Designing a better workplace in the nation's capital
In the middle of a drab and dreary Ottawa winter, no one wants to walk into an office space devoid of liveliness and joy. And this is something Adobe Systems Canada Inc. is well aware of.
After embracing employee feedback in 2017, the company redesigned its Ottawa office, making it a space that's both modern and comfortable.
Some features include sit-stand workstations, collaborative workspaces, private meeting rooms, informal break rooms and an employee lounge complete with music, video games, pool table, foosball and table hockey. There is also an assortment of beverages for special events and a Starbucks on-site.
"Having a vibrant and colorful space helps spark creativity, and it also fosters a more enjoyable work environment," said Mike Scott, a senior director at Adobe. "Our employee lounge is another bright space where people come to relax, maybe play some video games, shoot some pool, or even grab a drink."
The new office is just one of the reasons Adobe was recently recognized as one of Ottawa's top employers, according to a study completed for Postmedia.
The study identifies top employers in the National Capital Region. It is part of Canada's Top 100 Employers project managed by Mediacorp Canada Inc. that recognizes employers with exceptional human resources programs.
Adobe also provides employees generous maternity and parental leave. Offering 100 per cent of salary for up to 26 weeks as well as an adoption subsidy up to $25,000 for adoptive parents.
"We see our employees as our most valuable assets. Above all else, it's important that they feel supported during big moments," Scott said. "As a father of four — I can certainly relate to how precious those early days are."
Meghan Reid, a psychologist with Canada Career Counselling, said companies who offer a generous maternity or parental leave often do well at retaining talent.
"It is important," she said. "A lot of people in our society want to have children and need to have a source of income and a sense of purpose and having that leave is important to be able to balance those two aspects of life."
She said this can be particularly important for women in the workplace.
"It can hold them back, people have assumptions once you're a mother," she said. "When an employer effectively handles a leave and understands that this is just a part of life... I think that speaks well for the employer."
Being recognized as a top employer in Ottawa was a great honour for the company, Scott said.
"Our team is diverse and talented ranging from customer care to engineering, from sales operations to marketing and everything in between," he said. "We strive to provide a collaborative and creative environment to help make coming into the office every day fun and productive."
In 2019, 80 per cent of Ottawa's Adobe staff participated in local volunteer activities, Scott said.
"This is just one example of how we're leading the charge across the company," he said.
Adobe Systems Canada Inc. is a developer of industry-leading graphics, desktop publishing and enterprise application software. It employs 321 workers in Canada and over 22,000 worldwide.
Founded in 1982 in San Jose, the company expanded to Ottawa in 2002 with the acquisition of Accelio. The fiscal 2018 revenue was $9.03 billion USD.
—Luke CarrollFrom the official announcement magazine for the National Capital Region's Top Employers (2020), published on January 29, 2020 in the Ottawa Citizen.
Investing in skills development and training pays handsome dividends for Ottawa-area employer
A multifacted approach to employee education and development has led Babcock Canada Inc. to become one of the top employers in the National Capital Region, a study conducted for Postmedia found.
The study identifies top employers in the region and is part of Canada's Top 100 Employers project, managed by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which recognizes employers with exceptional human resources programs and "forward-thinking workplace policies."
Babcock is a provider of engineering services to the defence, energy and transport sectors.
It is currently delivering submarines for the Royal Canadian Navy as well as air ambulance and wildfire suppression services to the Province of Manitoba.
Babcock Canada was recognized for its focus on employee development, offering tuition subsidies up to $1,000 for current employees, mentoring opportunities, paid internships and co-op placements for students and recent grads -- Babcock hires about 60 co-op students every year.
"Babcock supports employee attendance at workshops, seminars, and other training events including participating in continuing education programs at post-secondary institutions such as the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College," said Keely Gregory, manager of communications at Babcock.
Babcock has also developed two in-house development programs -- one for mentoring and another for leadership.
"Training and development is indeed a focus of Babcock's," Keely said.
Tammy Schirle, an economics professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said employers focusing on employee education is beneficial to both parties.
"I think something like the tuition coverage is a good investment on the employer's part to keep up their employees' skills," she said.
Babcock has also placed an emphasis on employee engagement and has several social events throughout the year including picnics, golf tournaments and charity bike rides.
"Babcock provides generous funding for social activities, however, much of the credit is due to our employee-led social committees who arrange and carry out numerous events," Keely said. "These events help employees feel engaged and they boost positive feelings about the company."
Another strong focus of Babcock is a generous maternity and parental leave, with top-up payments of 80 per cent salary for up to 30 weeks.
Schirle said a generous maternity and parental leave is very beneficial for workplace moral.
"I think that this is an investment in skills," she said. "If it looks like you are going to have an employer who is going to be helping you out and offering a very family-friendly environment, you're willing to make those investments as an employee."
A recent employee engagement survey found employees rated their satisfaction with work-life balance as high, Keely said.
This may be a result of the compressed work schedule which allows employees to take every second Friday off.
Babcock was excited to be recognized among the city's top employers and said it is a reflection of its priorities as a company.
"This process has been beneficial as it has allowed us not only an opportunity to reflect upon our current employee value proposition, but to also make some improvements based on the lessons we have learned through researching former winners," Keely said. "Employees are excited about the new initiatives and benefits that we are introducing in 2020."