Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)

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The Full List: Canada’s Top 100 Employers (2018) Methodology: How our editors chose the winners



Meet the Innovators: About this year’s competition

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p Lara Nathans, a partner at the law firm McCarthy Tétrault, one of this year’s winners.

Discover the mobile edition of – the largest Canadian job search engine. Find thousands of new jobs every day, direct from employers’ websites. Read exclusive reviews from the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Visit on your smartphone today.

® ELUTA is a registered trade mark of Mediacorp Canada Inc.



( 2018 )


CANADA’S TOP 100 EMPLOYERS 2018 Magazine Anthony Meehan, PUBLISHER

Karen Le,


Editorial Team:


Kristina Leung, SENIOR EDITOR


Advertising Team:

Kristen Chow,


Ye Jin Suhe,


Sponsored Profile Writers:

Berton Woodward, SENIOR EDITOR

Michael Benedict

Ann Brocklehurst Sheldon Gordon Simon Hally

Bruce McDougall Nora Underwood Barbara Wickens

© 2017 Mediacorp Canada Inc. and The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved. CANADA’S TOP 100 EMPLOYERS is a registered trade mark of Mediacorp Canada Inc.

p Employees at Ubisoft Toronto working behind the scenes in a motion-capture studio.



ne of the most rewarding aspects of managing the annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition is stepping back from a mountain of data that our editorial team reviews to identify the longer term, more consequential trends. Our project has been fortunate to enjoy the steady support of thousands of the nation’s most progressive employers – this year set another record for applications received. This strong base of support from all sectors across Canada gives us a unique perspective into the wider forces changing the nature of employment and the challenges facing managers on the front line of this change. One does not need to look far afield for apocalyptic predictions on the future of employment. From self-driving vehicles to AI robots that will replace everyone from truck drivers to corporate lawyers, there’s no shortage of alarmist reporting on how employment will change. To be sure, the pace of change is increasing rapidly and its effects are felt across entire industries, from retail to banking. After Uber, does anyone think the taxi business worldwide will ever be the same? More thoughtful observers have already pointed out that the novelty of using your smartphone – for banking, ordering a ride or having household items instantly delivered – ought to be weighed against the adverse (and less discussed) consequences of these new business models. Yes, it’s delightful to summon an Uber driver in minutes or do banking in bed – but who benefits most from these new business models?

In our industry, publishers in Canada and elsewhere have waged a war of attrition to preserve a model that, for centuries, saw them deliver local news and stories in exchange for advertisers’ support. Today, the lion’s share of advertising dollars spent by Canadian companies ends up at two companies in Silicon Valley. “But I love to use search engines or connect with friends on social media,” you say, “and they’re free.” That’s fine, but don’t count on the merchants of distraction to bring you the stories and news that a healthy nation needs to stay vibrant. Against these concerns, there are bright rays of hope to be found among this year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The constant theme of successful innovation runs deeply through our 2018 list of winners. This year’s magazine is chock-full of inspiring stories on employers in every part of Canada that are innovating and using technology not just to stay at the forefront of their industry, but also to bring their employees along. Like nations, organizations thrive when their members develop new skills and feel confident that their future is secure in a rapidly changing world. This year’s Canada’s Top 100 Employers understand that it’s not enough to be a technology leader; what makes an organization remarkable is when they can do the same for the working men and women who make their success possible. It’s a message we hope finds a receptive ear at every employer in Canada. – Tony Meehan, Publisher


q One hundred employees at the head office of Best Buy Canada descend on a colleague for an ‘Amazing Ambush’ – an impromptu recognition for a job well-done.



( 2018 )

eet the all-stars for 2018. Like winning athletes, these organizations have to be great all-rounders to make the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The criteria is tough, asking that employers excel in multiple categories, from providing opportunities for training and career advancement to family-friendly

benefits, such as flexible working options that are redefining how people want to live and work today. Each year, a number of new organizations join the ranks while many others repeat as the best in their industry. There are 16 new names for 2018, as small as Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada with 265 employees, and as big as Alberta Health Services with 45,975.

Richard Yerema, managing editor of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Mediacorp Canada Inc., says making room for new entrants from a list of exceptional employers is one of the biggest challenges they face when deciding the winners. “Each application year, we observe employers making small incremental changes that ultimately help elevate them into the category of a top employer,” explains Mr. Yerema. “Truly, these are the employers that

continue to develop and adopt policies that define best practices for our current time, employers who understand that HR best practices evolve with the expectations of new generations. Those that do return have very much evolved and kept pace with the changes we have documented.” The result for 2018 is an outstanding list of organizations able to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly competitive environment. Well played!


–Diane Jermyn

p People view the Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont.


( 2018 )

p Line workers assemble a Lexus SUV at the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ont.

CANADA’S TOP 100 EMPLOYERS (2018) 3M CANADA COMPANY, London, Ont. Technology manufacturing; 1,944 employees. Features a fullyequipped fitness facility at head office with free memberships.


BORIGINAL PEOPLES TELEVISION NETWORK INC. / APTN, Winnipeg. Television broadcasting; 127 employees. Incorporated employee feedback in its workplace design, such as the boardroom table designed to reflect the traditional medicine wheel. ACCENTURE INC., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,576 employees. Offers new parents the opportunity to reduce their travel and work locally for one year following their return to work after their leave.

ACL SERVICES LTD., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 238 employees. Supports ongoing professional development with subsidies for tuition for courses related and not directly related to their current position. ADOBE SYSTEMS CANADA INC., Ottawa. Software publishers; 277 employees. Offers a subsidy of up to

$5,000 to parents who are looking to adopt. AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP. / AFSC, Lacombe, Alta. Financial services; 522 employees. Actively seeks experienced adjusters for their knowledge. AIR CANADA, Saint-Laurent, Que. Air transportation; 24,755 employees. Sought employee feedback on its ongoing head office renovations for everything from storage

space design to the final decor. ALBERTA HEALTH SERVICES / AHS, Edmonton. Health-care services; 43,975 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan. ARCELORMITTAL DOFASCO G.P., Hamilton. Iron and steel mills; 11,312 employees. Hosts an impressive and longstanding Christmas party for more than 8,000 employees, retirees and guests, including more than 3,000 children.


ANK OF CANADA, Ottawa. Central bank; 1,674 employees. Pursues transparent and continuous communication with its work force through employee town halls, an internal speaker


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2018 W IN N E R S ( C O N T. ) series and an annual employee conference. BASF CANADA INC., Mississauga. Chemical manufacturing; 735 employees. Revised its tuition reimbursement program to offer $25,000 annually for graduate programs and $15,000 annually for undergraduate programs. BAYER, Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,396 employees. Offers health benefits that extend to retirees, with no age limit. BC PUBLIC SERVICE, Victoria. Provincial government; 27,785 employees. Allows employees to arrange direct payroll deductions for donations to registered charities of their choosing, raising more than $1.5-million in the past year. BDC / BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BANK OF CANADA, Montreal. Secondary market financing; 2,244 employees. Offers the option to purchase up to five additional vacation days through their flexible health plan. BELL CANADA, Montreal. Communications; 37,137 employees. Created the national “Let’s Talk” initiative to support mental health awareness initiatives across Canada. BEST BUY CANADA LTD., Burnaby, B.C. Retail; 5,500 employees. Renovated its corporate office to introduce more couches, casual seating and collaborative work spaces. BIOWARE ULC, Edmonton. Software developer; 317 employees. Leads in its industry by providing support to employees through a subsidy for in vitro fertilization treatments, up to $10,000.


ANADA REVENUE AGENCY / CRA, Ottawa. Federal government; 40,207 employees. Offers phasedin work options for those nearing retirement.

CANADIAN HERITAGE, Gatineau. Federal government; 1,701 employees. Offers generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments to new moms, dads and adoptive parents.

CANADIAN NUCLEAR LABORATORIES LTD., Chalk River, Ont. Nuclear power technology and engineering; 3,278 employees. Encourages employees to get involved in the community with paid volunteer time. CANADIAN TIRE CORPORATION LTD., Toronto. Retail; 85,000 employees. Offers employees generous discounts on their store purchases as well as preferred credit card rates. CARGILL LTD., Winnipeg. Food and agricultural products; 7,665 employees. Offers a variety of in-house and online training programs, including apprenticeships and paid internships for those entering the work force. CATHOLIC CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY OF TORONTO, Toronto. Child and youth services; 510 employees. Offers employees a health spending account of up to $1,000 per year. CBCL LTD., Halifax. Engineering; 261 employees. Offers tuition subsidies for courses that are related to their position, with no maximum limit. CERIDIAN HCM INC., Winnipeg. Payroll; 1,633 employees. Created the Dave MacKay Memorial Scholarship, in memory of the company’s late president, to reward excellence in education and community involvement. CIBC, Toronto. Banking; 36,482 employees. Maintains a Retiree Advisory Committee which represents the views of the bank’s retirees on issues affecting them. CISCO SYSTEMS CANADA CO., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,727 employees. Offers employees up to five paid personal days each year, in addition to four weeks of starting vacation. COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS OF BC, THE, Vancouver. Professional organizations; 128 employees. Supports an in-house “College Fundraising Committee” that focuses charitable support on local initiatives. CORUS ENTERTAINMENT INC., Toronto. Media production and

broadcasting; 3,008 employees. Encourages employees to volunteer their time to support organizations dedicated to feeding and supporting children and families.


ESJARDINS GROUP / MOUVEMENT DES CAISSES DESJARDINS, Lévis. Que. Credit union; 41,294 employees. Features one of the tallest interior living walls in the world at their head office. DIAMOND SCHMITT ARCHITECTS INC., Toronto. Architecture; 199 employees. Encourages employee giving through matching charitable contributions as well as paid time off to volunteer. DIGITAL EXTREMES LTD., London, Ont. Software publishers; 240 employees. Lets everyone share in the company’s success with year-end bonuses and profit-sharing.


LLISDON CORP., Mississauga. Construction; 1,793 employees. Cultivates an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees. ENBRIDGE INC., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 7,650 employees. Offers an academic scholarship program available to employees’ children who are pursuing postsecondary studies. ESIT ADVANCED SOLUTIONS INC., Victoria. Computer systems design; 479 employees. Participates in the United Way’s annual fundraising campaign with employees spearheading a number of initiatives. EXPORT DEVELOPMENT CANADA, Ottawa. International trade financing and support; 1,482 employees. Head office 18-storey building was constructed to meet LEED Gold standard and designed with lots of employee feedback.


IDELITY CANADA, Toronto. Portfolio management; 891 employees. Participates in the Partners for Mental Health’s “Not Myself Today” awareness campaign.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD., Oakville, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 7,856 employees. Encourages employees to keep fit through subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and instructor-led classes.


RAHAM GROUP, Calgary. Construction; 1,051 employees. Encourages employees to keep their skills up-to-date through a variety of training initiatives, from apprenticeships and trades programs to extensive leadership training.


ATCH LTD., Mississauga. Engineering; 2,772 employees. Celebrates employee accomplishments through a range of specific recognition awards. HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN, THE, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,677 employees. Offers pension and retirement sessions throughout the year plus an online pension centre to provide employees with a convenient user experience.


MAX CORP., Mississauga. Movie theatre technology; 321 employees. Offers generous referral bonuses when employees successfully recruit a friend. INTACT FINANCIAL CORP., Toronto. Insurance; 11,750 employees. Helps employees plan for the future with defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans. IRVING OIL, Saint John. Petroleum refining, distribution and retail; 2,474 employees. Maintains the E3 Women’s Forum and “eMERGe” employee group for millennials. ISM CANADA, Regina. Custom computer programming; 792 employees. Offers monthly “coffee-break massages” that employees can take advantage of for a nominal fee. IVANHOÉ CAMBRIDGE INC., Montreal. Property management; 1,064 employees. Offers employees a range of alternative work arrangements and a dedicated onsite daycare centre for employee use.



2018 W IN N E R S ( C O N T. )

+S POTASH CANADA GP, Saskatoon. Fertilizer manufacturing; 462 employees. Experienced significant growth in the past year, opening the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years and adding more than 170 new employees. KEURIG CANADA INC., Montreal. Coffee distribution and brewing equipment; 1,398 employees. Supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions. KEYERA CORP., Calgary. Crude petroleum and natural gas extraction; 989 employees. Offers employees a health spending account equivalent to 4.5 per cent of their salary plus an additional $3,500 each year. KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,620 employees. Offers a variety of flexible work options including a Personal Care program, which provides employees with up to 50 hours of paid time off annually.


’ORÉAL CANADA INC., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,378 employees. Provides a variety of inhouse and online training programs, tuition subsidies, and opportunities for international training in Paris and New York. LABATT BREWING COMPANY LTD., Toronto. Breweries; 3,390 employees. Launched a new Better Together initiative to provide generous grants for individuals and families across Canada to help provide essentials for those living in need.

MARS INC., Bolton, Ont. Food manufacturing; 1,300 employees. Offers a unique “Pet-ernity” leave program, allowing employees to take up to eight hours off for a new cat or dog. MCCARTHY TÉTRAULT LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,272 employees. Encourages all employees to provide feedback through “idea+eXchange” sessions with the COO. MEDAVIE BLUE CROSS, Moncton. Insurance; 1,895 employees. Introduced a vacation purchase program to help employees find a little more time.

LOBLAW COMPANIES LTD., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets and grocery stores; 28,208 employees. Provides a number of communication and feedback tools to keep employees informed and up to date.

MOSAIC COMPANY, THE, Regina. Fertilizer manufacturing; 2,261 employees. Provides opportunities for high-potential employees to participate in community, professional networking and recruitment events.

ANITOBA HYDRO, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,980 employees. Maintains an Employee Fund to provide financial assistance and support to employees in need.

MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES / DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (MSF) CANADA, Toronto. Medical relief organization; 265 employees. Maintains in-house wellness programming and offers a generous health spending account.


q A MSF/Doctors Without Borders team fumigates a neighbourhood in Kinshasa, Congo, to fight the spread of yellow fever.


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ATIONAL ENERGY BOARD, Calgary. Federal government; 477 employees. Offers three weeks starting vacation plus up to five additional paid family leave days which can be used for family-related responsibilities. NATIONAL LEASING GROUP INC., Winnipeg. Sales financing; 354 employees. Maintains an employee Wellness Advisory Group to help raise awareness of wellness in the workplace. NATURE’S PATH FOODS INC., Richmond, B.C. Food manufacturing; 193 employees. Hosts an annual health and wellness week, featuring free massages, yoga classes, holistic nutritionists and biometric screenings. NAV CANADA, Ottawa. Air traffic control; 4,940 employees. Supports a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year and sets aside $130,000 for donations based on employee requests. NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT CANADA LLP, Montreal. Law firm; 1,589 employees. Hosts a National Fitness Challenge to encourage physical activity in the workplace and promote team building. NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS CANADA INC., Montreal. Software publishers; 791 employees. Maintains a formal incentive performance program as well as various awards to recognize exceptional performance.



PENTEXT CORP., Waterloo, Ont. Custom computer programming; 1,626 employees. Offers employees the opportunity to become owners of the publicly traded company through a share purchase plan.

CL CONSTRUCTION, Edmonton. Construction; 2,785 employees. Created a women’s mentoring group at its Calgary location and will be hosting a Women’s Leadership Summit. PEMBINA PIPELINE CORPORATION, Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 1,342 employees. Offers a health and wellness spending account of $1,000, allowing employees to flex

( 2018 )

2018 W IN N E R S ( C O N T. ) levels of coverage to suit their personal needs. PEPSICO CANADA, Mississauga. Soft drink and food manufacturing; 9,433 employees. Manages the Pepsi Foundation to raise funds for underprivileged children and youth. PROCTOR & GAMBLE INC., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,710 employees. Offers tuition subsidies up to $5,000 for employees and academic scholarships for children of employees, up to $2,000 per child.


.F. BINNIE & ASSOCIATES LTD., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering; 139 employees. Is an employeeowned and managed firm that continues to grow, recently opening a new office in Calgary and increasing its full-time work force by about 20 per cent. ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS INC., Toronto. Telecommunications, cable, publishing and subscription programming; 22,304 employees. Is a designated Imagine Canada company and dedicates at least 1 per cent of its net earnings for philanthropic initiatives. ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, Toronto. Banking; 52,519 employees. Manages an in-house wellness program called Living Well to encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyles.


ALESFORCE CANADA CORP., Toronto. Customer relationship management (CRM) services; 1,219 employees. Features private shower facilities for cycling commuters, private meeting areas and a lounge area with treadmill desks at its head office. SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CANADA INC., Mississauga. Communications equipment manufacturing; 555 employees. Features premium parking for hybrid and electric car commuters as well as charging stations for electric cars at its LEED-certified head office. SAP CANADA INC., Vancouver. Custom computer programming;

2,903 employees. Invested $11-million to renovate its Vancouver office, reconfiguring approximately 20,000 square feet into collaborative spaces and dedicated “thinking” rooms. SASKATCHEWAN RESEARCH COUNCIL / SRC, Saskatoon. Research and development; 336 employees. Offers flexible hours and compressed and shortened workweek options to help employees balance work and their personal lives. SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC CANADA INC., Mississauga. Industrial automation and controls; 2,663 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses, up to $13,000.


D BANK GROUP, Toronto. Banking; 46,405 employees. Maintains a dedicated Retired Alumni website and provides financial support for seven alumni associations across Canada. TECK RESOURCES LTD., Vancouver. Mining; 7,514 employees. Maintains an exceptional time-off policy, with most employees receiving three weeks of vacation to start, moving to four weeks after three years on the job. THOMSON REUTERS CANADA LTD., Toronto. Publishers; 1,180 employees. Launched an Early Careers Network in 2015 to help support early career professionals.

SEKISUI DIAGNOSTICS PEI LTD., Charlottetown. Medical diagnostic products; 125 employees. Offers numerous financial benefits including signing bonuses for some employees and referral bonuses of up to $1,500.

TORONTO, CITY OF, Toronto. Municipal government; 22,070 employees. Offers exceptional family-friendly benefits, including a full year of paid leave for new mothers, parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents and onsite daycare.

SHAW COMMUNICATIONS INC., Calgary. Communications, cable and subscription programming; 10,668 employees. Cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees.

TOYOTA MOTOR MANUFACTURING CANADA INC./ TMMC, Cambridge, Ont. Automobile manufacturing; 8,620 employees. Offers employees generous discounts for the lease or purchase of new vehicles and extends the program to their family members.

SIEMENS CANADA LTD., Oakville, Ont. Engineering; 4,022 employees. Maintains the Caring Hands Employee Committee, which helps the organization plan its corporate social responsibility program and activities. SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, Burnaby, B.C. Universities; 2,930 employees. Offers retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options to help employees transition. STRYKER CANADA INC., Hamilton. Medical equipment and supplies wholesalers; 304 employees. Established a Council of Young Professionals to help create an inclusive community across all generations. SUNNYBROOK HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE, Toronto. Hospitals; 6,362 employees. Maintains a formal staff recognition program to celebrate exceptional performance in a variety of fields.

TREASURY BOARD OF CANADA SECRETARIAT, Ottawa. Federal government; 1,895 employees. Offers employees the option to extend their parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence.


BISOFT TORONTO INC., Toronto. Software publishers; 4,043 employees. Created the Boomerang Program to provide high-performing employees opportunities to explore new career paths and positions within the company. UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK / UNB, Fredericton. Universities; 1,755 employees. Dedicated to improving environmental sustainability on campus and maintains an Institutional Sustainability Plan that outlines goals, targets and measurements.

9 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO, Toronto. Universities; 9,574 employees. Provides workshops, discussion groups and access to wide range of resources through the dedicated Family Care Office. UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO, Waterloo, Ont. Universities; 5,254 employees. Encourages ongoing employee development through its Organizational and Human Development Office, which offers a wide range of training programs. UNIVERSITÉ DE MONTRÉAL, Montreal. Universities; 5,568 employees. Offers the convenience of onsite daycare when employees who are new parents are ready to return to work.


ANCOUVER CITY SAVINGS CREDIT UNION, Vancouver. Credit unions; 2,050 employees. Offers a unique live and work co-op training option for employees interested in living in Bologna, Italy. VERAFIN INC., St. John’s. Custom computer programming; 248 employees. Encourages employees to lead active, healthy lives with a generous subsidy for gym memberships.


EST FRASER TIMBER CO. LTD., Vancouver. Sawmills; 5,643 employees. Features an open-concept office environment at its head office which showcases large cedar beams and wood details. WORLD VISION CANADA, Mississauga. Charitable organizations; 482 employees. Created a new training program for high-potential employees that features academic, experiential and cross-functional learning opportunities.


UKON, GOVERNMENT OF, Whitehorse. Territorial government; 4,233 employees. Hosts formal ceremonies to celebrate long-serving employees and recognize outstanding contributions. –Diane Jermyn


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METHODOLOGY While the selection process to choose the winners of Canada’s Top Employers continually evolves to include new questions that reflect changes in the workplace, the underlying methodology has not significantly changed since the project began in 2000. The competition for 2018 remains a catalogue of best practices. To select the winners, the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers compare each organization’s policies to others in their industry and region to see if they’re a leader. Each employer’s application is judged by rigorous criteria in eight key areas: 1) Physical workplace; 2) Work atmosphere and social; 3) Health, financial and family benefits; 4) Vacation and time off; 5) Employee communications; 6) Performance management; 7) Training and skills development; and 8) Community involvement. Canada’s Top 100 Employers is an annual national competition. Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply regardless of size, whether private or public sector. – Diane Jermyn


q The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum Nano Centre at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.


( 2018 )

q Emily Wale, a Chronic Conditions Support Manager, at the Government of Yukon.


HR: the times, they are a-changin’ Technology is changing the field of human resources, putting more power – and responsibility – in employees’ hands. Employee recognition programs are on the front line of this change. Continues next page



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p The Rector of the Université de Montréal and staff at the annual Carabins BBQ honouring the university’s sports teams.

argaret Cichosz is a Talent Acquisition Partner at the global information company Thomson Reuters in Toronto, where she is working intensely to set up the firm’s new Toronto Technology Centre. Already the count of new hires is nearing 200, just in the first year. Eventually, the unit will have 1,500 people, most of them software developers and other technologists. The demand for such tech people is huge across Canada at the moment, and companies that employ them have a reputation for coming up with every possible kind of pampering to keep them happy. Yet Cichosz was surprised by what she found. “I thought it might be a bit of an uphill battle recruiting some of the senior people we started with,” she

says. “But honestly, the uptake was just incredible. I think there are so many people in the Toronto marketplace who feel they are underappreciated at work or are putting in long hours without recognition. When we opened up these positions, you could see the enthusiasm about what we are building here. Candidates were like a deer in the headlights – oh my god, when can I join? Often these people were missing that sense of appreciation in their former workplace and were looking to get that here.” You can bet that the companies these people came from aren’t on the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Strong employee recognition has been one of the hallmarks of the Top 100, notes Richard Yerema, Managing Editor for Mediacorp Canada, which compiles the list. “Individuals all want to be recognized for good work,” he notes. “And Top 100

Individuals all want to be

recognized for good work [and] Top 100 employers have always done this in a systematic way. What has changed is the suite of

tools available.

– Richard Yerema, Managing Editor, Canada’s Top 100 Employers



( 2018 )

p The President of K+S Potash Canada opening the Bethune Mine after four years of construction and an investment of $4.1 billion. Times are a-changin’ (cont.) employers have always done this in a systematic way. What has changed is the suite of tools available.” Indeed, today a great deal of employee recognition is done by the employees themselves, online. Using internal social media systems, they can send out public kudos to colleagues for helping them out, or, when the person has been a much bigger help, send out points that can be redeemed for cool stuff, from movie tickets to flat-screen TVs. And that, in turn, has brought a mini-revolution to the thinking for employers. It has been a long time since recognition programs were built around such quaint features as “employee of the month”. But until recently, singling out staff for praise was still based on a top-down approach, managers to subordinates, often through performance management programs, bonuses, incentives – or pampering.

Listen again to Margaret Cichosz at Thomson Reuters, which has an employee appreciation system in place, complete with redeemable points (“it’s pretty much like Costco shopping online,” she jokes). “A lot of these new tech hires didn’t come from that system,” she says. “They came from startups where you get your free catered lunch, you get your dry-cleaning done, you get your pet walked – you get all these things for individuals. But you don’t get something that helps you recognize somebody else. And people want to feel appreciated, especially when they’re working as a team. “Here, it’s crazy how people react to the points system,” says Cichosz, who joined the company a year ago from a post at the University of Waterloo. “I’m new to it myself, and I like a lot. I’m working with teams in New York and other locations, and even though you’re not talking to these people face to face, you com-

municate with them on a daily basis. So the points system allows you to say, hey, I really appreciate what you’re doing and here’s something for it. It has really taken off.” Some of the names of the points systems tell the story. At Samsung Electronics Canada, they call it U r Awesome. At Air Canada, it is Shine. And the payoff can be lucrative. Last year, Leon Sang Wook Nam, Manager, Supply Chain Planning for IT at Samsung, took home $1,000 worth of gift cards, just for being Awesome. Paul Brannen, Samsung’s Chief Operating Officer, is well aware of how much of a difference this peerto-peer recognition can make. “In today’s business world, we’re moving at a thousand miles an hour,” he says. “And sometimes we don’t take the opportunity to stop and celebrate the little successes that really allow you to achieve the greater overall success of the organization. With U r Awesome, I can even do it on

my phone – send out instantaneous appreciation. It allows us to create more engaged employees because of that recognition.” Indeed, managers and leaders like Brannen send out recognition, too – usually their quota of points is higher than the average employee’s. But at Thomson Reuters Canada, they go to the next level – recognition for the recognizers. “You often hear that people leave managers, they don’t leave companies,” says Neil Sternthal, Managing Director for Legal and Tax Divisions. “We’ve put in place a leader board among managers. It identifies who’s doing the best job at supporting appreciation and promoting a culture of recognition. Because if people don’t feel valued at work, they won’t have 100 per cent conviction and enthusiasm for what they do.” Take note, non-Top 100 employers. – Berton Woodward

( 2018 )

p Personal mementos by an employee’s desk at EDC / Export Development Canada.




p Employees at the Calgary head office of Graham Group, a large construction firm.


( 2018 )

At APTN, a chance to mix excellence and community


t Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), they like to talk about “incubating” talent. Francine Compton knows all about that. With the benefit of the extensive training and mentoring that the Winnipeg-based cable network prides itself on, she has been incubated all the way from an entry-level studio position to Executive Producer. “I think mentorships are the best way for people to learn,” says Compton. “I gained all my skills and experience on the job because of my mentorships. I knew I was learning from very skilled professionals, from people who do the job every day. They’re not teachers who did the job 10 or 20 years ago.” To me, APTN is like my family. It’s my heart. Francine Compton,

Executive Producer

Compton, part of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba, joined the network in 2000, less than a year after it was founded. She had grown up in a core neighbourhood in Winnipeg before moving to the suburbs in her teens. She remembers her father, who was in the television industry himself, talking about the prospect of APTN. “My dad told me we would have our own network. I didn’t believe him,” she laughs. But she was interested in the business. She started working for an independent producer straight out of


high school, then soon moved over to APTN, where she worked as a youth reporter and a television director. Things were more informal then, but she got a lot of mentoring from the CBC directors that APTN brought in to help the new network. In 2008, after some time out in New York City, she decided to come back and take on a formal mentorship for a producer position in the news department. “It was a really good experience,” she says. “Every day there were learning opportunities.” So it seemed natural for Compton to apply for another mentorship three years later, aimed at becoming an executive producer. That eventually led to a move to Ottawa for her

current role in charge of the entire television and online news operation in eastern Canada, from Ontario to Newfoundland. That kind of intensive professional development is a way of life at APTN, says Monika Ille, Montreal-based Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling, who herself enjoyed mentorship opportunities. The network employs a wide range of corporate personnel, from finance and marketing specialists to programming coordinators. The on-camera and in-studio group, however, is mainly the news and special events staff, since by its mandate, APTN gets most of its entertainment and documentary programming from independent producers.

Ille stresses that you don’t have to be of Indigenous heritage to work at APTN, although given equal qualifications, the preference does go to such applicants. Currently, 65 per cent of employees are of Aboriginal ancestry, including 100 per cent of directors and 62 per cent of managers. She notes that the network also offers competitive benefits, including tuition support, three weeks of vacation to start and a generous maternity and parental leave top-up. The family assistance program, which in most organizations offers counselling and other services, includes access to a traditional elder healing service if desired. In fact, most employees seem to feel that the biggest satisfaction in working at APTN is how they are supporting the First Nations community. “People like to see themselves on TV and hear their own language,” Ille says. Compton strongly agrees. “APTN means a lot to the people who work there. To me, APTN is like my family. It’s my heart.”

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put your career in focus learn about APTN’s current opportunities, in front or behind the camera. visit

full-time staff in Canada job applications received last year of executive team are women of managers are Indigenous


( 2018 )

Summer student opportunities yield promising careers at AFSC

We have a really strong complement of staff that know what it’s like to farm and produce. Karla Kochan,

Senior Manager, Human Resources and Communications

With staff in more than 40 branch offices handling lending, insurance and client service, AFSC has a presence


throughout Alberta. As it brings new employees on board, the corporation is looking for people who will be a part of the province’s agricultural communities. Rob Saunders did his first stint at AFSC as part of the summer student program, which hires more than 25 students from May to the end of August each year. He spent the summer before his final year in the commerce program at the University of Alberta as part of the On Farm Inspections team doing insurance adjusting while paired up with an AFSC senior employee. “It was awesome,” he says of the many miles they drove together assessing crop damage and the lessons he learned.

Saunders was struck by how farmers growing the same crop can operate so differently. “I think as long as you’re willing to learn, you can pick up the job pretty easily,” he says, adding that inspectors are taking advantage of efficiency-increasing technology to make their job easier. A new app that detects hail damage to crops is just one of the things that can really help, he adds. After graduation, Saunders, who comes from a family that runs an 800-acre cattle and horse farm, signed on full-time with AFSC as a Lending Specialist based in Lamont, about an hour northeast of Edmonton. He lives in nearby Fort Saskatchewan and most

weekends he returns to the family farm. In contrast to Saunders, Shealyn Ronnie, another summer student who also enjoyed her work at AFSC so much she came back for a full-time job, describes herself as a townie from a rural community. She worked in the corporation’s finance and insurance divisions before landing permanently in marketing, which she calls her “wheelhouse.” “What I really like is the diversity of the people here,” Ronnie says, describing the Lacombe head office. “There are over 300 people in this location and something new is going on every day.” She works with different groups and divisions within the organization, assisting with projects and, in the process, gaining more knowledge about the agriculture industry. “I get to be close to my family but still be in business and use my degree and experience,” she says. Saunders, too, is happy to be taking advantage of his degree in a corporation that offers him plenty of opportunities to learn and grow in the agricultural world. “I’m having a blast,” he says.

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year years, average age of all employees years, longestserving employee



orking a second shift is more often associated with necessity than with passion. But at Alberta’s Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, the second shift that many employees happily choose to work is on the family farm. “I think that’s why we have a lot of success with agriculture producers in Alberta that use our services,” says Karla Kochan, Senior Manager, Human Resources and Communications, at the Crown corporation’s Lacombe head office in central Alberta. “We have a really strong complement of staff that know what it’s like to farm and produce.” For example, when early snow hit Alberta in the fall of 2016 and brought the fall harvest to an abrupt standstill in parts of the province, it was devastating for many producers. In some cases, AFSC staff members were coping with the same challenges. “There’s a huge understanding there because these employees can relate as they may be going through the exact same issue,” Kochan explains.


( 2018 )

Air Canada puts employees on top of the world


ou know things are going well for Air Canada when its leaders feel that being named North America’s Best Airline is only the start. “We want to be one of the world’s Top Ten airlines, a true global champion,” says Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice-President, People and Culture. “We want to be Top Ten in everything we do.” For employees, that means striving for excellence no matter what their role. Including overseeing fellow employees’ pension plans. That’s the job of Olivier Ouimet, Manager, Pensions, and he is just as determined to offer the best possible service as any on-board crew member or check-in staffer.

I feel very proud to work here. I wouldn’t change my job for anything. Olivier Ouimet,

Manager, Pensions

“It’s very important to me that our employees have enough money at retirement,” says Ouimet. “And it’s very important to me that they understand it all. “I really focus on the fact that being a Top Ten airline means a lot of different things in terms of service. The employees are like my customers, and we go above and beyond to help our customers.”


That spirit is what Montreal-based Air Canada is looking for throughout its entire operation, says MeloulWechsler. The company is flying high these days, with strong results, continuing international expansion, long term labour agreements with all of its major unions, and an average of 200 applicants for every job. To get one, you have to be as dedicated as Ouimet. In return, Air Canada is intent on developing its talent. Employees already have a great deal of flexibility, notes Meloul-Wechsler, and the company now offers a variety of “work-trading” opportunities. People can apply to take a long-term special assignment training other employees, or acting as a brand ambassador at major conferences. They can also try out other roles

at Air Canada, such as moving from a call centre to the airport, or from economy to premium checkin, or even taking on an acting management role, directing their peers. “There are many opportunities for employees to keep it fresh and not feel they are pigeon-holed into one career forever,” says MeloulWechsler. At the same time, a program for emerging middle management, called Leading the AC Way, or LACWay, involves cross-functional teams who compete to solve a real Air Canada problem – “like a mini-MBA,” says Meloul-Wechsler. The winners get to be part of the implementation. Employee recognition is also a big part of the mix. Staff can go to the online SHINE system to give colleagues kudos for a job well

At Air Canada, we take pride in bringing Canada to the world. Together, we are propelling forward in the pursuit of achieving new heights. #FlyTheFlag

done, or points that can be spent on everything from movie tickets to a flat-screen TV. “It really creates a culture of internal recognition,” says Meloul-Wechsler. “And it’s not a top-down thing, which is what is beautiful about it.” Then there’s the most famous airline perk of all – discounted flights on available seats that would otherwise go empty. Eleven years ago, that’s what first attracted Ouimet, who at the time had a boyfriend working for Air Canada. Now he and his spouse often take advantage of the opportunity. “It’s great to be able to go to Paris for the weekend or head to the beach in Miami,” he says. Ouimet also appreciates Air Canada’s long-time support of same-sex relationships in its policies. But most of all, he feels pride in working for the airline. “Air Canada is the only carrier with the name ‘Canada’ in its title,” he says. “Everybody knows it as the national carrier. I feel very proud to work here. I wouldn’t change my job for anything in the world.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year charities helped last year

À Air Canada, nous sommes fiers de faire connaître le Canada au monde. Ensemble, nous nous propulsons vers de nouveaux sommets. #HautLeDrapeau


( 2018 )

Personal growth drives corporate success at BASF


s part of a global chemical producer that creates and applies scientific knowledge, BASF Canada Inc. has a natural interest in developing the knowledge of its people. So it’s no surprise that the company invests in a variety of programs to help employees upgrade their education and skills. “We believe in innovating in all that we do, and that includes putting a focus on learning and development opportunities,” says Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada. “We provide an amazing platform for people to learn and really be passionate about their career development. For us, there’s a necessity to keep our talent motivated and excited about growing within the company.” The parent company, BASF SE, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was founded more than 150 years ago and is now one of the world’s largest producers of chemicals, with locations in more than 80 countries, including 11 production facilities and offices in Canada. The learning and development opportunities are quite tremendous. I’ve taken advantage of lots of them. Yat Nagpal,

Accounting and Reporting Leader

“Our company has a defined purpose – we create chemistry for a sustainable future,” says Lu. “We help customers in almost every industry meet the current and future needs of society through the use of chemistry-driven innovation.”


BASF Canada encourages employee learning through programs such as tuition reimbursement of up to $25,000 annually for graduate programs and $15,000 for undergraduate studies, and an online portal called YOU Learn, which provides training on topics ranging from sustainability and project management to marketing and leadership skills. Also available are an internal coaching program and the Canadian Development Centre, where employees develop leadership skills through a practical, immersive and introspective approach involving regional leadership. “We take pride in offering a challenging and rewarding work environment while emphasizing lifelong learning and development,” says Lu. “That mindset is ingrained into our culture of discovering and developing the best talent. By providing growth

How does chemistry enhance your life? Find out at |


opportunities, we enable our employees to better connect with our customers and have the flexibility to adapt to market needs.” One of the many employees who have benefited from such programs is Yat Nagpal, Accounting and Reporting Leader in the finance department at BASF Canada’s headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. “The learning and development opportunities are quite tremendous,” he says. “I’ve taken advantage of lots of them.” After spending the summer of 2013 as an intern while he was earning his Master of Accountancy degree, Nagpal joined BASF Canada full-time in 2014 as a financial analyst and was promoted to his current position in July 2016. “While I was studying for my Chartered Professional Accountant [CPA] designation, I was fully supported at work and was provided

with the resources and flexibility I needed to be successful,” he says. “I’m now pursuing an MBA, again with the company’s support.” From the start, Nagpal says, what appealed to him most about BASF was the diversity and the opportunities offered. “You can really tell that we’ve incorporated diversity and inclusion into the fabric of our culture. Helping people achieve their personal goals is a cornerstone of BASF.” The company’s global scope offers exciting opportunities for personal development, Nagpal notes. He took part in GRIPS, a business simulation competition in which teams from BASF offices around the world analyzed and interpreted economic interdependencies. Nagpal and his Canadian colleagues placed seventh out of the 150 teams in the competition. “The experience gave me great insight into what it takes to run a company by challenging me with situations that were beyond the scope of my day-to-day role.” he says. “It has equipped me with skills such as decision-making and group facilitation that I’ll continue to use throughout my career.”

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full-time staff in Canada job applications received last year weeks, maternity leave top-up pay of executive team are women


( 2018 )

At Bell, transformation creates opportunities of the future


t Bell Canada, innovating and transforming to stay at the forefront of customers’ constantly changing needs is the very fabric that sets the organization apart, and it is also creating an ongoing wave of new opportunities for the people who work there. Its team members, many of whom are long-serving, are eagerly embracing new ways of working – and already navigating careers of the future, today, at Canada’s largest telecommunications company. Bell’s strategic investment in advanced fibre and wireless networks gives employees a variety of options to choose from when it comes to their careers. They may find themselves working on TV innovations, trialling new wireless speeds or developing the latest Internet of Things solutions – working in fields as diverse as network engineering, marketing, broadcasting, IT, finance, human resources and legal. Anyone can have that next great idea and our leaders’ role becomes one of removing roadblocks and helping people innovate. Bernard le Duc,

Executive Vice President, Corporate Services

That variety, says Bernard le Duc, Executive Vice President, Corporate Services, means Bell can offer employees great career opportunities in a wide range of sectors. “Plus, people can move between groups,” he


adds. “That’s a breadth of experience you don’t get everywhere.” To Kathleen Liu, a Product Manager with Bell Mobility, that diversity of opportunity and culture of innovation was a perfect fit. “I get to do so many different things in an extremely supportive and innovative environment,” says Liu, who was introduced to the company in 2015 as part of Bell’s award-winning Graduate Leadership Program. “I feel a real sense of pride and ownership in my work and the opportunities to grow are almost limitless.” That’s a culture that Bell has worked hard to create, says le Duc. One example is the Network 3.0 initiative, designed to transform the way Bell delivers new products and services to market by innovating more quickly, empowering team members and allowing for experimentation. “Our philosophy is to create a work environment that’s agile and

Give your career a boost. Join a winning team. Apply today at Follow us @bell_jobs

ready to adapt to the next challenge,” says le Duc. “Anyone can have that next great idea and our leaders’ role becomes one of removing roadblocks and helping people innovate. That’s exciting for everyone.” Liu agrees. As a product buyer sourcing the latest mobile accessories, she’s worked with vendors to develop new products. “We go through many phases of prototypes and testing and we are encouraged to be creative and challenge the status quo.” That agile approach can also be seen in Bell’s approach to communicating its strategy. “With more than 50,000 employees in locations across the country, we work hard to ensure everyone understands our strategy and their role in it,” says le Duc. “We have been successful in having the team pull together around our goal to be recognized by customers as Canada’s leading communications company.”

Employee engagement is also strong when it comes to Bell’s commitment to mental health, most notably the company’s groundbreaking Bell Let’s Talk initiative. “Our tremendous support for mental health is one of the many reasons I am proud to work at Bell,” says Liu. “You never feel intimidated to talk about it and there are tons of resources and support for everyone.” To date, more than 9,300 Bell leaders have received mental health training, providing them with the knowledge and tools required to foster a healthy workplace and support employees in need. Whether it’s breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness or transforming its business culture, Bell clearly believes that embracing change leads to growth. Liu, for one, values the ability to make an impact so early in her career. “Bell is an amazing place to grow,” she says. “I get a lot of support from leadership, but I’ve never been micromanaged. They really give you the opportunity to shine and be part of developing the future.”

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your career just got better


( 2018 )

Best Buy Canada unleashes the power of its people


ne of Best Buy Canada’s core values is, “Unleash the power of our people.” Recently, feedback from the almost 200 Best Buy big-box and mobile stores let management know that employees wanted to hold more decisionmaking power so they could better take care of customers. “We needed to give them more autonomy in doing what’s right for their customers – just take the foot off the policy pedal,” explains Chris Taylor, Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’ve focused a lot on engagement and culture and we try to listen to our people and move the organization forward based on their feedback.” So many of our general managers started as seasonal employees and are now leading multi-million dollar stores. Chris Taylor,

Chief Human Resources Officer

Taylor says that what’s kept him at Best Buy Canada for more than 13 years is that culture and the people in it. And there is much emphasis on letting staff know how much they are valued. Employees at a high-performing store can be surprised by a “Be Amazing” ambush, for example, during which a senior executive shows up to an all-employee meeting – no matter where the store is in the country – with a $500 cheque to recognize and


celebrate their amazing service levels. “Acknowledging hard-working, caring employees has been very powerful for us,” says Taylor. “We’re unashamed to give massive amounts of recognition.” The job at Best Buy Canada was Laura Buchanan’s first out of university. “I thought, I’ll do this for a year,” she says. That was 10 years ago, and Buchanan has stayed with the company because of the opportunities she’s been given, all within the eCommerce department. “Every role I’ve moved into has been a newly created role,” says Buchanan, Manager of Research, User Generated Content and Administration. “There are so many opportunities. It’s great to try new things – it’s okay to fail but you have to learn from that.” The company encourages people to follow their passions. “Best Buy really cares about developing

people and is willing to invest a lot of time and resources to make sure these opportunities and resources are available so people can have a long and rewarding career,” says Buchanan. There is plenty of incentive to move around and explore new areas to find what fits your passions and career aspirations. “Ninety percent of general manager jobs are filled internally,” adds Taylor. “So many of our general managers started as seasonal employees and are now leading multi-million stores.” Best Buy Canada offers a share purchase plan to all employees and it helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan. The company is also active in local communities, particularly when it comes to connecting children with technology for their education. It supports employee volunteerism and

donates to organizations where staff volunteer. And the company address the needs of every generation on their staff – ranging from a daycare program to help its working parents to a rewards program to recognize tenure. Another core value of Best Buy Canada is, “Have fun while being the best.” For Buchanan, there’s an undeniable family atmosphere in her department that makes going through the busy, challenging times much more rewarding. “The amount of work and the amazing work that people do here is so impressive,” says Buchanan. “Being part of that community and that team that delivers on that level is really inspiring.” And they do work in a challenging industry, as Taylor acknowledges, which keeps it interesting for all involved. “Our company adapts and does very well, continuously changing,” he says. “It creates a very exciting dynamic for people who want to build a career here – another strength of our organization.”

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full-time staff in Canada job applications received last year years, longestserving employee charities helped last year


WE CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE THIS ON SOCIAL Proud to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2018


( 2018 )

From offices to wharves, BDC’s people go everywhere


very company has a mission. Not so many have managed to create the strong sense of purpose that’s shared by employees of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). “The BDC culture is all about the client. We focus on being in front of the customer and we take pride in the client experience. That’s what makes BDC what we are – we work with Canadian entrepreneurs to help them be the most competitive in the world,” says Mike Ball, Senior Account Manager at BDC’s office in Grand Falls-Windsor, Nfld., one of 122 business centres the bank operates across the country. “My clients are spread over a very large area,” adds Ball, who has been with BDC since 2006. “Many of them are in the fishing industry, so a typical day may find me on a fishing wharf or around a kitchen table. I’ve known some clients for more than 10 years and over two generations of ownership.” We look for people who get it, who identify with and appreciate working with small businesses. Michael Denham,

President and CEO

Founded in 1944 and based in Montreal, BDC is a federal Crown corporation that provides financing, advisory services and capital to small and medium-sized enterprises in all industries and at all stages of development. “We play a complementary role to the chartered banks,” says Michael Denham,


BDC’s President and CEO. “BDC is a patient, flexible lender. We assist companies in higher-risk segments and we focus exclusively on entrepreneurs.” To maintain BDC’s laser focus on the customer, “we look for people who get it, who identify with and appreciate working with small businesses,” Denham says. “Our employees come from a mix of business backgrounds. Some are from other banks and some have been entrepreneurs themselves.” BDC aims to provide a positive employee experience by offering comprehensive learning and development, an innovative recognition program, and by promoting health and wellness for its people.

Join the bank for risk takers — like Smith, Software Integrator & Designer

In addition, the bank’s close attention to its customers creates benefits for its employees at the same time. As an example, Denham cites the bank’s recent “E-first” initiative. “This enables our account managers to authorize loans from their tablets while they’re meeting with their clients,” he says. “Getting immediate approval is good service for the client but also good for the account manager. It’s still early days but there’s a sense of pride that BDC is using such a pioneering approach.” Ball is equally enthusiastic about the technology initiative: “I can take out an iPad on a wharf in Twillingate and get my client’s loan approved on the spot.”

Another recent project that enhanced both the employee and client experience was BDC’s Innovation Challenge. “We want to be innovative so we can help our clients be innovative, and to us being innovative means being better,” says Denham. “We encouraged our people to form teams to work together to develop new products and services. It was amazing how many people took part. “Not only were there tangible results that we’ll be bringing to market, such as ways of helping new immigrants start their own businesses, but it showed us how an innovation process can work.” Mike Ball’s team, a partnership with members from New Brunswick, was a finalist in the Innovation Challenge. “We had a lot of fun doing it and presenting it to top management, and now we’re working with partners throughout the bank on developing it further,” he says. “It’s a great example of why BDC is a fun place to work. We take time to celebrate our successes and the achievements of our clients.”

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No other bank is doing what we do. At BDC, we’re devoted to Canadian entrepreneurs. We’re also dedicated to our employees. Adaptable. Inspiring. Different. BDC isn’t just a great place to work – it’s a great place to reach your potential. We’re hiring.

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year years, average age of all employees

financing. advising. possibility.


( 2018 )

Trust and teamwork underpin Ceridian’s culture


hen Ceridian introduced a threemonth trial program called Take2 in May, at least one of the managers at the human capital management technology organization was dismayed. Take2 would allow employees to take two hours off once a day, any day, without prior approval. “She was predicting chaos,” Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer, says of the supervisor’s reaction. Sterling, however, had faith in the company’s people. While some employees simply relaxed – a perfectly fine use of the time as far as Sterling is concerned – others followed more practical pursuits such as doctor and dental appointments. The overall result was far from chaotic; workers returned recharged and productive. My job is to let people do their jobs and get involved only when I have to. Paul Elliott,

President and Chief Operating Officer

“People were happier and feeling more engaged, respected and loyal,” says Sterling. “That’s good for the company and for our customers as well.” The trial went so well, in fact, that Take2 has been extended throughout 2018. For Zain Jaffery, Application Support Manager in Ceridian’s Toronto office, the trust and respect intrinsic to such a program are nothing new. He joined the company in 2011, and says the leadership has always regarded him and his colleagues as people capable


of making good decisions. “As long as you’re getting the work done, nobody’s watching to see what you’re doing every minute,” says Jaffery. With nine offices in Canada, including main offices in Toronto and Winnipeg, Ceridian helps organizations to attract, develop, manage and pay their people. Ceridian is a global company, serving organizations of all sizes, in various industries including retail, financial services and manufacturing, to name a few. It offers a diverse array of careers in technology, sales and marketing, customer services and corporate fields such as finance and legal affairs. Underpinning them all is a peoplecentric organizational philosophy, an organic outgrowth of Ceridian’s grassroots culture of excellence.

We’re proud to be in great company.

The company is dedicated to work-life balance, with a wide range of programs and benefits aimed at helping employees achieve it. This includes a number of workplace flexibility programs, of which Take2 is the latest iteration, so workers can take care of family or personal business. Ceridian also supports employee health and fitness with a variety of on-site and subsidy programs. For a change of pace, Ceridian’s Fun at Work program offers activities such as its national Office Olympics, local events such as ice cream socials, and team sports like soccer so employees can interact with one another in a relaxed setting. Being people-focused also means Ceridian places great significance on empowering its employees. From the

leadership’s perspective, this means being accessible and trusting your people to do the right thing. “My job is to let people do their jobs and get involved only when I have to,” says President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Elliott. To this end, Ceridian ensures employees have all the tools, training, resources and management support they need to perform their jobs well, and lead others. For example, with TeamRelate – an integral part of Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM solution – managers and employees at all levels learn about their communication style and the best ways to interact with team members who have different styles. Empowering employees also means accepting that people will sometimes make honest mistakes. “We don’t play the blame game,” says Elliott. “The important thing is how we learn from our mistakes and move forward. We want to keep pushing trust to the next level.” For Jaffery, Ceridian’s modus operandi makes work highly satisfying. “Empowerment is only positive,” he says. “Everyone gains from it.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year of Canadian managers are women staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

CIBC employees bank on innovation to serve clients


efore Emily Kok joined CIBC in June 2013, she had never considered working for a financial services institution. Kok was working in digital marketing for a well-known Canadian retailer when a former classmate from the Business Administration program at Wilfrid Laurier University got in touch. CIBC is a great place to work, he told her, and his employer had an opening she should consider. Curiosity gave way to enthusiasm as Kok interviewed for a consultant position on the CIBC Digital Strategy team. She got the job and has never looked back, thanks to CIBC’s commitment to being the bank of the future. The CIBC Digital Strategy team looks to create engaging client experiences by enhancing CIBC’s digital platforms. We encourage client-first thinking in everything we do. And we embrace innovation to meet the evolving needs of our clients. Veni Iozzo,

Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs

“It’s a continuous cycle,” says Kok, now a Senior Manager. “We try to make ongoing improvements to our digital features and capabilities based on feedback from our clients.” CIBC was the first Canadian financial institution to make the three leading mobile wallets – Apple Pay,


Android Pay and Samsung Pay – available to its clients. It’s also moving beyond transactions, helping mobile banking clients get a clear picture of their overall finances with new features like a Free Credit Scores service and Travel Tools, an in-app feature for calculating how much a CIBC Visa card purchase will cost in Canadian dollars when travelling abroad. The bank has earned numerous kudos and awards for its digital innovations. “The purpose of technological inventiveness is to make clients’ everyday lives a little easier,” says Veni Iozzo, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. “We encourage client-first thinking in everything we do. And

we embrace innovation to meet the evolving needs of our clients and give them options to bank where, when and how they want.” Iozzo knows all about innovation. She’s held a variety of roles within CIBC and spearheaded numerous game-changing initiatives, from introducing new financial products and services that impacted the entire industry to developing campaigns to deepen client relationships. Her latest venture is leading the team responsible for the evolution of CIBC’s workplace strategy, including the move to the bank’s new global headquarters, CIBC Square. In June, CIBC broke ground in downtown Toronto for a new state-of-the-art urban campus where

some 15,000 CIBC employees will work. “This is a multi-year, enterprisewide transformative project that will create a truly modern work environment to enhance collaboration and innovation for our clients,” says Iozzo. Her track record illustrates the career within a career that’s possible at CIBC – and others are following in her footsteps. In May, Kok was the first employee to take part in an exchange program with National Australia Bank, one of a number of strategic partnerships CIBC has formed. Kok spent four weeks with NAB in Melbourne, working with their digital team and identifying opportunities for future collaboration. Kok took on another big task in 2017, organizing CIBC’s first all-women hackathon, where teams collaborated and produced ideas to address the unique financial planning needs of their female clients. Hackathons typically attract more men than women, but the XX Design Challenge saw more than 500 women apply for 150 openings. Says Kok, “It’s just another way that CIBC is providing amazing opportunities for all of their employees.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year of employees are women million invested in community

Proud to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for six years in a row. CIBC is more than a bank. We are an inclusive community and a client-focused culture where talented minds can connect and thrive. As a team, we are building the bank of the future. To learn more, visit CIBC Cube Design & “Banking that fits your life” are trademarks of CIBC.


( 2018 )

EDC helps its clients and employees grow


hen Stephanie Butt Thibodeau took a job at Export Development Canada, she figured she’d stay for two or three years and then move on. That was 20 years ago. Like so many other employees at EDC, an Ottawa-based Crown corporation, Butt Thibodeau has had many careers without ever leaving the building. Starting in an insurance-related position, she moved to Business Development, on to Financing and then to Human Resources, where she is currently Senior Vice-President. “I have had the opportunity to have multiple careers in one place,” she says, “and to work with some fantastic people who really want to make a difference for Canada.” When you think of a large organization, you would think it would be hard to make changes. But at EDC they encourage change and encourage continuous improvement. Ross Dilks,


Export Development Canada is a national export credit agency that provides financial and commercial services to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. “Our mandate is to help Canadian companies go, grow and succeed internationally,” she explains. “We attract really, really strong talent who could work anywhere in the world but choose to


work here because they want to make a difference.” Butt Thibodeau’s career trajectory is common at EDC. One of the many draws of the company is that employees are offered various opportunities to learn and grow and try new things. An emerging leaders program helps EDC employees who have been identified as having leadership potential get on track for greater responsibilities. “It’s a very positive work climate,” says Butt Thibodeau. Indeed, a January survey confirmed an 86 per cent engagement score among the staff. “People typically come and they stay,” she adds. “We will see movement within the organization but our external turnover is very low.” Ross Dilks started in a student position at EDC almost two years ago. “In university we were told that as millennials, we are expected to change

careers as many as 10 to 15 times,” says Dilks, who is an Underwriter. “I’ve spoken to so many senior employees here at EDC who have found fulfilling careers with a variety of work opportunities within the same organization.” Other benefits include free roundthe-clock access to a fully equipped gym and exercise classes ranging from boxing and spin to outdoor running. And there is generous time off; despite the fact that Dilks is a contract employee, he still gets three weeks paid vacation plus two floater days and time between Christmas and the new year. ““It keeps your head in the right place,” he says, “and when you go back to work you’re ready.” In addition, EDC provides post-secondary academic scholarships for employees’ children as well as a scholarship program for undergraduate studies in international business.


EDCers meet one-on-one with managers regularly and can discuss career development and ongoing issues. Management has also refreshed their Career Framework, which provides greater clarity and information on roles and disciplines across the organization and what skills and competencies are needed to move up or sideways. And EDC boasts an “amazing” student program, Dilks says, hiring approximately 60 students for the summer. “It means they are investing in the next generation. In order to compete and stay relevant, EDC recognizes the importance of hiring recent grads.” Staff learn to approach everything with four mindsets: that of a player, of an activist, of an entrepreneur and of one who is engaged. “When you think of a large organization, you would think it would be hard to make changes,” Dilks says. “But at EDC, they encourage change and encourage continuous improvement. No matter how big or small the issue, I am enabled to create a problem statement and identify potential solutions and implementation strategies to improve the way we work. It’s empowering.”

1,482 402 26,935 28

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year charities helped last year


( 2018 )

Fidelity’s investments start with its employees


idelity Canada is an investment company that invests in its employees. The firm prides itself on fostering a culture of continuous learning and continuous improvement. “An employee needs to have more than just a job to be engaged,” says Diana Godfrey, Vice President, Human Resources. “We love to hire people who want to grow their careers with us.” Part of the global Fidelity organization, Fidelity Canada is one of this country’s leading investment management firms. It is headquartered in Toronto, with regional offices in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, and has more than 1,000 full-time employees. Typical of recent positions filled are financial analyst, market research analyst, SalesPath associate and digital media specialist – not to mention more than 30 students taken on each semester. There’s much that we can learn from people who are newer to the workforce. Diana Godfrey,

Vice President, Human Resources

The company provides professional development not only by training its employees and sending them to conferences but also by offering opportunities for secondments, mentorship, project work and networking. Allison Betts, a Content Marketing Manager, has benefited from a variety of learning opportunities. She joined Fidelity in 2013 as a sales coordinator


shortly after graduating from university, then entered the three-year sales development program, which covers everything from investment knowledge to presentation training. “This was a chance to hone my sales skills, to become more proficient and comfortable in presentations,” she says. At the same time that she was taking the sales development program, Betts capitalized on the firm’s reimbursement for external courses to upgrade her qualifications – earning her Canadian Securities Course (CSC) and Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designations. Fidelity is also proud of its Mentor Match program. In addition to traditional mentoring, where a senior manager advises a more junior employee, Fidelity’s program includes reverse mentoring, where executives are

mentored by younger employees, and peer-to-peer mentoring. “Reverse mentoring has opened up our thinking and facilitated the sharing of ideas,” says Godfrey. “There is much that we can learn from people who are newer to the workforce. Technology is a good example.” Betts drew upon her earlier positions at Fidelity to mentor a peer in client services who was interested in the sales department. Having risen to senior business development manager before moving to her current role in mid2017, Betts was able to discuss the sales development program with the mentee. She calls the experience “incredibly rewarding,” and says the mentorship went both ways. Fidelity’s employee resource groups underline its commitment to diversity and inclusion. They include Pride (for

Outstanding employees create a culture of success.

LGBTQ staff), Aspire (for Black and Latino), an Asian group, a women’s leadership group, and, most recently, Enable (recognition of varying abilities). “They are employee-driven communities for sharing ideas and experiences,” says Godfrey. “They have taken on a life of their own, helping the business by educating us and reaching out into the community.” The Aspire group partners with Junior Achievement to teach financial literacy (“Dollars with Sense”) to school children. After discussion with Enable members, Fidelity partnered this summer with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to provide placements for two students from its Ready To Work Program. “The placements worked so well that we have already offered them jobs for next summer,” says Godfrey. For the past three years, Betts has participated in the women’s leadership group. She values the cross-organization networking it makes possible. “I have met women from across the firm, from different backgrounds, roles and levels of experience,” she says. “It is an open and encouraging group.”

891 290 10,724 39.3

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year years,average age of all employees


( 2018 )

With custom programs, Graham nurtures future leaders


hen Ryan Simpson joined Graham 13 years ago, he knew that he wanted to work in construction, and he didn’t want a desk job. Other than that, he says, “I was green as grass.” At the time, Graham was still small enough that Simpson could readily identify the skills he’d need to advance and the people who could help him to do it. With a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, he started as a project coordinator and quickly learned the ins and outs of his job from his supervisors and managers as he moved from one site to another. I met more than 600 people in the organization. Now, if I have an issue, I think through my mental Rolodex and pick up the phone. Ryan Simpson,

Construction Manager

Within a year, Simpson had transferred to Edmonton, where he took on more responsibilities on more complex projects. But Graham was expanding rapidly and would soon outgrow its informal approach to career development. “We’re now a seven-level organization,” says Mark Frezell, Graham’s Vice-President of Human Resources in Calgary. “We’re a $2.5-billion company, with more than 1,000 employees, and we have aspirations to become even bigger.” Initially, Graham relied on thirdparty providers for training and development programs. But in 2014,


company leaders decided to develop an in-house suite of programs to identify, mentor and train individuals for more senior positions. With this in mind, the company recruited employees from all areas of its operations, including Ryan Simpson, to develop the programs. “I took a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from operations to work in HR with a group of leaders from across the company,” says Simpson, now a Construction Manager for Graham in Edmonton. “We developed content and curriculum in a collaborative effort to create the Builders’ Framework program, which is a structured mentoring and training program that we could use as the company grew.” The program now includes 28 accredited courses in construction and estimating that employees can apply toward their Project Management certification.

The Builders’ Framework is just one of several custom career development programs that Graham has created to assist employees as they work toward leadership positions in the company. Another suite of programs, called Leadership Transitions, focuses on developing leadership skills, teamwork and customer partnerships. Graham also offers employees a custom mentorship program and individual career development plans, as well as access through Graham’s e-Learning Portal to hundreds of learning assets covering such subjects as business skills development, software applications and leadership skills development. Through an internal website, similar to LinkedIn, called Building Leaders, individual employees post details about their work and educational experience, previous positions and skills as well as a talent profile of their particular

interests, goals and personal aspirations. “Senior managers use it when we’re looking for candidates,” says Frezell. Custom career development programs not only help Graham and its employees to meet their goals, they also attract high-quality job applicants. “Our recruiting team actively markets these programs,” Frezell says. “People join Graham not just for the immediate job but for their next job as well. We want them to grow, build their careers and advance as far as they want to go.” Senior leaders actively participate in succession planning to identify internal high-potential employees. To Simpson, Graham has allowed him to follow a “non-linear career path. I like to change things up after I get comfortable,” he says. As for the time he spent on the Builders’ Framework, Simpson not only “gained an appreciation for the collaborative effort required to roll out a training program,” he says, “I also met more than 600 people in the organization. Now, if I have an issue, I think through my mental Rolodex and pick up the phone. In our company, people are glad to help you out.”

1,051 318 23,116 39.4

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year years, average age of all employees


( 2018 )

Hatch cultivates entrepreneurs with a technical soul


ith a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and bioengineering from McMaster University, Nishit Patel already anticipated a compelling work environment at Hatch. But from the day in 2012 that he joined the company, Hatch has guided him toward a future that has already exceeded his expectations. Established in 1955 in Toronto, Hatch provides engineering consulting for the infrastructure, mining and energy sectors. With more than 9,000 employees in 150 countries, including about 3,400 in Canada, the employeeYou can walk into the CEO’s office and have a conversation with him. It’s just part of our business culture. Nishit Patel,


owned company has been involved in projects ranging from nickel mines in Australia and hydropower in Guatemala to the Sheppard subway in Toronto. “Even before I joined Hatch, I loved the kind of work the company does,” says Patel, now an Analyst with Hatch Advisory, the company’s management consulting and business and investment planning group. Hatch takes pains to ensure that employees like Patel remain focused and motivated while contributing to a culture driven, as CEO John Bianchini says, “by entrepreneurs with a technical soul.” During their first four years at


the company, for example, new employees participate in a professional development program that involves on-the-job training, networking events and in-class education for engineering, leadership and business skills. Hatch also depends on formal and informal mentorships that support young employees in mastering quickly the skills they need to do their jobs well. About eight months after Patel joined the company, he began a twoyear master’s program at McMaster with the company’s support. Working at the time in Hatch’s iron and steel group, Patel was involved in managing projects in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont. “My degree program was projectbased,” he says, “so I could tie it in with my work.” After four years with the company, Patel had finished his master’s program and hadn’t lost his

enthusiasm for engineering projects. But he’d also developed an interest in financial modeling. After discussing next steps with his manager, he assumed his current role as an analyst for clients in steel and general metals, which involves him in both areas. “Now I help clients to understand the scope of projects and develop strategies to execute them,” he says. “I’m looking at the bigger picture, but it still requires an engineering background.” Patel usually spends six to 10 weeks on a project, often traveling to project sites throughout the world, including Turkey, Dubai and South Africa. “We’re focused on professional services for both small and large projects where we bring differentiated value to our clients,” says John Bianchini. “And as a privately held company not connected to stock markets, we’re able to control our own destiny.”

This enables Hatch to take a long-term, anticipatory and holistic approach to problem-solving, he says. It also allows the company to focus on the long-term career growth of employees like Patel. Through formal and informal systems of mentorship, employees exchange information, advice and insights about the organization. “A lot of these interactions are very personal,” says Patel, “and they happen organically. But there’s also a framework here to support the formal mentorship structure.” Hatch’s flat corporate structure encourages employees to interact and communicate, regardless of their role or title. “Our board of directors and other senior leadership participate in the active day-to-day operations of our business,” says Bianchini, “and they remain accessible to any person, regardless of tenure, in our organization.” As Patel observes, “You can even walk into the CEO’s office and have a conversation with him. It’s just part of our business culture.”

3,400 540 64,021 15%

We embrace your vision as our own.

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year in Canada job applications received last year of new hires in 2017 were female


( 2018 )

‘People Matter’ is at the heart of Irving Oil’s culture


hat’s at the root of Irving Oil’s success? “It all starts with our people – our employees and our customers,” says Executive Vice-President Sarah Irving. “They’re the reason why we’re here today.” This sentiment stems from the company’s beginnings, she notes. “My grandfather, K.C. Irving, who founded the company in 1924, always gave credit to Irving Oil’s employees and customers for helping him to build the business. My dad, Arthur Irving, and his late brother Jack, similarly commended our employees’ hard work and our customers’ loyalty in helping our company grow. It is the energy that our employees bring to the business every day that drives this company forward. Sarah Irving,

Executive Vice-President

“That spirit remains at the heart of Irving Oil today,” says Irving. “It is the energy that our employees bring to the business every day that drives this company forward.” Julianne deSoto has spent 25 years with the Saint John, N.B.-based downstream oil and gas company. She says that the company’s “People Matter” ethos “is hugely important to me. I would not enjoy my job as much as I do if I didn’t feel


connected to the people whom I work for and with.” DeSoto started at Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery – Canada’s largest, processing 330,000 barrels of oil a day – as a plant technical services engineer involved in day-to-day operations. She was promoted in 2015 to a technical manager role and, in May 2017, to Director, Technical & Planning. In her current position, she is responsible for some 80 employees and has a more strategic focus. “Irving Oil certainly invested in me and gave me the chance to grow,” says deSoto. The company supported deSoto’s education by providing her with the opportunity to attend technical courses and conferences, such as the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers’ annual meeting, which is considered the world’s premier refining event.

Already an accredited chemical engineer when she first joined the company, deSoto benefited from its support in earning her MBA degree from the University of New Brunswick in 2012. Helping employees to set, and meet, professional development goals is important to Irving Oil – so important that the company includes a development objective in every employee’s annual performance plan. The company has been in hiring mode this past year. There were 115 new positions created at Irving Oil in Canada in the last 12 months. The majority of these jobs involved IT, supply management, finance/ accounting, professional drivers and engineers. “In our recruiting efforts,” says Irving, “we look for a strong cultural fit – for individuals who want to

be a part of a team, to learn and to grow with our company.” As part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, Irving Oil has two employee resource groups that organize networking and learning and development events for their members. The Women’s Forum has been in place for more than 10 years and has more than 700 members focused on engaging and empowering females in the workforce. The “eMERGe” group, led by millennials, started in early 2017 and now has close to 400 members. As part of its broader commitment to the community, the company provides employees with meaningful opportunities to volunteer with local organizations. Says Irving: “Across our business, whether we’re delivering fuel to a neighbour or volunteering at a local event, we’re committed to our customers and to our communities – to provide the best possible experience. That all starts right here with our team.”

2,600 363 17 66

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year weeks, maternity leave top-up pay years, longestserving employee


( 2018 )

Coffee company Keurig Canada has plenty of perks


f you thought the coffee trends of the past few decades might have been played out, think again. According to Stéphane Glorieux, the president of Keurig Canada Inc., coffee is set to become even more ubiquitous in the future. Single-serve Keurig K-Cup pods have “literally been a revolution,” he says. “And we’re only starting. This is definitely a very exciting business to be in.” As coffee knowledge has grown, the tastes of individual drinkers have become more refined, paving the way for the single cup servings. Keurig coffee makers are now present in 25 per cent of Canadian households, offering consumers both convenience and choice. Coffee compromises have become a thing of the past. Keurig seems to always find a way to offer me new career opportunities to support my growth. Jason Rakovitis

Senior Manager, Partners

Toronto-based Jason Rakovitis joined Keurig Canada in 2014 after noticing the company, which has its headquarters in Montreal, was actively hiring. He researched Keurig, liked the high growth rates he saw, and applied to work as a national account manager. He began with a grocery chain account, added a national pharmacy to his brief, switched to another grocery chain, and then moved on to manage a top hardware retailer where he was involved in promoting and selling coffee makers as well as pods.


“Keurig seems to always find a way to offer me new career opportunities to support my growth,” says Rakovitis who enjoys changing things up and keeping motivated with new challenges. Just recently, he was promoted into a position where he works with partner brands developing new pod products and helping them grow within the Keurig ecosystem. Keurig Canada offers over 180 varieties of beverages from more than 35 brands including Keurig-owned Timothy’s and Van Houtte, which is about to mark its centenary. For the first time, Rakovitis is also taking on management responsibilities, something he had told his managers he wanted to do. “I’ve had great mentors in the past, they heard me, and we

Brewing A Better World  Together TM

identified a role that would be a good fit,” he says. Glorieux says he’s extremely open to having people try out different jobs, something he himself has done over his decades in the food and consumer packaged goods industries. “If you are hired in finance, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have an opportunity to play in different functions. I feel that in today’s world, that equips folks to be better business people. It makes us dynamic.” Employees can switch it up by making their wishes known, as Rakovitis did, or, in a more structured way, through the new Caffeine program which involves formal rotations through different roles over a three-year period.

Other employee programs include Keurig’s Origin Trips, which bring employees to coffee farms where they experience harvesting and the life producers lead. “We have pretty strong values and we’re very in tune to make sure folks here can make a difference,” says Glorieux. In keeping with its goal of “Brewing A Better World”, Keurig Canada is on track to make all K-Cup pods in Canada recyclable by the end of 2018, a commitment that prompted the company to retool its factory in Montreal to produce pods in recyclable No. 5 polypropylene. And Keurig Canada’s CAFE program (Community Action For Employees) enables employees to volunteer up to 52 hours each year during their work time. Rakovitis, who has a good friend who lost his vision in Grade 12, uses his hours to support Canadian Blind Hockey. Throughout the year, he helps out at learn-to-skate programs and also at an annual tournament. It’s a benefit he really values and very different from another favourite company perk -- the free coffee he orders each month and gets to enjoy at home.

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year charities helped last year staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

Teamwork fuels success at Keyera


hen Tanis Wong graduated from the University of Calgary, she hoped her degree in electrical engineering would help her secure a job in Alberta’s energy sector. But it was 2009, a tough year in the oil patch. When Calgary-based Keyera Corp. offered her a position in its HR department, she jumped at the opportunity. “I saw it as a chance to get my foot in the door, and am grateful to be part of such an extraordinary company,” she says. As one of Canada’s largest midstream energy companies, Wong saw the business grow first-hand, and learned the value Keyera places on career development within the company. “Keyera is a great place to work because they’re open-minded in helping employees progress their careers.” We do better work when we work together to accomplish our goals. David Smith,

President and CEO

Three years later, there was an opening where she could apply her technical skills. A senior executive encouraged her to consider the position, which she accepted and has since grown her skills in business development and operations. Today, Wong is a Business Development Representative for Keyera’s Fort Saskatchewan storage and fractionation facility 40 km


northeast of Edmonton. Her responsibilities include liaising between operations and management as well as working with commercial customers for the plant’s natural gas liquid (NGL) products. To aid her transition, Wong worked in Fort Saskatchewan for eight months. Wong relished the opportunity to see first-hand how the complex facility functions. And the highly skilled workers were generous in sharing their expertise. “Everybody was so willing to teach me,” Wong says. “They knew that when I got back to Calgary, I could use that knowledge in my work every day.” That warm reception exemplifies a team culture found throughout Keyera. President and CEO David Smith notes that teamwork features on the list of the company’s values, which was developed by employees themselves and embraced by senior executives. “We do

better work when we work together to accomplish our goals,” says Smith. Smith was one of a group of executives at Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. who seized an opportunity to enter the midstream market when the oil giant decided in 1998 to sell off some of its non-strategic assets. They formed a spinoff focusing on natural gas gathering and processing, as well as NGL processing, transportation, storage and marketing. The company, which went public in 2003, continues to grow and evolve as it makes further investments and acquisitions. Nearly all of Keyera’s infrastructure, including over 4,000 km of pipelines, is in central Alberta. Many of its 24 facilities for storing, processing and/or transporting its products are located in small communities, like Fort Saskatchewan and Drayton Valley.

Since its inception, Keyera has worked hard to be a good neighbour. As well as placing a high priority on health, safety and the environment, its charitable initiatives focus on community enhancement. Most recently, Keyera supported a local elementary school outside of Houston and near the company’s only U.S. terminal, by purchasing new curriculum materials following Hurricane Harvey. In addition to its supportive workplace environment, the company also offers its employees industry-leading training, and competitive pay and benefits. Altogether, it’s a winning combination. “We have one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry,” says Smith. “A lot of our employees have been with us for 10 to 15 years.” Wong is one of those staying put. “These days in Calgary, it’s easy to jump ship for a job that pays as well or better,” she says. “But a satisfying career is one of those things that money can’t buy. That’s where Keyera is second to none.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year charities helped last year


( 2018 )

Labatt brews a culture of innovation for its people


essica Sinclair has been with Labatt Breweries of Canada since 2015 and feels she has already made a difference. Very soon after joining the company, she played a key role in developing a new product that’s now being sold in western Canada. Sinclair, currently a Territory Manager in Toronto, attributes her early success to the company’s culture of innovation. “It’s at the heart of everything we do at Labatt,” she says. “Innovation is encouraged for all employees, no matter where in the company we work. We’re given resources and support to come up with new, better ways of doing things. LABATT EMPLOYEES HANNAH SIMPSON (LEFT) AND JESSICA SINCLAIR CELEBRATE THE LAUNCH OF A NEW PRODUCT

We’re given resources and support to come up with new, better ways of doing things. Jessica Sinclair,

Territory Manager

“My personal experience is rooted in product. Early on I was part of a team of eight people, all right out of school, who were presented with a problem,” says Sinclair, who was involved in a management trainee program at the time, working on a project to build a new brand. “Labatt is always looking to reach new consumers and new occasions, and we didn’t have a product to meet the needs of a certain group of customers. “After a lot of work and late nights we came up with a solution. Our idea was so strong it was put on the

market. We worked with a brewing team to come up with the right product and a marketing team on packaging and promotion, and also with finance and logistics on how to offer it to consumers. “The product is called Vescent. It’s refreshing and health-conscious, with a light lemon cucumber flavour and low alcohol and calorie content. It was launched recently in B.C. and Alberta as a pilot project and it’s doing well. “This was an exciting lesson for me in how Labatt values innovation and encourages its people,” says Sinclair. “Every day, every challenge we’re given is a real-market problem.” Labatt, based in London, Ont., where it was founded 170 years ago, is now part of the Anheuser-Busch

InBev brewing and beverage company with global headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. The drive for innovation is ingrained in the corporate culture and comes from the very top, says Agostino De Gasperis, Labatt’s Vice President, People. He refers to the company’s Ten Principles, which are found on the company’s website and shared with other Anheuser-Busch InBev operations. One of the principles states: “We must select people who, with the right development, challenges and encouragement, can be better than ourselves. We will be judged by the quality of our teams.” “At Labatt we try to foster an environment where people can contribute to something important,” De Gasperis says. “At the core we

all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Innovation fits into all of this – we need to find innovative ways to give our people the opportunity to succeed, whether they’re new recruits or people who have been here for a while. “We want to give them a feeling of belonging, a sense of ownership. We look for people who are very bright and motivated but also want to be part of something. We say to them, ‘What if you owned your own business? How would you act? We want you to feel the company is yours.’” Sinclair enjoys the informality of the office where she works in downtown Toronto. “The managers sit with everyone else,” she says. “There are no walls. I can walk up to anyone, a vice president or whoever, to discuss ideas.” That’s all part of the innovation process, says De Gasperis. “Our managers want our people to feel comfortable coming up with ideas and taking risks.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year charities helped last year staff volunteers last year

PEOPLE THAT INNOVATE. IDEAS THAT INSPIRE. Our Dream is to bring people together for a better world. Proud member of the Anheuser-Busch InBev family


( 2018 )

Medavie Blue Cross invests in building healthier lives


oon after he joined Medavie Blue Cross eight years ago, Jeff Bremner experienced first-hand what is so special about this not-for-profit benefits provider and administrator of health-related, life and long-term disability insurance products. Knowing about Medavie’s reputation as a congenial workplace, Bremner expected a warm welcome as a rookie account executive. However, he was surprised by how warm. “Early on, I joined two other longstanding account executives for a routine business review,” Bremner recalls. “They suggested some brokers and consultants they felt would be a good fit for me and transferred those accounts to me, despite the impact it would have on their own incomes. “I was surprised. In my previous position with a competitor, the account executives were very territorial. But at Medavie Blue Cross, we look out for each other and do what’s in the organization’s best interest.” We look out for each other and do what’s in the organization’s best interest. Jeff Bremner,

Toronto Sales Manager

Now Sales Manager for Medavie’s Toronto office, Bremner says taking less for the greater good is part of the corporate culture. “When we are adding new people, determining the client alignment is a collaborative process,” he adds. “We are all prepared to give something up for the greater good. Everyone here roots for everyone else’s success.”


Medavie Blue Cross President Eric Laberge also noted the caring attitude and generosity he found when he joined the company five years ago after more than two decades in the private sector. “Here, we leave our egos in the hallway,” Laberge says. “It’s common for people to make suggestions for improving how we operate that may not fit in with their immediate personal interests. Bottom line: we all want to do what is best for the company and our clients.” Laberge believes strongly in transparency and openness. There are monthly employee information videos and regular executive road shows to inform staff of how Medavie is performing and their role in ensuring its success. “We think of it like building a house,” he says, “and everyone needs to understand what bricks they need to bring along.” Being a not-for-profit, Medavie can take a long-term view. “We don’t have to worry about shareholders and quarterly results,” Laberge says. “We can

concentrate on helping Canadians live healthier lives.” Nevertheless, Medavie Blue Cross, with its head office in Moncton, N.B. and a strong presence in Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada, is profitable. Most of the returns are reinvested in the company and its people, and an annual social dividend is invested in the Medavie Health Foundation that supports three core causes: child and youth mental health, Type 2 diabetes, and posttraumatic stress disorder. “Giving back in this way demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of Canadians,” says Laberge. Medavie also encourages its employees to support their communities in other ways. They can get time off for charitable activities, and the company will donate $500 to any charity where an employee has volunteered 50 or more hours. Work-life balance is also valued. Laberge personally reviews the more

than 100 pages of employee suggestions that emerge from the company’s annual engagement survey. One that just saw the light of day was the option of purchasing an additional week’s vacation, spreading the cost over the year. More than onequarter of the employees have taken advantage of this opportunity. A comprehensive employee recognition program is another way to demonstrate appreciation for staff efforts and boost morale. A few years back, Bremner was surprised when he received a personal letter from Laberge congratulating him on winning a Value Champion citation for “anticipating and responding to customer needs,” one of five award categories. A fellow employee had nominated him without his knowledge. “Everyone wants to feel that their efforts are recognized,” Bremner says. “There’s a real sense of pride when you’re nominated by a colleague. But even better was nominating someone else and seeing their reaction when they won.” Just another example of Medavie Blue Cross’s caring culture.

1,930 75% 175 7,000

full-time staff in Canada of employees are female charities helped last year staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

Reducing suffering and saving lives at MSF Canada


wo decades ago, Tiffany Moore took on a freelance assignment that changed her life. At the time a graphic designer and arts administrator, Moore was designing a poster for a photographer who had recently been to Colombia to chronicle a humanitarian medical intervention by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). “I decided to change my career completely,” says Moore. “I was looking for something more meaningful to do.” Starting as an office volunteer in 1998, Moore has since worked for the international non-profit medical relief organization in various capacities. Currently based in Toronto as MSF Canada’s Human Resources Director, she has also helped the organization deliver front-line emergency care to people affected by crisis in Afghanistan, Siberia and South Sudan, among other places. I have never had a day at MSF where I’ve not looked forward to coming in and doing my work. Patrick McConnell,

Career Manager

“Personally, I find it’s incredibly meaningful work,” says Moore. “Not many employers offer the chance to help save lives and reduce suffering for populations in danger in some of the most neglected crises in the world.” Moore’s rich and varied career arc is not an unusual one at MSF. Career Manager Patrick McConnell had a background in international development, so when he got a job


in MSF’s fundraising department in 2009 he was thrilled. After two years in the office, staff can apply for a leave of absence to work in the field; since he started, McConnell has had two postings to the Congo and an assignment in Ivory Coast. “Before I joined MSF, my first job was in an office outside of the city I was living in downtown Toronto, I had a miserable commute and I just dreaded going to the office,” he says. “I have never had a day at MSF where I’ve not looked forward to coming in and doing my work.” Having worked in both MSF’s Canadian offices and its field operations, McConnell has seen firsthand the organization’s humanitarian impact. “Helping 60,000 kids receive

vaccinations in Congo, a place where preventable diseases still kill thousands of people every year, was inspiring,” he says. There are also opportunities to learn and develop in the home offices. MSF Canada offers tuition subsidies for job-related courses, mentoring and coaching initiatives and subsidies for professional accreditation. And staff have a great deal of autonomy. “There’s a lot of space to try new ideas, learn things, work on projects that may not be your forte and really have a voice,” Moore says. “Recently, in protest against attacks on our hospitals, such as the devastating bombing of Kunduz in Afghanistan, staff at MSF Canada developed the #NotATarget campaign that has since been adopted

globally by other major humanitarian organizations.” Still, a job at MSF Canada isn’t for everyone. “MSF demands a lot of you,” says Moore. “If there’s a big emergency, we all roll up our sleeves to do what it takes.” Nor is it the organization for anyone for whom salary is the foremost concern. “We want people to come work with us because they want to make a difference – they’re motivated by what we do,” she adds. But MSF more than compensates for that fact with a robust benefits package. In addition to the enrichment subsidies and regular health benefits, the organization offers a generous vacation package and maintains in-house wellness programming and a health spending account of up to $5,000. Then there are the incredible opportunities for travel and, McConnell and Moore agree, inspiring people to work with. “We’re all kind of on the same team, so to speak,” says McConnell. “Even if you’re several degrees removed from work in the field, you feel that you’re having an impact, no matter what your role in the organization.”

64 201 4 50%

THE SKILLS YOU HAVE ARE THE SKILLS WE NEED. Learn more about joining our team. Check out

full-time staff in Canada staff abroad in field programs weeks starting vacation allowance of managers are women


( 2018 )

Mosaic nourishes its emerging leaders early


fter two years as a consultant, Aaron Brown joined The Mosaic Company in 2011 on the recommendation of a former classmate from the University of Regina, where he’d earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering. Having spent his life in the city, he knew about Mosaic primarily through the company’s name on Mosaic Stadium, home of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, and through its extensive community involvement, from contributing to educational programs to volunteering at the city’s homeless shelters. Some of my peers would return from their work-term placements and say they’d spent their time counting cracks on a highway. But the students who came back from Mosaic had a much more practical experience. Aaron Brown,

Senior Engineer

“I also knew that the company challenges its employees to excel, even students who join the company for a work term as part of their co-op program,” Brown says. “Some of my peers would return from their work-term placements and say they’d spent their time counting cracks on a highway. But the students who came back from Mosaic had a much more practical experience.” With more than 2,200 employees in Canada and more than 9,000


worldwide, the Mosaic Company leads the world in the production of phosphate and potash crop nutrients. To sustain and build on its leadership in the industry, the company provides employees with a range of opportunities to become leaders themselves. “We focus on the entire employee value proposition,” says Lisa Poissant, Mosaic’s Vice President of Human Resources at its Regina headquarters. “That includes excellent pay, benefits and pension plan, but it also includes support in areas like physical, financial and psychological wellness, so employees can be their best at work and at home.” In his first five years with Mosaic, Brown participated in several companysponsored programs, including change management and emotional intelligence. “But the best one was the Emerging Leaders Program,” he says. First conducted in 2016, the sevenmonth program provides coaching and mentoring support to 10 junior

employees who demonstrate leadership potential. In monthly meetings with his coach, Brown says he was able to fine-tune specific aspects of his career development objectives. “It also helped to have someone from outside the company bring a different perspective to our meetings,” says Brown, who now works as a Senior Engineer at Mosaic’s potash operation in Belle Plaine, about 20 kilometres east of Moose Jaw. “It really helped me to improve my day-to-day leadership skills, little things like making sure I was more available to people who report to me.” Offered for the second time in September 2017, Mosaic’s Emerging Leaders Program provides individuals like Brown with a broad overview of the company’s operations, gives them an understanding of the roles and responsibilities involved in running such an extensive and complex business and exposes them to the company’s current leaders.

“Through mentoring and coaching, the program helps our future leaders in the organization to build their knowledge of our company while accelerating their development,” says Poissant. “It’s part of our holistic approach to leadership development.” In addition to nurturing front-line leaders, Mosaic has developed programs to enhance and refine leadership skills at every level of the organization, including senior executives and mid-level managers. “Altogether,” says Poissant, “about 300 people have completed one of our leadership programs in the last two years. “We look to empower our people,” she continues. “We understand that people make a good organization great and that every individual can make an impact.” For Brown, strong leadership is one of the reasons why he has encouraged former classmates and colleagues to join Mosaic. “There’s competitive pay and benefits,” he says, “but it’s the intangibles like management support that make the difference.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year charities helped last year


( 2018 )

National Leasing stresses innovation – and fun


very year, Michael Dubowec clears his desk, packs up his computer and moves to another office in the building. Actually, the National Leasing Senior Executive Vice President doesn’t have a traditional office. He works out of a doorless cubicle, just like all the other company senior managers, including the President and CEO. And every summer, they rotate to another area. “At first, it was tough,” says Dubowec, “but now we would never go back to the isolation of a closed space.” The National Leasing office shuffle reflects the Winnipeg-based company’s emphasis on transparency and innovation. “I get to interact with new people, get fresh ideas, learn new things,” Dubowec says. “We know that our employees are our experts. And we want to ensure that work doesn’t become mundane for anyone, that it’s fun.”

The smallest things really can make the biggest difference. Sandy Rozecki,

Director, Strategy & New Business Research

Adds Sandy Rozecki, Director, Strategy & New Business Research, who has had several different jobs in her nearly 15 years at the company: “When you see the executives moving around, it makes you more willing to take on new challenges.” The annual office rearrangement is not the only “fun” initiative at Canada’s leading equipment-financing company,


which helps businesses, small and large, acquire the tools they need for success, from trucks and tractors to software and office infrastructure. Other National Leasing employee-directed fun activities include Friday lunchtime hockey games in the winter when employees get to check their bosses, champagne breakfasts to celebrate sales successes, and free membership at the onsite fitness facility. “If you are not having fun at work,” says Dubowec, a company hockey regular, “you are probably not putting your best foot forward with our customers or at home. We rely so much on our people, the ones who are closest to our clients and know our business best, that it only makes sense that we do everything possible to make them happy.”

For her part, Rozecki is an avid user of the corporate gym and its free programs. “The smallest things really can make the biggest difference,” she says. “They show management has a caring attitude about how we work as well as how we feel.” Last year, National Leasing won the prestigious Operations and Technology Excellence Award from the U.S. Equipment Leasing and Finance Association for its state-of-theart online quoting system, National Leasing Interactive. What made that achievement extra special is that it was largely employee-driven, an example of empowerment and innovation dividends. Explains Rozecki: “We first created a cross-disciplinary employee team, people of different levels, different

genders, different cultural backgrounds, to address the challenge of how to make life easier for our equipment dealer clients. We proposed a plan to develop a mobile system for generating instant financing quotes. From the start, senior management supported us and provided the resources and time we needed to bring our idea to fruition. They trusted us and the award was icing on the cake.” National Leasing, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, also offers generous compensation, including a share-purchase plan, matching RSP contributions and low-interest home loans for all its coast-to-coast employees. It pays 100 per cent of health-plan premiums and provides perks such as a community garden, free fruit every second Tuesday and free lunches at allstaff meetings once every six weeks. But most of all, says Dubowec, people join and stay at National Leasing because they realize they “will be empowered here a lot faster than other workplaces.” He adds: “And they stay with us because they see how we encourage and support their ideas and professional growth. Our employees can and do make a difference.”

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years in business


of managers are women

full-time staff in Canada

charities helped this year

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( 2018 )

NAV CANADA guides its employees toward success


ommercial and private pilots who fly in Canadian airspace know they can rely on NAV CANADA to help them reach their destinations safely. The private, not-for-profit company is one of the most respected air navigation service providers in the world. Similarly, air traffic controllers and other employees of NAV CANADA know they can count on the company to help them succeed in their work and careers. Headquartered in Ottawa, NAV CANADA is responsible for civil air navigation services for the entire country as well as about half of the North Atlantic airspace. It operates more than 1,000 groundbased navigation aids across Canada and handles approximately 12 million aircraft movements a year, making it the world’s second-largest air navigation service by traffic volume. The vast majority of our managers come from within the organization and we believe it’s extremely important that we equip them for success. Raymond Bohn,

Senior Vice-President of HR

NAV CANADA’s employees work in air traffic services – from air traffic control to services such as flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information, airport advisory and electronic aids to navigation. Other essential corporate functions include human resources, finance and information management.


“We offer excellent career opportunities and support our employees in many ways, including performance management programs, strong recognition programs and learning and development,” says Raymond Bohn, NAV CANADA’s Senior Vice-President of Human Resources. One example is Thrive, a voluntary peer support program the company has developed for employees involved in air traffic control services. The training is rigorous and emotionally intense for students and instructors alike. “I didn’t know much about aviation when I started with the company,” says Rosanne Sim, who has been an air traffic controller in Edmonton for eight years. “All my training was provided by NAV CANADA. “What I really like about Thrive is that the company saw the need for it and offered it,” says Sim, who is now a

peer and coordinator for the program at the company’s Edmonton Area Control Centre. “They recognized that the training is stressful for everyone. The program helps by providing peer support and mentorship. “It’s a step above the usual employee assistance programs because peers have insight into the job and what it involves. They’ve been through it. It’s a comprehensive approach to looking after employees’ health and well-being.” NAV CANADA also strives to help its managers progress and succeed. “We’re very focused on leadership and management effectiveness,” says Bohn. “The vast majority of our managers come from within the organization and we believe it’s extremely important that we equip them for success. One way we do this is through an onboarding program called Accelerate.” In this program, employees who have recently been appointed or

promoted to management learn from other leaders about their new responsibilities and what will be expected of them. They gain a greater understanding of the organization’s strategic direction and the various HR programs and services that are available to support them as people managers. As well, Accelerate is designed to enhance new managers’ business acumen and enable them to begin building business networks throughout the company. “As managers move to more senior levels, they may take part in our CEO Leadership Forum, where a small group of leaders work directly with the CEO over a two-day period, discussing leadership issues,” says Bohn. All three programs are relatively new initiatives, a sign of NAV CANADA’s ongoing commitment to preparing its people for success. That, in turn, has contributed to the company’s global reputation for excellence. “With so many opportunities for growth and development, a career with NAV CANADA gives employees the opportunity to do exciting work that matters,” says Bohn.

4,846 185 400+ 300+

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full-time staff in Canada staff volunteers enrolled in Thrive program employees volunteer in peer support programs charities supported last year


( 2018 )

Nuance delivers AI solutions to the world’s largest companies


hen reaching out to your choice of airline, retailer or bank, the old phone routine no longer applies. Instead, consumers today are contacting customer service through artificial-intelligence-powered virtual assistants that are accessible not only by phone but also via mobile SMS, online chat and home devices like Amazon Alexa. Through a few natural-language commands, you can pay your bills, book a flight or check on a shipment. In the past, you were asked your name, date of birth and mother’s maiden name at the start of your call to verify you were who you said you were. Now, you can be authenticated through voice recognition, simply speaking to validate your identity, no longer needing to remember multiple pins and passwords. Such innovations are among the solutions that Nuance Communications, provider of cognitive and conversational artificial intelligence, is focused on. Employees across the Canadian offices are harnessing the power of machine learning and biometrics to help enterprises deliver better, smarter customer service. Our recruiting strategy is to hire for entry-level positions and grow the individuals into higher-end positions of more responsibility. Anthony Mancini,

Vice President, Professional Services

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“The company’s culture is one of excitement and pride in being part of something big – not only for Nuance, but for society in general,” says Anthony Mancini, Vice President, Professional Services. “In our enterprise division, for example, we are deploying solutions to the largest call centres and contact centres in the world.” Nuance hires mostly engineering and computer science graduates for its professional services, R&D, technical support and quality assurance divisions. It also hires individuals with linguistics backgrounds because of its work on voice recognition. “Our recruiting strategy is to hire for entry-level positions and grow the individuals into higher-end positions of more responsibility,” says Mancini. The Montreal office, with nearly 700 employees, is the global organization’s largest R&D site, and second in size to the head office in

Burlington, Mass. “With our growth comes opportunity for people at every level,” says Mancini. “If we have a manager position or a director position open up, we will look first for internal candidates.” Among other approaches, the company grooms its employees at “Nuance University,” an internal training program that allows them to add skills and keep pace with industry standards. “Nuance University has a huge list of courses for training and certification for the various Nuance products,” says Jason Nico, a Principal Systems Integrator. Nuance’s internship program recruits approximately 150 students a year, but whether they are interns or permanent hires, Nuance makes a point of pairing its newcomers with a senior employee who mentors them. “In professional services, we try to assign new people to customer projects immediately, because that’s

the best way to learn – on the job, with a more senior person coaching them,” says Mancini. Nuance has a strong employee referral program that pays $1,500 to $10,000 for referrals. In addition, Nuance has a popular internal transfer program that welcomes employees moving into new areas within the organization. Sylvie Djihanian, a Principal Project Manager with a degree in computer engineering, has had the opportunity of rotating through several different teams. “I have been fortunate to taste a bit of everything,” she says. “For the past three years, I’ve been on a new team – cloud services, where we host our products in a cloud environment. I’ve been learning every day on my job.” “The team at Nuance is incredible,” says Nico. “There are a lot of smart, fun people who make coming to work enjoyable. The teams collaborate often, which makes you feel part of the solution, and allows us to have direct feedback into the designs of our future products. Nuance has always been there to help me grow my career.”

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full-time staff in Canada interns hired each year weeks, starting vacation allowance current open positions in Canada

10/16/15 4:36 PM


( 2018 )

There’s a pipeline of inspiration at Pembina


n a recent town hall meeting at Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corporation, one of the questions for management was, “Will we still maintain the family-oriented feeling with all the growth we’re going through?” The answer? “It might feel larger, but we’re going to fight every step along the way to keep a family culture.” Earlier this year, the company put $3 billion worth of projects into service and acquired Veresen Inc., increasing staff to around 1,600 from 400 in 2010. As Pembina CEO Mick Dilger explains: “We were once owned by a single family and we value our family culture. We work very hard at preserving that.”

At Pembina, it’s ingrained in the culture to have your leader supportive of your career. Robin Prashad,


That culture is one of the many draws of Pembina. Robin Prashad has been at the company for 18 months as an Accountant in the financial reporting stream. At first, he was attracted to Pembina by the competitive salary and benefits – “fantastic,” he says, compared to other, similar businesses. One standout is the $1,000 each employee receives for anything health-and wellness-related – a gym membership or a new bicycle, for example. But Prashad has come to appreciate the many other benefits of working there, particularly how important it is


for management that employees are engaged and challenged in their work. “At Pembina, it’s ingrained in the culture to have your leader supportive of your career,” he says. His boss checks in with Prashad quarterly to see, among other things, if there are any other roles in the company he might be interested in. “There’s a lot of emphasis on advancement and trying different things,” he adds. “They don’t want you to get bored and leave.” Pembina also pays for courses that help staff to grow and develop into different roles in the company. And they offer secondments so that employees can try different jobs. “Leaders are good at finding out what direction you want to head in and they make every effort to

Dynamic growth. Dynamic people. Build your career with Pembina. To find out more, get connected at

get you into something similar in the company,” says Prashad. Making employees feel valued is important to Dilger. “When people complain about the company they work for, it’s usually because they don’t feel like a valued part of the organization,” says Dilger, who has been with Pembina for 13 years. Recently, Pembina gave every employee an additional week of holiday in 2018 as thanks for the hard work and extra time spent on implementing its record capital program and on the acquisition of Veresen. “Due to technology, people are almost always connected to their work and that’s an expectation most companies now have,” he says, “but it’s not lost on us that you have to

give something back to make it feel like a fair deal.” Pembina gives back to more than just its employees. Not only does it support everything from fire departments to food banks in its operating communities, but the company also encourages its staff to do the same, matching employee donations to no limit and providing grants for volunteer hours. Through its signature community investment initiative, Fuel 4 Thought, Pembina helped provide 120,000 breakfasts for children in local communities during the last school year. Dilger says the purpose of his company is fourfold, and without giving equal consideration to each of the four, “you’re doomed.” To Pembina, success comes from having happy employees, growth and expansion, doing a good job for the customers who pay the bills, and having a good relationship with stakeholders. “We believe those investments in the community and our employees have a high return,” he says. “It’s not quantitative, it’s qualitative. If you have 1,600 inspired employees, that’s how you make money. They don’t want to let you down.”

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full-time staff in Canada years, longestserving employee charities helped last year staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

Mentorships help Binnie build for the future


or a junior employee, a mentor provides support, guidance, insight and encouragement based on years of experience. At R.F. Binnie & Associates, the relationship works both ways. Strong mentoring relationships have helped Binnie to create a workplace that reflects the evolving priorities of its employees. In addition to educational allowances, fitness credits and transit allowances, for example, Binnie accommodates employees who prefer to commute to work by bicycle or who form car pools and who may not even own a vehicle. “I learn so much from the people I mentor,” says Sharon Goddard, Knowledge Leader and Senior Project Manager at the company’s head office in Burnaby, B.C. We can teach a person how to design or manage a project, but we can’t teach personality or character. Sharon Goddard,

Knowledge Leader and Senior Project Manager

Founded in 1969, Binnie has earned a reputation for its high standards in civil engineering, surveying and project management services that it delivers to public and private-sector clients. An employee-owned firm, the company offers profit-sharing and referral bonuses of up to $5,000 for employees who recruit candidates from their personal networks. “When I started my career,” says Goddard, who joined Binnie in 2011 after working in the public sector for


more than 20 years, “you almost took it for granted that everyone owned a car. Now, if employees have to make a site visit, we don’t tell them they need a car. We have an arrangement so they can use a Binnie vehicle. We even raise this point in job interviews.” With 200 full- and part-time employees across six offices in B.C. and Alberta, Binnie has laid the groundwork for its future growth, in part, by responding to the changing priorities of its employees. But as Goddard observes, the company’s growth will not come at the expense of its distinctive culture. “With new employees, we look for fit,” she says. “We can teach a person how to design or manage a project, but we can’t teach personality or character.” In fact, Goddard says, “we would rather leave a position open than hire the wrong person.”

Binnie’s search for individuals who fit into the firm’s culture extends to university co-op programs. Every year the firm hires a small number of students for a work term while they complete their undergraduate degrees. And even these students receive the support of an experienced mentor in the company. Paul Docherty, for example, learned from his mentors at Binnie about the intricacies of civil engineering as a co-op student at the University of British Columbia, and was surprised to discover that he had a passion for design. Since he joined the company full-time in 2015, Docherty has pursued his passion, working with municipal-government clients on local road rehabilitation, major road network upgrades, subdivisions and various other infrastructure projects while he pursues his professional engineering designation.

Since these projects involve complex design challenges, Docherty frequently turns to his mentors for advice and support. “In designing projects we bring together stakeholders from government and private contractors, and we have to make sure we’re fair to all parties,” he says. “In tough situations, I can talk with my mentor, who can help me to handle all the information and all the different people involved.” As Docherty points out, mentoring at Binnie extends beyond immediate work-related issues. “We talk about everything from transferable skills and qualifications to tough situations involving design, communications and project management.” As one of 35 employee-owners of Binnie, Sharon Goddard appreciates the importance of strong mentoring relationships in supporting her firm’s expansion. “Younger people today have a much broader scope,” she says. “They concern themselves much more with the quality of their job, and we need to keep pace. If we look after our people, they’ll look after our clients.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year years, average age of all employees


( 2018 )

At RBC, employees are creating exciting futures


s Canada’s leading bank and one of the country’s largest employers, RBC has long been known as a trailblazer in many spheres – including its relationship with employees. Two years ago, the bank held a global “Vision & Values Jam” in which its 80,000 employees worldwide were invited to redefine RBC’s vision and purpose in a nonstop 55-hour online session with the CEO and top leaders. Now, says Chief Human Resources Officer Helena Gottschling, the bank is building on successes like that with what is known as “design thinking” as it deals with the increasingly disruptive changes affecting the financial services industry. It’s a recognition that jobs, workplaces and RBC itself are evolving quickly. And for employees, there’s a nice ring to it.

In this new world of work, we are looking at employees as consumers of workplace experiences. Helena Gottschling,

Chief Human Resources Officer

“Our organization has done an amazing job over the years of focusing on the client experience,” says Gottschling. “Now, in this new world of work, we are looking at employees as consumers of workplace experiences. So, as with the client experience, how employees experience


working at RBC is a key priority for us in terms of their engagement.” For RBC, “design thinking” – a methodology that encourages solutions-based, creative-style approaches to problems – means involving the end-user from the start when developing something new. As an example, Gottschling points to the idea of a new HR program that traditionally would have been conceived at a leadership level, subjected to focus groups, and rolled out to employees. “Now we’re saying, let’s engage employees early on and find out what’s really important to them,” she says. “We want to ensure that we clearly understand the problem we’re trying to solve and that we’re really listening to employees about what matters most. That will

then inform what we need to do and why.” Another example was the Jam, which led to an adjustment of RBC’s values and the creation of its new purpose statement, “Helping clients thrive and communities prosper.” RBC has also recently updated its approach to work-life balance, with changes to parental leave for fathers and adoptive parents, and to mental health issues, with a new benefit of up to $3,000 for psychological support for Canadian employees. “These are proof points around employees being consumers of workplace experiences, and what we can offer to improve that experience based on what we hear from them,” says Gottschling. The bank is also focusing intensely on learning, she says. “It’s not just

about going on a one-day course, It’s the idea of always learning, and how we are helping employees in that continuous learning journey. In three or five years, there’s probably no job in the bank that will look or feel exactly the same, and we want our employees to be confident they can adapt.” Jeremy Zavitz is one of those employees. A Professional Services Specialist who joined RBC in Toronto in 2016 after studies at Durham College, he has already seen how such cutting-edge elements as artificial intelligence are affecting his area, where he deals with managing and vetting contracts for the bank. “I think there are going to be a lot of surprises in the industry,” he says, “but RBC has been anticipating these challenges very well.” Looking ahead, he says, he believes he’ll have the tools to move around the bank into other interesting roles. “Every time there is technological change, it opens up new kinds of opportunities for people,” says Zavitz. “I believe there will be a lot of career opportunities going forward at RBC.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year of managers are women staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

At Samsung Canada, everyone needs to be tech-savvy


hen you’re one of the world’s leading technology companies, you can offer a lot of special perks and recognition to your employees. Just ask Leon Sang Wook Nam at Samsung Electronics Canada. To start with, Nam gets a chance to see the latest technology from Samsung, sometimes before it’s available to the public, displayed in the lobby of the company’s LEED-certified Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. The building features an onsite gym, subsidized cafeteria and “idea rooms” to promote collaboration. SAMSUNG EMPLOYEES AT THEIR ANNUAL OFFSITE EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION DAY

This is a company in which people care for each other and our community. Leon Sang Wook Nam,

Manager, Supply Chain Planning for IT

But more to the point, there’s the recognition his own colleagues provide. Nam is the Manager, Supply Chain Planning for IT, making sure the latest Samsung innovations get to where they are supposed to go. Last year, Nam was part of a team that won a Samsung Excellence Award for a solution they came up with due to changes in the company’s outsourcing practices. “We made the process more efficient, which saved money and streamlined things internally,” he says. “We were extremely excited

to win the award and earn the recognition of our team.” Nam has also benefited from the Samsung employee recognition system, known as U r Awesome, in which colleagues can thank each other online with kudos and award each other points that can be redeemed for cool products and services, including Samsung’s range of smartphones, TVs, tablets and home appliances, or donated as funds to a Canadian registered charity. “This is a company in which people care for each other and our community,” says Nam, a graduate of Western University who joined in 2012. “I put a lot of effort into my work, and I have met great people and great managers here – we trust each other. I call it my second home.”

Such sentiments are music to the ears of Paul Brannen, Chief Operating Officer. “Our employee engagement score is 70 per cent, and I think that’s a testament to how you keep good people and attract good people inside of an organization,” he says. “The innovative tools that we offer clearly keep people engaged, along with the technology itself and the ever-changing evolution of this business.” This is all the more important as Brannen and the rest of the Samsung Canada leadership team seek to recruit the best and brightest to a company that holds the No. 6 position on Interbrand’s “Best Global Brands” list for 2017. As the company brings more innovations to the “connected home” and “the

Inspire the World, Create the Future. Where Canada’s brightest talent meets cutting edge technology. Find out more at

Internet of things” – where your fridge can communicate with your smartphone to say that you’re running low on milk – Samsung Canada is looking at a wider range of job applicants. “We are always looking to hire individuals who are passionate about the lifestyle benefits of technology, or developers and programmers – people who are excited to build local content and services around the technology,” says Brannen. Samsung Canada already has a sizeable R&D centre based in Vancouver but its technology needs are national, with offices located in Mississauga and Montreal as well as at newly integrated subsidiaries in Halifax and other cities. Moreover, says Brannen, nowadays everybody who works at Samsung has to be tech-savvy. “When you look at our product management group, people have changed from being traditional product marketers to being technology marketers, a very different sphere and space,” he says. “And that’s how you attract technologyoriented people.”

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full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year years, average age of all employees charities helped last year


( 2018 )

Sunnybrook has a healthy prescription for leadership


atima da Costa was having a crucial conversation. As coordinator of the Education Advisory Council at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, she works with education and professional leaders to ensure that the goals of the hospital’s strategic plan for education are met and to organize the annual education conference. Da Costa was in a work-related conversation with a colleague during which emotions ran high. To defuse the tension, da Costa drew upon the communications skills she learned at a course called Crucial Conversations. What I am most proud of are our continuing-education efforts to bring our people together across professions. Dr. Andrew Smith,

President & CEO

“The discussion had a positive outcome,” she says. “I think everyone at Sunnybrook would benefit from the course and learning how to handle a high-stakes conversation.” The course is one of 100 nonclinical offerings of the Sunnybrook Leadership Institute, which provides learning opportunities on how to be a Sunnybrook leader and a better manager in general. The courses or certificate programs are open to all emerging and existing leaders across the hospital’s diverse workforce, including, among others, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists,


physiotherapists and social workers. Says Dr. Andrew Smith, President & CEO: “You not only want to bring the best people onto your team but then provide opportunities for them to get better. What I am most proud of are our continuing-education efforts to bring our people together across professions.” “Health care is a team sport,” he explains. “Especially at a hospital like ours, which takes care of some of the most acute, complex conditions – like trauma, burns and strokes – you have to nurture and grow people, but you have to do the same for teams. Most of our offerings seek to bring together a wide swath of our professionals and of staff in general.” The institute focuses on the development of three levels of leaders: emerging leaders – not yet in a management position, but future leaders – developing leaders – who

are already middle managers – and advanced leaders – who are usually at the director level and should be role models for others. Since 2014, over 11,000 staff and physicians have participated in the institute’s workshops and programs. “There are a variety of ways in which we present the learning,” says Marilyn Reddick, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development & Leadership. Some courses, such as Finance 101, which explores the intricacies of health-care budgeting, are created by in-house content experts. Others are created in partnership with the York University and University of Toronto business schools and taught by their professors at Sunnybrook, while others, like Crucial Conversations, are licensed from proprietary providers and taught by Sunnybrook instructors.

“It is not about just taking a course,” says Reddick. “It’s about making what you learn part of your work day. Participants are asked to do an evaluation at the end of the course, and then again, six months later, to see whether it has translated into dayto-day leadership.” The institute offers nine programs, each comprising five to seven courses. Participants who complete a program receive a certificate. Da Costa, who has been with Sunnybrook only four years, has already earned two certificates. She joined 400 coworkers in a graduation ceremony in September. In addition to the nine programs, there are numerous other educational sessions and just-in-time learning, depending on projects within the hospital. “When people go to these courses,” says Dr. Smith, “they not only benefit from the content but it’s also a new way to interact with their colleagues across professions. They learn in unexpected ways just by being together in a different type of setting.”

6,362 76% 73% 58%

full-time staff in Canada of employees are women of managers are women of employees are visible minorities


( 2018 )

TD empowers employees with inclusive and innovative culture


nyone who thinks a banking career has to follow an established or traditional pattern should talk to Roger Bruggeman, Manager of Innovation in Personal Banking Operations at TD Bank Group. Since 1990, he has built his own unique career path that has taken him into areas as diverse as credit card scoring, fraud prevention, collections, information management and automation. “The bank has always been willing to adjust and be flexible to help me in my career and offer me challenges,” says Bruggeman, who is based in Mississauga, Ont. “I have had the opportunity to work with very creative people who encourage me to try new things and take chances on my ideas.” The corporate culture that allows such career flexibility didn’t happen by accident. TD is focused on being a leading employer now and in the future, fostering innovation and creativity.

We believe that a great customer experience starts with a great colleague experience. Bharat Masrani,

Group President and Chief Executive Officer

The company is committed to helping employees achieve their full potential by setting clear expectations, investing in their development, and providing the opportunities and resources they need to be their best.


“We believe that a great customer experience starts with a great colleague experience,” says Bharat Masrani, Group President and Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Group. “We work hard to create an inclusive and supportive workplace where our colleagues feel empowered and valued.” As the organization evolves, it aims to provide new opportunities for employees to gain many different experiences and build varied careers, whether they follow traditional or nontraditional paths. “TD’s capacity to adapt has always been one of our greatest competitive strengths,” Masrani says, enabling the bank to achieve its objectives of assisting customers to meet their financial goals, building an inclusive workplace, and

strengthening communities through volunteerism and efforts around the environment. “We are only as successful as the communities we serve, which is why helping them thrive is critical to our success.” Last year alone, TD contributed more than $100 million to a wide variety of charities, and more than 30,000 TD employees registered with the bank’s volunteer network to connect with and support causes they care about, donating more than 127,000 hours over the year. As well, TD has maintained its commitment to remain carbonneutral. Since becoming the first North American bank to achieve this, back in 2010, it is now a recognized leader in green bond financing, and the only

TD is proud to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.

Canadian bank listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. “We continue to rethink and reimagine how we live up to our purpose of enriching the lives of our customers, colleagues and communities. This includes simplifying the way we do things and empowering our people with the aim of being more responsive and more relevant in what we offer,” says Masrani. Simplifying the ways things are done is one of Bruggeman’s responsibilities in his current position in TD’s Personal Banking Operations. “We are constantly improving processes, finding new ways of saving time and creating efficiencies for our customers and our colleagues,” he says. Masrani emphasizes TD’s commitment to putting customers first. “We are here to listen to our customers, to help them achieve their financial goals and feel more confident about their future,” he says. “And we know we can only do this by fostering an inclusive culture and providing our colleagues with growth opportunities and a great place to do meaningful work.”

46,405 14,887 41.7 127,888

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year years, longestserving employee staff volunteer hours last year


( 2018 )

Teck Resources mines its workforce for talent


nce a week, the senior leaders of Teck Resources Limited, including President and CEO Don Lindsay, meet for two hours to discuss issues within Teck’s 13 global operational and functional divisions, from Base Metals and Energy to Finance and Corporate Development. “We call them The Wednesday Group,” says Dean Winsor, Vice President of Human Resources at the Vancouver head office. In addition to their weekly sessions, the Wednesday Group also meets twice a year to spend four hours discussing the company’s future leadership. “In that meeting,” says Winsor, “the group focuses on upcoming retirements and on promising individuals, identified by their managers, who might take over the roles.” Even with close to 10,000 employees located on two continents, Teck has developed a consistent and sustainable management system for identifying and cultivating future leaders, he says. It’s important for senior people right up to the CEO to hear the names of upcoming employees. Dean Winsor,

Vice President of Human Resources

“We have four different leadership development programs,” says Winsor, “all part of our strategy called Building Strength With People.” In one of the programs, for example, called Leading for the Future, front-line staff share best practices and learn from


their colleagues about strengthening their management and leadership potential. Other programs focus on developing leadership skills of mid-level and senior staff, often with third-party facilitators. Equally important to its long-term success, managers at every level of Teck’s divisions meet with individual staff employees to discuss their annual objectives and again, after six months, to assess their performance and progress and review development objectives and career interests. As they identify potential leaders, Teck’s managers pass along their names to their own division leaders. By the time the Wednesday Group meets for their four-hour bi-annual meeting, they know “who’s ready and who’s a rising star in the company,” Winsor says. “It’s important for senior people right up to the CEO to hear the names of upcoming employees.” One of the names that percolates

through the company ranks is Kate Lafferty. Graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University, Lafferty joined Teck partly because she wanted to return to western Canada, where she’d grown up in Powell River, about 120 kilometres up the Georgia Strait from Vancouver. She also wanted to work in the mining industry and had already spent four months at Teck’s operation in Trail, B.C. as part of her co-op program at McGill. In the last nine years, Lafferty has far surpassed her initial objectives. As a future leader, Lafferty has already spent time at five different locations with Teck, including Richmond, B.C., Kotzebue, Alaska, and Millertown, Nfld., where she helped the company in closing its Duck Pond mine. Over that period, she has held a variety of positions, including process engineer

See Yourself at Teck

and metallurgist, and acquired an MBA. Now a Business Analyst in Teck’s Corporate Development division, Lafferty says, with some understatement, “There’s lots of opportunity here to explore different areas.” And Teck has a lot of areas to explore. As Canada’s largest diversified resource company, the company is involved in steelmaking coal, copper, zinc and energy production in locations from Alaska and Canada to Chile and Peru. To manage such a multi-faceted company, Teck’s leaders need a broad and informed vision. To this end, says Winsor, “we try to expose future leaders to various parts of the company.” Lafferty, for example, assumed her current role in January 2017 after returning from a leave of absence to obtain her MBA at UBC. Focusing on financial modeling and value assessment of large-scale projects, “I’m learning how the financial side of things works,” she says. “Ultimately, I’d like to combine finance with engineering.” When she’s ready, it’s a sure bet that the Wednesday Group will know about it.

7,514 471 26,331 45

full-time staff in Canada jobs available last year job applications received last year years, average age of all employees


( 2018 )

Thomson Reuters drills for today’s ‘oil’ – information


f you’re a techie and want to be in Toronto, Margaret Cichosz has a message for you: “We’re hiring.” In the offices that house Thomson Reuters Canada, there will eventually be up to 1,500 new workspaces for software developers and other digital specialists who’d like to be part of the famed global information company. Cichosz, a Talent Acquisition Partner, has been working for a year to help staff up the Thomson Reuters Toronto Technology Centre, scouring the Toronto-Waterloo corridor for talent, as well as applicants from across Canada. It’s an exciting place to work because it’s a truly global company but it’s also a Canadian company. That offers unique opportunities to people in this country. Neil Sternthal,

Thomson Reuters Canada Managing Director for Legal and Tax Divisions

“We’re building a team from scratch,” she says. “We expect to have 200 people by the end of 2017 and plan to reach up to 1,500. It’s an exciting time to join because there is so much opportunity. We have a culture of being new, and people are attracted to that.” The technology team will be supporting Thomson Reuters products and services worldwide, such as its finance, risk, tax and legal applications, as well as the


legendary Reuters news agency, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big-data analytics. “We’re a jeans and T-shirt kind of place,” says Cichosz. “Nobody has their own office. We’re all working together collaboratively.” The expansion is related to Thomson Reuters’ 2016 decision to move some of its senior leadership to Toronto from New York, making it a Canadian-based global company with some 50,000 employees in well over 100 countries. That makes it all the more attractive to Canadian recruits, notes Neil Sternthal, Thomson Reuters Canada Managing Director for Legal and Tax Divisions. “We are working with the ‘oil’ of the 21st century – knowledge and information,” he says. “We are also combining information and technology, which we’re really good at. So it’s an exciting place to work because it’s a truly global company but it’s also a Canadian company. That offers unique opportunities to people in this country.”

Outside of the new tech centre, which operates globally, Thomson Reuters Canada employs over 1,200 people who focus mainly on providing high-value content, information solutions and services to Legal, Financial Services and Tax & Accounting customers. The company is also Canada’s largest legal publisher. These teams require a wide range of specialties, from journalists and professional experts to corporate functions. There are plenty of opportunities for employee engagement, says Sternthal, such as a recognition program, career and leadership development, and “Swap a Leader Day”, in which a different manager is adopted by another team. Diversity and inclusion is a key priority and core to the culture. The company also builds pride by supporting important community initiatives, such as The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, Legal Leaders for Diversity and Pro Bono Students Canada.

But to Sternthal, whose background is in law, the element that truly sets the company apart for its employees is the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, first created for Reuters news agency in 1941 and incorporated into the company charter when the Thomson Corporation, founded in the 1930s by Toronto-born Roy Thomson (later Lord Thomson of Fleet), acquired Reuters in 2008. These enshrine the company’s ethical foundation based upon independence, integrity and freedom from bias in the gathering and dissemination of news and information. “These principles underpin our entire business, whether you’re a journalist or you work in the financial or legal side of the business,” says Sternthal. “Being part of a company that holds itself accountable to these ethical principles is something we’re all really, really proud of. We are working for an organization that stands for something much bigger and more important than ourselves. And it’s something the global community needs more than ever these days.”

1,200+ 81% 50%+ 1,800

full-time staff in Canada overall employee engagement score of employees and people managers are women employee volunteer hours logged annually


( 2018 )

At University of Waterloo, everybody has a voice

Change can’t just come from the top down; everybody has to buy in. Kathryn MacDonald,

Executive Officer, Faculty of Arts

“I’m often the one who questions ‘Why are we doing this?’” she says. It’s not that MacDonald is against change – in 2015 she left a senior management position in healthcare to work at the university because she sensed there would be opportunities to make a difference. But she wants to make sure that any new policies and procedures under consideration will, in fact, have a positive impact. “This is a democratic institution and everybody has a voice,” says


MacDonald. “Because it’s an academic environment where people routinely offer critiques, they’re also expected to offer suggestions on how to make things better. In this context, change can’t just come from the top down; everybody has to buy in.” Founded in 1957 with 74 students and a goal of better preparing graduates to build Canada’s economy, Waterloo celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2017 with six faculties, 36,000 students and more than 195,000 alumni. It administers the world’s leading post-secondary cooperative education program and is consistently ranked as Canada’s most innovative university. Waterloo is working on many fronts to be more effective and responsive. This includes implementing guidelines from Excellence Canada, an independent third party that offers

measurable standards and objective validation. Excellence Canada’s benchmarks are based on best practices and proven management strategies for advancing organizational performance from around the world. Associate Provost, Human Resources Marilyn Thompson says the university is committed to achieving Excellence Canada’s Gold certification by the end of 2019. The goal, Thompson says, is to be – and be recognized as – an employer of choice for the kind of top talent Waterloo wants to attract and retain. It’s not only other universities competing to hire these people, she notes, but organizations throughout the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. “It’s also important to know what your employees think of you,” says Thompson. So the university recently

Proud to be one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for two years running

sent a survey to its faculty and staff asking them to rank Waterloo in five key areas: leadership, planning, service to students, people engagement and process improvement. The university followed up with multiple focus groups. “We knew we couldn’t be effective and innovative by communicating from the top down, so we asked our employees to tell us what matters to them,” says Thompson. “The only way people will trust you’re listening to their concerns is to demonstrate you’re willing to make changes.” It’s all part of an ongoing process to continually improve the working environment. This includes everything from encouraging employees to develop their own wellness programs to overhauling the recruitment and appointment processes, reducing red tape wherever possible. “We’re looking at everything,” says Thompson, warning that outdated or ineffective practices could be jettisoned. “We’re not going to make a process faster if we shouldn’t be doing it at all.”

5,254 23 48 52%

full-time staff in Canada weeks, maternity leave top-up pay years, longestserving employee of employees are women



hen it comes to organizational transformation at the University of Waterloo, Kathryn MacDonald is on the front lines. As Executive Officer of the Faculty of Arts, home to the university’s most diverse range of programs in the humanities and social sciences, MacDonald’s responsibilities are wide-ranging, from strategic planning to organizing campus tours to overseeing the 150 staff working in the faculty’s departments. So when new academic or administrative initiatives are presented at Waterloo, it’s likely MacDonald will be involved in some capacity. At committee meetings, however, she finds herself taking an unusual role.

Tell us your story If you are an exceptional employer with progressive human resources programs and initiatives, consider applying for next year’s edition of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. Now entering its 19th year, our project is the nation’s longestrunning and best-known editorial competition for employers. For information on next year’s application process, visit: Applications for our 2019 competition will be released in February and must be submitted in April.

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