Just this past month, the acclaimed Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013 list was released and an editorial was featured in the Globe and Mail. (You can see the full list here). Among the ranks were 3M Canada Co., Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada, Loblaws Cos. Ltd., and Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. The list is diverse, awarding honours to a mixed bag of firms, from Technip Canada Ltd (124 employees) to Toronto-Dominion Bank (43, 850 employees). While the nature and size vary significantly, one factor remains constant across every organization: employee engagement. Human resource development is at the core of every listed organization’s values, and for good reason; human capital is considered their greatest asset.
Here are a few ways the top employers in Canada are doing it right:
- Academic scholarship program for children of employees. BC Public Service awards up to $2,500 to children of employees who attend post-secondary institutions, encouraging post-secondary education and commitment to their employees and their families
- Matching donations to employees’ favourite charities. Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada encourages employees to volunteer and donate to charities by matching each and every donation, and awarding time off for volunteer opportunities
- Healthy meals prepared daily by in-house chefs. Digital Extremes Ltd., a successful game development company, staffs two full-time chefs to prepare healthy, (and free) daily meals for 180 staff members. Moreover, the organization boasts an in-house theatre and full size commercial dining room and billiards room
- Promoting health and wellness. Georgian College recently opened a “Health and Wellness” building, featuring a variety of environmental technologies, from solar energy to a rainwater recovery system
- On-site daycare available for new mothers. Pfizer Canada Inc. offers new mother 100 percent salary for up to 17 weeks, and on-site daycare for when they return after maternity leave. (There’s also a nap room, for good reason)
While every firm can’t offer their staff in-house chefs or on-site daycare, every firm large or small can learn from the best employers. The investment made in human resources is invaluable, whether it be a profit sharing program or simply offering more flexible work hours. Here a few tangible additions that can help unleash creativity, boost productivity and make the workplace better.
Encourage health and wellness
A healthy mind is a creative, and productive one. Offering employees on-site fitness facilities, or subsidizing gym memberships shows commitment to the well-being of staff and supports healthy lifestyles.
Did you know Pfizer Canada, Google, Ben & Jerry’s and NASA endorse sleeping on the job? In a nap room, that is. Experts believe that a 15-minute nap is enough to restore vitality and recharge when feeling sluggish. Moreover, encouraging employees to step away from their work to increase alertness can also stimulate creativity.
Get creative with employee perks
Take a page out of Google’s book and get imaginative! Find creative ways to reward employees, instead of, or in addition to typical bonuses or time off. Just make sure they’re consistent with company culture. Offer free trips or gift cards as an incentive to meet goals or creativity stipends to buy something that fuels creativity. Reward employees with screen-printing lessons, headphones or other means that encourage creativity and learning.
Canada’s top employers continue to provide staff with perks and benefits designed to recruit and retain top talent. While some are extravagant, there are tons of ways in which you can engage staff and make their daily work life more enjoyable. Even offering more casual work wear or employee birthday parties are low-cost perks that help to retain employees long-term. Creative human resource development is critical to improving productivity and fostering workplace culture. For more information about human resource development and management, visit PeopleFirstHR.com.
About the Author
Meghan Tooley is a commerce student and active online blogger from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She often offers her views on creative human resource development, as it relates to industry trends. She writes on behalf of Metric Marketing, an online marketing/communications firm also based in Winnipeg.