Northern Exposure

List Identifies Canada’s Top 10 Employers

by Karen Sargeant

Wondering if your company is a “best employer?” Canada’s Financial Post magazine recently identified Canada’s Top 10. The winners span the country. They include some of Canada’s best known companies, as well as some that are only well-known within their industry sector.

The Financial Post contacted 16,000 private-sector employers to participate in its competition. Of those, 2,100 employers participated. Those companies were judged on physical workplace; worker relations; health, financial and family benefits; vacation/time off; communications between management and staff; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement.

Announced in October 2008, the winners were Adobe Systems (Ontario), Cementation Canada (Ontario), CH2M Hill Canada (Ontario), Kodak Graphic Communications (British Columbia), KPMG (Ontario), New Flyer Industries (Manitoba), Research in Motion (Ontario), Suncor Energy (Alberta), Upside Software (Alberta), and Yellow Pages (Quebec). Other top employers have also been recently announced, including Canada’s Top 100 Employers, as well as top employers in specific provinces and cities across the country.

Although the characteristics among the Top 10 vary, they all provide employees with the opportunity to grow and develop; offer competitive salaries, benefits, and retirement savings programs; provide mentoring activities; and encourage social events. Some of those programs and benefits include:

  • Abode Systems – minimum three weeks’ vacation, office 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources.
  • Cementation – highly skilled career opportunities in remote regions of Canada and across North America.
  • CH2M Hill – full-time teleworking option, paid personal days in addition to vacation, sustainability development reward program for employees who undertake environmental projects in or outside the office.
  • Kodak – transit subsidies, shower facilities, generous top-up benefits for compassionate care and maternity leaves.
  • KMPG – subsidized elder or child care, minimum three weeks’ vacation, seven paid personal days per year, financial grants for adoptive parents, $700 fitness subsidy.
  • New Flyer – generous educational assistance programs, staff wellness week that includes things from flu shots to nutrition classes.
  • RIM – global learning courses, free BlackBerry, tuition subsidies for nearby university courses.
  • Suncor – 17 paid personal days on top of vacation, scholarships for employees’ children.
  • Upside Software – cash bonuses, generous referral bonuses.
  • Yellow Pages – reduced summer hours, telecommuting, flexible hours, learning portal with Internet access to 500 courses.

In these tough economic times, you may need to take even more steps to keep your experienced and competent workers. Given the high cost of employee turnover, you will not want to lose your best to the competition. Some of these programs and benefits may help you retain your best employees.

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