some one-on-one coaching and learning about SGI jobs that may be a good fit. The participants then begin making career development plans. This includes more research and may lead to job shadowing or even training opportunities that would provide the skills to begin a new career within the organization.
Founded in 1945, SGI operates the Saskatchewan Auto Fund, which is the compulsory auto insurance program, as well as SGI Canada, a competitive insurer focusing on casualty and property insurance. The company has 20 claims centres in 13 communities throughout Saskatchewan and has branch offices in Winnipeg and Edmonton. With an incredible variety of careers in multiple locations you can understand why a program like this was started.
“It comes down to getting the right people in the right job,” says Peterson. “People often have an idea of where they want to go. We enable them to set a concrete direction and get there faster.” It is better for the employees – and that leads to good things for SGI.