Earlier this year, we posted a blog on the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition and the 2013 winners. We were excited to learn of the 2014 winners announced last week, along with a special feature in the Globe and Mail detailing the selected employers. In an interview as part of this feature, Richard Yerema, author of Canada’s Top 100 Employers and a long-time manager of the competition, responds to one of the most frequently asked questions in the competition: “What is the secret to staying on the list?”
The answer? Leadership, says Yerema, is one element that all returning winners have in common.
It’s no surprise that all of the winning employers demonstrate leadership. Leadership requires hard work and dedication to creating the best workplace for all. Leaders also must strive for a fine balance: on one hand, trying new and creative solutions to improve a company, while at the same time ensuring that all objectives are met. Additionally, leaders give attention to each and every employee in the company, as well as have an outward focus on how a company impacts a community.
Using the Best as Benchmark
Even if you don’t aspire to have your company listed in the official Top 100, there is no reason why you shouldn’t strive to be an outstanding employer. The eight selection criteria, which have remained consistent since the launch of the competition, provide a good checklist for measuring where you stand as an employer:
1. Physical Workplace
2. Work Atmosphere & Social
3. Health, Financial & Family Benefits
4. Vacation & Time Off
5. Employee Communications
6. Performance Management
7. Training & Skills Development
8. Community Involvement
If it seems overwhelming to face these eight categories at once, take a step back and reflect on how you can make small changes to improve your status as an employer. Focus on one improvement at a time. For example, can you improve the Work Atmosphere & Social (criteria 2) in your office by focusing on professional presence, and setting standards for actions and behaviours in the workplace? Or, can you better your offerings for Training & Skills Development (criteria 7) by developing one Lunch and Learn session per month for your employees?
When you focus on concrete solutions, one criterion at a time, becoming a better employer suddenly does not seem like an impossible task.
Unique Strategies for Employee Satisfaction
The 2014 winners of Canada’s Top 100 Employers not only excelled in the eight criteria listed above, but also have developed unique strategies to cater to the needs and interests of their employees.
A few examples:
- Lifestyle: Mars Canada Inc. allows employees to bring their dogs to work and provides a courtyard for pets to play during office hours.
- Employee Advancement: World Vision Canada allows employees to try out new roles within the organization while they hold their current position.
- Intellectual Growth: Toronto International Film Festival Inc. (TIFF) provides access to film screenings and lectures to employees year-round.
To learn more about all of the winning employers, visit the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition official website. Congratulations to all the 2014 winners!