TORONTO, April 12, 2019 /CNW/ - If you want to see where the innovation is taking place in Canadian workplaces, look no further than the small and medium employers that account for 90% of the nation's private-sector workforce. The best of these were recognized today, as winners of this year's Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers competition were announced by Mediacorp Canada Inc., organizers of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project.
"The companies that make this list are fast-growing employers that need to innovate rapidly," says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. "Some have doubled in size over the past year, but all of them look for new ways to attract the best and brightest employees so they can keep growing. Many compete in high technology fields, where the race to scale-up isn't just a matter of ambition – it's a matter of survival."
"The SME competition is very much the laboratory of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project," adds Anthony Meehan, Publisher at Mediacorp. "It's the place where we often see new kinds of HR initiatives and workplace policies being tested before they are adopted at larger employers. Many of this year's winners offer the kind of benefits once found only at big companies, but they have the flexibility to go beyond these and offer unique HR initiatives for their employees."
Now in its 6th year, Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers is an editorial competition that recognizes the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that offer the nation's best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies. Employers are evaluated by the editors at Canada's Top 100 Employers using the same criteria as the Top 100 competition: (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; and (8) Community Involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their industry to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs. The annual competition is open to any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada. Employers must have less than 500 employees worldwide, including employees at affiliated companies, and be a commercial, for-profit business.
Here are a few examples of the unique programs and policies the editors noted at this year's winners:
Software firms Vidyard of Kitchener, Ont., and Verafin Inc. of St. John's, Nfld., both offer no-limit vacation policies, allowing employees to take as much time as they need each year – provided they can get their work done.
Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. of Toronto helps employees make the most of summer by closing early on Fridays – and paying staff for the half-day off – in addition to providing three weeks of paid vacation allowance to even the newest employees.
Toronto-based Freshbooks, a developer of accounting and invoicing software, provides a compassion fund to help employees through unexpected difficulties, such as covering an emergency vet bill or replacing a stolen bike.
Montréal-based consulting firm Landry et associés encourages its 20 employees to stay connected socially with a great program of outings and events, including a sugar shack trip in the spring, a summer boat cruise and dinner on the St. Lawrence, and even an in-house board game competition.
Maple Ridge, B.C.-based Left, a software development firm, encourages employee innovation with a host of interesting rewards, ranging from bottles of wine (for small wins) to an overseas trip and cruise (for big wins).
Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonaugh, a law firm based in Ottawa, helps its employees to live more sustainably, with transit subsidies, an in-house carpool sign-up, secure bicycle parking, EV parking and workstations for telecommuters.
Founded in 1992, Mediacorp Canada Inc. is the nation's largest publisher of employment periodicals. Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, which includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach over 15 million Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners. Mediacorp also operates Eluta.ca, a large job search engine that includes editorial reviews from the Canada's Top 100 Employers project and is used by almost 8 million users in Canada each year. Mediacorp also hosts the Top Employer Summit, Canada's largest conference for senior-level HR professionals.
The full list of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers was announced in a special magazine published nationally in The Globe and Mail this morning. Detailed reasons for selection with hundreds of additional stories and photos were also released this morning and are accessible via the competition homepage.
Follow the story today on social media using the #topSME hashtag.