Background Parmalat is one of the largest food companies in Canada with $2.2 billion annual revenues. The company is a marketer of such popular retail brands as Black Diamond cheese, Ficello Cheese Strings, Astro Yogurt, Lactancia Milk & Butter and Balderson cheese. The company has a large and diverse work force of 2,900 people, operating a large corporate office in Toronto, 2 major sales offices in Calgary and Montreal and 16 manufacturing plants across Canada. Challenge Given the scale and complexity of its work force, Parmalat Canada has been searching for effective ways of promoting company’s values and increasing employee engagement across many branches with their unique geography, organizational culture and regional dynamics. This challenge is especially magnified by the company’s work force composition – only about 30% of work force is full-time employees working in main offices or plants, whereas 70% of workers are part-time hourly workers at various plants. The HR Department has turned to Social Media to increase employees engagement. The idea was to encourage company’s employees to share new ideas on improve various aspects of company’s operations ranging from work processes, life balance, health & safety and even new product ideas. Social Media Solution The choice of social media tools that will allow for maximum participation in the initiative was difficult one. The company’s digital culture has been defined by work force average age (40+), and a long practice of using IBM Lotus Notes as a major source of all inter-company communication. As such, the HR department has opted for finding new ways of using existing technologies, expanding their ability to function as social media tool as opposed to creating new social spaces on Intranet or developing dedicated digital applications modeled after popular applications like Facebook, My Space etc. Towards that end, the corporate Lotus Notes was re-designed to give birth to a large digital project called “Parmalat’s New Ideas” that allowed employees to integrate social media functions with their regular activities on the Intranet. The new platform provided capabilities to share and discuss ideas on various topics and select the best ideas by employees voting (15 votes required to put the idea for the Senior Management consideration). Real Life Roll-out/Early Wins In 2015, the Communication Manager, Ambra Salzburg, led the roll-out of this initiative to employees in a series of in-person meetings across different regions. Since then, the program has significantly exceeded initial expectations of… Read more »
The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the world’s leading museums in regard to natural history and world cultures. Given this fact, one might assume that an institution such as The ROM would want to keep it’s knowledge within it’s walls; however that is not the case. The ROM is arguably one of the most social and tech savvy learning institutions in the country. This is due by and large to their philosophy on social media and their social media coordinating team. Through online communication, The ROM hopes to build strong community connections and encourages individuals to engage in conversations and debates with their experts and employees directly.
If you rewind seven or eight years ago, many organizations prohibited employees from accessing social websites on company computers viewing this new trend as a distraction and risk to business. However, the rise of smartphones made it nearly impossible to block the use entirely. Fast-forward to today and you’ll notice times have changed as to how social media is perceived in the business world. Instead of frowning upon sharing thoughts and ideas digitally, businesses now invest in social media tools for internal use. After all, the benefits of having a highly engaged workforce far outweighs the risk. EY (formerly Ernst and Young) is one of the largest professional services firm in the world and specializes in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. EY is progressive in their approach to leveraging the power of social media to drive employee engagement. They have published performance reports such as Change 3.0: Using Social Media to Engage Your Workforce that discusses their research and the benefits of going social in the workplace. Currently with over 230,000 employees in over 150 countries, as well as an increasing number of Millennial employees joining the team, social media is a key part to building positive culture, engaging employees and delivering results.
Not long ago, company picnics, water cooler talk, bulletin boards and office memos were the biggest tools in a company’s “employee engagement toolbox”. Although business information eventually made it to every ear in the company, it’s dissemination was slow and arduous. Flash forward to today, where information is in your hands micro-seconds after it is made public by company heads, management and team leaders. As a result, companies have been forced to jump into the digital era or risk losing the opportunity to rally their employees and make them feel, not only part of the team, but part of the business family.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most disruptive professional network with over 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. When I tell people I work at LinkedIn, one of the most popular questions I receive is whether our environment is like Google… then I get asked whether we’re hiring. (The answer to both questions, I would say, is yes.) We are a dynamic company that is fiercely proud of our culture. One of the easiest ways for us to show who we are – beyond the company that sends out connection requests – is by using our hashtag #linkedinlife. Created in early 2015, #linkedinlife has moved beyond LinkedIn into other social platforms, and is being used by employees all over the world to demonstrate the breadth of our culture and our humanity beyond the work we do.
Lutherwood is a non-profit providing that provides children’s mental health, employment and housing services to more than 16, 600 people annually in the Waterloo Region and Wellington County. It also operates Lutherwood Village on the Park a retirement community in Waterloo, and Lutherwood Child and Family Foundation. Its mission is to “inspire hope and strengthen lives by offering high quality mental health, employment and housing services”. Operating for more than 45 years, Lutherwood’s leadership credits having motivated, engaged and happy employees as the key reason for its ongoing success.
Schneider Electric SE or Schneider, is a multinational organization specialized in energy management and automation solutions. It is headquartered in France, Paris also known as Le Hive with more than 160K employees. Speaking of multinational organizations , Schneider Electric undoubtedly connects employee from different countries together through various programs and communication media, and this is the real definition of employee engagement in my opinion. Schneider Electric as one of the leaders promoting Internet of Things IOT and connected devices in the Electrical industry business (The EcoStruxure Platform) has also taken the idea to the next step by engaging employees to share and brainstorm their brilliant ideas through connected systems by different communication platforms. SE intranet SPICE portal for instance!
For small town non-profit, WES For Youth Online, social media plays a large role in volunteer involvement. As a small organization, WES For Youth Online currently has less than a hand full of staff members on pay role. To wear as many hats, and play as many roles as these individuals do on a regular basis takes real passion. Therefore, their issue doesn’t lie in keeping employees engaged and connected; the question is, how do they keep their volunteers involved? The answer… social media.
When it comes to social media, most of the time it is the IT and retail companies actively engage with their employees and customers through digital channel. Unlike many traditional manufacturing companies who struggle with effective social media communication, Cummins, a Fortune 500 tech giant, knows how to make the most of social media to engage with its employees.
Professor Justin Bruckmann walked into his martial arts academy on September 8th, 2016, expecting a normal day of teaching classes. What he was instead greeted by was the destruction of his life’s work. The club’s hot water tank had burst, flooding the entire building. Nothing could be salvaged, from the floor mats, to the washrooms and Justin was left waiting for insurance to pick up the pieces. With nothing to do but wait, Justin turned to his social media network to spread the terrible news, there were classes to teach and no academy to house the students. What happened next was a perfect example of employee involvement helping an organization recover and thrive.
While the success of a company or business is dependent on the product or service offered, its long-term success is heavily dependent on engaged employees. Without dedication and a desire from staff to want to do their best work, the long-term success of a company is all too often going to falter. So what makes for a truly engaged workforce? There are many things that can contribute – recognition, remuneration, growth opportunities – but perhaps one of the most important aspects is staff involvement. There are many approaches companies can take to engage staff. Having been ranked as one of the top 5 employers in Hamilton in 2016, I turned to McMaster University to explore their approach to, in their words, create a work environment for staff that encompasses respect, recognition and engagement.
Going to the dentist for most of us can be a stressful visit and many patients suffer from anxiety before going to the dentist. At a visit to Gardner Dental Group (Burlington, Ontario) they do their best to make the patient visit a relaxing and enjoyable experience. From the moment you step into their office you are greeted with a friendly smile in a modern environment. You have the choice of three waiting areas; a quiet reading room, a TV room or an arcade room that actually includes retro video games! This made me think …the patients are likely at peace in this setting…but how does the practice maintain the morale and engagement of the employees?
Employee engagement is a vital element of a successful and productive work environment. 1 Companies like Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants (herein referred to as “O&B”) have been empowering their employees for years, which has helped them become one of Canada’s top fine dining restaurant companies. Their employees are passionate, energetic and have a sense of pride when speaking about their employers. O&B operates a portfolio of unique and innovative restaurants across Ontario3.
About Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic is a world renowned medical center that specializes in clinical practice, education and research. Based out of the U.S., the three main campuses are located in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and this year alone they have treated over 1.3 million people from around the world who came to the clinic for care. Being the large institution that they are, they have roughly 64,000 personnel which speaks for everyone from physicians and scientists to administration and support staff. The main point of their mission statement is that the needs of the patient always come first and this focus resonates strongly with all employees enabling them to provide an unparalleled patient experience.
When you go out for dinner with family or visit friends, it’s easy to see the obligatory question of the night creeping up: “So how is work?” For some, this question is followed by a very short answer, which, in turn, is followed quickly by the introduction of a new, more likable topic. But for others, that question is answered with great pride and joy in the work they are doing. So why don’t we all look forward to that question? Well there could be many reasons but in general terms it all boils down to company culture and employee engagement. A company’s culture is evident in how people get work done, how they communicate, and in the stories they tell their friends, family and followers. Culture and engagement are impacted by everything you do and start with the core of any company: it’s employees.
As one of the largest engineering companies in the world, the German-headquartered Siemens Corporation boasts nearly 350,000 employees in over 200 countries. 1 As a company they possess the belief that “an engaged workforce drives innovation, growth and profitability”2 but how do you engage a workforce of that magnitude?
Aecon has been voted one of the Top Employers in Canada for 8 consecutive years. This is an enormously significant accomplishment because the winners are determined by employees. It is a delicate balance to have the company and its employees continuously support each other to ensure success for both parties. Like any good relationship, this balance relies on communication.
Humankind has an obvious desire to connect with others. To share our lives with one another and feel like we are part of something. The search to find a place of connection and belonging is a common and relatable subject, just look to movies and television to see the reoccurring theme. That theme, that sense of connecting with others also carries into the workplace. Companies and organizations are pushing to create workplaces that engage employees and provide them an environment where they can feel connected. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey, the biggest challenge companies are facing around the world is employee engagement and culture issues (Brown, Chheng, Melian & Solow, 2015). Engagement corresponds closely with retention as employers fight to compare to the images of companies like Google and Facebook. A quick online search of ‘corporate culture’ results in an extraordinarily long list of articles, blogs and research pieces, one that I often research myself as an employee seeking improve the workplace culture within my own company. What makes a great corporate culture? How does it become an integrated part of the employee mentality, instead of simply a talking point?
Wow, I can’t believe this is my first blog ever! So readers, please be gentle. We all know that happiness has a ripple effect. When we are happy we want everyone to be happy. According to Forbes, “There’s plenty of hard evidence that shows that happy employees lead directly to better performance and higher profits. Last year revenues increased by an average of 22.2 percent for the 2014 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these same companies added new employees at a rate that was five times higher than the national average.” I am super excited about the topic of: Employee Engagement. Heck, why wouldn’t I be? I am an employee after all. What does it take to engage an employee like myself? I pondered this question as I spun through the great wide web. I was amazed at the lengths some companies have gone through to keep their employees connected and happy in this digital era of ours. This trend is increasingly apparent in the Hi-Tech sector. I chose to write about Shopify because they are a passionate company with a culture that contributes to employee engagement. They were also recognized as one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ for 2013.  For those who still haven’t heard about this kickass company here is some background for you folks. From its humble beginnings in 2004 and the ingenious minds of 3 young entrepreneurs looking to sell snowboards online (Snowdevil) came the birth of Shopify. A leading cloud based solutions provider that targets companies of all sizes. Its unique platform allows business to add value to their storefronts with a variety of tools including a third party market place. There are over 200,000 companies using Shopify based in 150 countries. Shopify has offices in Toronto, Waterloo, and is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. A powerhouse in the market place Shopify Inc’s (SHOP.N) (SH.TO) shares rose as much as 69 percent in their U.S. debut, valuing the company at about $2.14 billion.  At Shopify happiness is built into their very culture, they have designed and implemented every detail to ensure it flows through out the whole organization. Check out Daniel Weinand, Co-founder and Chief Cultural Officer (Yeah, you read that right!), giving us a peek at their Ottawa office and describing some of their many perks. Still not convinced then please view the YouTube video Life at Shopify
Company: Royal LePage Niagara, Royal LePage Canada Industry: Real Estate Contact: Ryan Johnstone, Broker/Manager, Royal LePage Niagara Real Estate Web References: Wiki Royal LePage Canada,RoyalLePage.ca, RLP Pinterest, RLP Facebook, Homesniagara.com, Royal LePage Canada Twitter Dial back to 1913 when Albert Edward LePage establishes his real estate company A.E. LePage – The Bungalow Specialist. Eddie, as he became known as, was… Read more »
Organization Name: Lego Industry: Toy Manufacturing CEO: Jorgen Vig Knudstorp Web references: LEGO IDEAS, YouTube, Lego , FaceBook, Twitter, About Lego The Lego Group based in Billund, Denmark is owned by the Kirk Kristionsen family and was founded in 1932. Focused on the developing the creativity of children through learning and playing, it is one of the worlds largest manufacturer… Read more »
Organisation name: Google Industry: Internet Information Provider. Employees and adaptive management techniques are what drives a business’s success, one concept Google understands. Google workers, dubbed Googlers, are graced with the ability to work on important projects, meet the company’s leaders, and collaborate with other employees. Take Google Employee Noah Levin; working in interaction design with the company, he was approached… Read more »
Organization Name: Molson Coors Industry: Leading Global Brewer In todays day and age it is becoming increasingly more difficult for companies to communicate messages to their consumers, due to all marketing ‘noise’, but they’re also struggling with communicating with their employees. Many organizations depend on email communications to their employees and assume that they are being read. This can be a… Read more »
Organization Name: Ceridian Canada A leader in cloud based, human capital management systems, Ceridian has made a name for itself in the industry – and even if you haven’t heard of Ceridian, there’s a good chance you are managed by one of their systems or will be in your future employment. Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM, for example, is a leading solution… Read more »
Engaging employees has been a concern for many organizations in recent years and with a new generation of employees in the workplace, the challenge has evolved quite a bit. Many researches have established connections between employee engagement and business performance, whether it’s for attracting and retaining talent, greater productivity, profitability or reputation. Gallup found that organizations scoring in the top… Read more »