Why Managing Total Rewards is Totally Rewarding
...a conversation with Julie Arsenault, Manager, Compensation + Benefits
Today we shine the Support Centre Spotlight on Julie Arsenault, Manager, Compensation + Benefits, who can’t wait to be able to travel again and explore new places, people, and cultures.
Tell me about your background – how long have you been with dentalcorp and what were you doing before you joined?
I’ve been with dentalcorp for over 3.5 years. Prior to joining, I provided HR support to two major hospitals in Toronto in the areas of Total Rewards, Human Capital Management Systems and Labour Relations. I’m so grateful for these experiences, as I believe they taught me the foundations of working in HR and particularly in Total Rewards. Both were very structured organizations, so I was able to gain valuable experience in the fundamentals of people management and total rewards in a more formal sense.
I am so glad I decided to join the dentalcorp team. Not only do I get to work with some of the most professionally skilled and fun team members in Canada, but every day is a learning opportunity. I truly don’t think I would have been able to achieve this amount of personal or professional growth at any other organization in Canada.
Have you always wanted to be a “Manager of Total Rewards”? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
That is a great question – I actually don’t think anyone grows up and thinks that they want to be a Manager of Total Rewards – to be honest I didn’t even know what this type of job would entail until I was months into my HR post-graduate courses. I knew that I loved math and making sense of data and also valued taking care of and supporting others – I also always thought I’d end up in healthcare, but didn’t think I was cut out to be a clinical specialist – so working in HR in the Healthcare industry just seemed to make sense!
When I was a kid I was always on stage – either in dance recitals or high school musicals, to be honest I am surprised I did not become a ballerina or join a circus.
Can you tell me a bit about your role on your team? What does a typical day look like?
I’m not sure if there is ever a ‘typical day’ at dentalcorp – that’s what I love so much about being a part of the team! On any given day in my role I could be collaborating with our Operations or HR Business Partner teams on the design of new variable compensation programs, supporting our practices in meeting their team’s benefits needs or working with our Finance team on accruals, projections and budgeting. Every day is truly different, and I never know what will come across my desk next!
If you could join another team for one day, what would you pick and why?
There are so many awesome roles at dentalcorp, but I would pick our Dental Hygiene Program team. They are always collaborating with our Operations and Practice teams to deliver amazing programs as it relates to Dental Hygiene. It is so great that we have clinical talent on our Support Centre team who can help bring best practices into our dental practices – we are so lucky to have their expertise!
How has COVID-19 changed your approach to how you do your job? How have you managed the new demands of your role and your personal life?
As it relates to my role, we essentially had to flip a switch overnight, making decisions to ensure we were taking care of our people as dental regulatory authorities across Canada imposed significant restrictions on the provision of dental services, impacting our operations across the country. We converted our homes into makeshift control centres where we worked around the clock to plan and execute like never before. It has been some of the most difficult months of our careers but working together to find solutions with amazing people always brings a team closer together. I am extremely proud of everything our team and dentalcorp as a whole was able to achieve over the past 6 months to ensure our business continues to be viable through and after COVID-19.
In my personal life, COVID-19 has brought its own set of challenges and changes. I have tried to keep up “life as usual” as much as possible and unlike many of my peers, I have not engaged in baking any type of bread. However, I did decide to move – which was likely the highlight of my pandemic experience so far. I promise – moving during a pandemic is easier than it sounds. I admit it’s been difficult to be away from my family and friends during this time due to closed borders. I will never take for granted the moments I get to spend with them, and I am looking forward to regaining my ability to travel freely throughout the world and to spend time with those who mean the most to me.
What are your aspirations for personal and professional growth? Do you have a 5 year plan?
There is so much I want to achieve both at dentalcorp and in my personal life over the next 5 years! One goal that I have for the next year or two is to complete my Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) designation. It is so important to be constantly learning and to match your professional working experience with classroom theory and professional development.
Outside of work, I really hope to get back to travelling one day soon. I have hopes of further exploring Asia – indulging at a sushi restaurant in Japan is an absolute dream of mine. So much personal growth can come from getting outside of your comfort zone and exploring new places, people, and cultures.
What advice do you have for new team members joining dentalcorp’s Support Centre?
dentalcorp is such a special place to work. It will test you in all kinds of different ways and push you to limits you didn’t even know existed. If you embrace the challenge and work in collaboration with the entire dentalcorp team, this could be the most rewarding experience of your career. Put up your hand and say you want to be part of a project that you hear is coming up, have coffee with a member of a different team to learn what they’re up to and what their team’s priorities are, attend social events and network with the team – you won’t regret it!