Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Bayer was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016), Ten Best Companies to Work For (2016) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Bayer has continued it's impressive year-over-year employment growth -- through acquisition and growth, the company added over 300 employees last year and now employs over 1,630 people in Canada
- Bayer helps employees find a better balance between their work and personal lives through flexible work arrangements, including shortened and compressed work week options, reduced summer hours and a formal earned days-off program -- and offers new employees three weeks of starting vacation, moving to four weeks after only four years on the job
- Bayer helps employees with their family planning, offering a generous $15K subsidy for in vitro fertilization as well as 12 weeks of full maternity and parental leave top-up for new moms, dads and adoptive parents -- and also follows-up with discounted healthcare products through the company store
Building a highly rewarding work LIFE at Bayer
"Nine is divine," Lynda Newcomb says proudly as she notes that 2016 is the ninth year running Bayer has made the Canada's Top 100 Employers list.
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., Bayer defines itself as a life sciences company with a mission to improve the health and lives of people and animals as well as contribute to a sustainable environment. And according to Newcomb, Vice President, Human Resources, this inspiring mission is reflected in its corporate culture.
"Bayer is an attractive place to work, with a respectful, collaborative culture where employees make a positive difference. When people care about their job and where they work, very few want to leave," she says.
The company has also created a modern open concept workspace to encourage staff to move around regularly and collaborate easily. There are state-of-the-art meeting rooms, benches, a patio and a cafeteria where employees can get together.
Bayer's culture is built on its four key values which are promoted throughout the organization. These are leadership, integrity, flexibility and efficiency, summarized as LIFE. The company's employee recognition program rewards staff who integrate these values into how they work.
A cornerstone of the culture going forward will be Bayer's new employer brand: Passion to Innovate, Power to Change. This new brand aims to capture how employees can succeed, what Bayer offers as an employer and why the culture is unique.
Staff interaction is energized. In its 2014 employment engagement survey, Bayer scored 92 per cent. Global Animal Health employees who participated in an online simulation exemplify this high level of engagement, explains Dr. Carol Jakel, a veterinarian who heads the marketing team in the Canadian Animal Health division.
"Teams submitted business cases for product ideas while others put themselves forward as investors or consultants. The best ideas were then presented at Bayer's annual global Animal Health marketing conference with the winner recognized for their innovation," Jakel says.
Bayer also supports the community involvement of staff. It matches donations employees make to charities, up to $200 a year, and offers them two days' paid volunteering.
Notable charities supported are the Daily Bread Food Bank and United Way. And earlier this year, two veterinarians from Animal Health volunteered with an outreach program that helps First Nations communities look after their pet dogs by showing people how to check for ticks and prevent heartworm and other diseases.
A flagship initiative is the Crop Science division's sponsorship of the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre's Combines for Cure program. The sponsorship supports the Man Van, a 36-foot mobile clinic which drives through rural Western Canada offering wellness advice and on-the-spot prostate blood tests to farmers.
To familiarize new employees with the company before they start, the Hello Bayer orientation program features an exclusive microsite about the company and its workplace, culture and people, explains Newcomb.
"We also provide a welcome kit with a factsheet, checklist for the first day, and benefits information. When they arrive, new employees are assigned a buddy who takes them on a tour," she says.
Bayer's benefits package can be customized to the specific needs of employees. It includes an online store where staff can purchase Bayer over-the-counter products at discounted prices.
The company has partnerships with Best Doctors and CarePath, as well as fitness centres in some locations, and offers matching retirement and savings programs. Bayer encourages the continuing education and career development of employees by helping fund courses and training as well as providing in-house tools and resources.
"Many organizations pay lip service to supporting and developing employees, but when Bayer says it, we really mean it," Jakel say
LIFE values and community spirit rule at Bayer
Bayer, a life sciences company based in Mississauga, Ont., has its own BNN channel - Bayer News Network at their Matheson office and plans to roll it out in other locations in 2016. BNN broadcasts company news and events from television monitors located in office kitchenettes and near elevators."This is a fun way to help staff become ambassadors of Bayer and its products and stay informed on company events and announcements," says Lynda Newcomb, Vice President, Human Resources.
Not only is the company consistently ranked a top employer in the GTA but its recent purchase of Merck's consumer care business made Bayer the number three provider of over-the-counter healthcare products in Canada.
Bayer's acquisition added household brand names Coppertone, Dr. Scholl's and Claritin to its already notable product offering including Aleve, ASPIRIN and Canesten. This created a buzz around the organization, explains Newcomb.
"There was a lot of excitement in our consumer care division about the acquisition," she says. "Employees driving into work were also proud to see our new products come to life on advertising billboards along the Gardiner Expressway this past summer."
Another recent Bayer initiative that generated employee pride was a television campaign for ASPIRIN 81mg. During a suspected heart attack, Bayer recommends calling 911 and then crushing and chewing two ASPIRIN 81mg tablets. The product is approved for this use nationwide. "Feedback on the campaign was overwhelming," says Newcomb.
At its Mississauga headquarters, the company has a modern open concept workspace to encourage staff to move around and collaborate. There are state-of-the-art meeting rooms, booths in the pantries, a patio and a cafeteria where employees can gather. Company information posters are featured on each floor, inspiring employees to continue doing great work for customers.
Bayer's workplace culture is built on its four key values: leadership, integrity, flexibility and efficiency, summarized as LIFE. The company's employee recognition program, called You Make Life Better, rewards staff who integrate these values into how they work.
Jamie Stretch, Regional Sales Manager Canada West for the Pharmaceutical Division, lives and breathes these values. He has held a range of sales and marketing roles over a 10-year career at the company and says he simply followed his interests.
"Bayer does not operate with a typical top-down structure, so employees are supported in exploring roles both vertically and horizontally," Stretch explains. "Everyone is considered unique and their voices heard and interests encouraged."
In his current role, Stretch is responsible for managing the sales team in the Ophthalmology division. As a way to stay involved and connected to patients, Stretch and his team members attend events in support of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and CNIB. When not on the road, Stretch works mainly from home in Oakville.
To familiarize new employees with the company, the Hello Bayer orientation program was introduced. Hello Bayer features a microsite about the workplace and culture plus a welcome kit with a first day checklist and benefits information. And when they arrive, a "Bayer Buddy" is assigned to take them on an office tour.
Bayer's internal social committee ensures a community spirit remains around the building for employees. The committee offers discount tickets for local attractions like events at the Mirvish Theatre and Canada's Wonderland.
Bayer has many programs and initiatives that support its LIFE values. The company's wide-ranging competitive benefits package includes matching retirement and savings programs. Bayer also has an online store where staff can purchase Bayer over-the-counter products at discounted prices and a state of the art gym on site.
"Bayer lives the culture, it doesn't just speak the culture. Taking advantage of the on-site gym over your lunch hour is easier to do when the person beside you on the treadmill is a senior executive," says Stretch. "Bayer is that kind of place, where people are approachable and the community spirit is strong."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Bayer was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- In partnership with the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business, Bayer offers a 12-month "mini MBA" program that teaches participants to plan, develop and implement real-time projects in the context of the company's business, and includes work experience outside of participants' regular day-to-day
- Bayer manages the "BIMS Global Program" to help develop the company's younger talent to take on senior leadership roles -- the program is an online business management simulator that allows participants to take on management roles within the organization, simulating seven fiscal years over a 5-month period
- Summer students working at Bayer receive extensive one week training that includes themed evening activities, such as Luau, billiard party and Bermuda shorts night -- the company also oversees a student blog, allowing students to share their experience with others
Vibrant young workforce makes its mark at Bayer
As you walk around the offices of Bayer, a life sciences company headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., you hear and feel the vibrancy of a youthful workforce. That's because about one quarter of employees across Canada are from the millennial generation, aged 35 and under. Within the company's Crop Science division, which is based in Calgary, it is even more - 40 per cent of the team.
What makes Bayer stand out is its attractive, high-tech work environment with areas to collaborate in person or online. In fact, recently the company hosted a social media event at its
head office which was attended by staff of all ages and levels. Everyone was highly engaged and bought valuable skills and perspectives to the table, says Lynda Newcomb, Vice President, Human Resources.
"Millennials in particular are a social media savvy generation," she explains. "And social media and innovation will be an important part of our business going forward."
The company offers a range of career development programs to help employees progress in their career. For example, Bayer's LEAD program, a four-day course jointly developed with the Niagara Institute of Technology, aims to prepare employees for future leadership and people management roles. This focus on training also reflects Bayer`s commitment to cultivating young talent.
"We have a strong summer program, hiring up to 200 students a year across Canada," Newcomb says. "The program provides Bayer with the opportunity to introduce young people to our business straight from school and is an important way for us to scout for new employees."
For instance, the company partners with the University of Toronto's Master of Management of Innovation program to offer co-op placements in healthcare and marketing as well as internships.
Bayer also allocates a large number of students to its Crop Science division in field work. One of the perks of a student summer job in this division is that Bayer provides all field- based employees with a truck.
But there is a special caveat: a transponder is installed in the vehicle to check they are wearing seat belts and not speeding. And for every pay cycle in which students do not make an infraction, Bayer awards them a $100 bonus. If they remain infraction-free for the whole summer, students can increase their total pay by approximately $800.
Called Safety for LIFE, this initiative aims to encourage young employees to drive safely. According to Stephanie Lepage, a Principal Investigator at Bayer Crop Science, it shows the company cares about both personal and professional development.
"Retaining young employees is important to Bayer so there is a lot of investment in training for summer students. The company sees us as potentially valuable long-term employees," she says.
Lepage is part of Bayer Crop Science's environmental team, which operates out of Saskatoon. She spends most of her time at the company's Rosthern Farm, which is 45 minutes north of the office, conducting trials on new crop production chemicals.
Lepage came through Bayer's student ranks. She was hired full-time, on a 12-month contract, in January 2015, following three previous years as a summer student. Her contract has just been renewed for a second term.
The first summer Lepage was at the company in 2012, she worked as a customer care associate answering calls about crop chemicals across the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Then, in 2013 and 2014, after expressing an interest, she took on a research assistant role in the environmental team.
Bayer provides summer students with both office and field training. This on-the-job training, Lepage explains, helps to build the confidence of students and encourage them to support each other on the farm and stay safe.
"There are many experienced people at the company to work with and mentor you," she says. "We are encouraged to be accountable, take on more responsibility and build trust with all employees - permanent, contract and summer students."