Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Best Buy Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and BC's Top Employers (2017):
- In keeping with the evolving nature of work, Best Buy Canada recently renovated its corporate office to introduce more couches, casual seating and collaborative work spaces -- employees can also take advantage of a variety of onsite amenities, including a cafeteria (with healthy and special diet menus), a quiet room for meditation and religious observance and subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility (open 24/7)
- Best Buy Canada cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan
- Best Buy Canada is an active member of the community and maintains a charitable focus on connecting youth with technology to benefit their education -- the company also supports employee volunteerism through the Blue Gives Back awards and provides donations to organizations where employees volunteer their time ($1,000 for a minimum of 40 hours volunteered)
Best Buy Canada unleashes the power of its people
One of Best Buy Canada's core values is, "Unleash the power of our people." Recently, feedback from the almost 200 Best Buy big-box and mobile stores let management know that employees wanted to hold more decision-making power so they could better take care of customers.
"We needed to give them more autonomy in doing what's right for their customers -- just take the foot off the policy pedal," explains Chris Taylor, Chief Human Resources Officer. "We've focused a lot on engagement and culture and we try to listen to our people and move the organization forward based on their feedback."
Taylor says that what's kept him at Best Buy Canada for more than 13 years is that culture and the people in it. And there is much emphasis on letting staff know how much they are valued. Employees at a high-performing store can be surprised by a "Be Amazing" ambush, for example, during which a senior executive shows up to an all-employee meeting -- no matter where the store is in the country -- with a $500 cheque to recognize and celebrate their amazing service levels.
"Acknowledging hard-working, caring employees has been very powerful for us," says Taylor. "We're unashamed to give massive amounts of recognition."
The job at Best Buy Canada was Laura Buchanan's first out of university. "I thought, I'll do this for a year," she says. That was 10 years ago, and Buchanan has stayed with the company because of the opportunities she's been given, all within the eCommerce department. "Every role I've moved into has been a newly created role," says Buchanan, Manager of Research, User Generated Content and Administration. "There are so many opportunities. It's great to try new things -- it's okay to fail but you have to learn from that."
The company encourages people to follow their passions. "Best Buy really cares about developing people and is willing to invest a lot of time and resources to make sure these opportunities and resources are available so people can have a long and rewarding career," says Buchanan.
There is plenty of incentive to move around and explore new areas to find what fits your passions and career aspirations. "Ninety percent of general manager jobs are filled internally," adds Taylor. "So many of our general managers started as seasonal employees and are now leading multi-million stores."
Best Buy Canada offers a share purchase plan to all employees and it helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan. The company is also active in local communities, particularly when it comes to connecting children with technology for their education. It supports employee volunteerism and donates to organizations where staff volunteer. And the company address the needs of every generation on their staff -- ranging from a daycare program to help its working parents to a rewards program to recognize tenure.
Another core value of Best Buy Canada is, "Have fun while being the best." For Buchanan, there's an undeniable family atmosphere in her department that makes going through the busy, challenging times much more rewarding. "The amount of work and the amazing work that people do here is so impressive," says Buchanan. "Being part of that community and that team that delivers on that level is really inspiring."
And they do work in a challenging industry, as Taylor acknowledges, which keeps it interesting for all involved. "Our company adapts and does very well, continuously changing," he says. "It creates a very exciting dynamic for people who want to build a career here -- another strength of our organization."
You can feel the buzz at Best Buy Canada
A self-described "fair-weather nerd", Taylor Sharpe used to stop at an electronics store on his way home from public school to chat to the sales staff about video games, wireless routers and flat-screen TVs. So when he landed a job in Vancouver with Best Buy Canada Ltd., he thought he'd found "the holy grail" of jobs.
Starting out as a product content copywriter, he says, "I got to see new technology before it hit the shelves, learn about it, and then tell the rest of Canada how cool and awesome it was."
Best Buy Canada offers technology, entertainment and lifestyle products through nearly 200 stores across Canada and support solutions through Geek Squad services. The company employs almost 5,500 full-time staff and another 6,500 part-time and offers them a full menu of benefits plans, training opportunities and empowerment to drive the company's success.
"We invest in our people," says Kamy Scarlett, Senior Vice President of Retail and Chief Human Resources Officer, "whether it's through flexible work schedules, comprehensive benefits, discounts, a company-matched pension plan, RRSP program, Tax Free Savings Account, service recognition program, maternity leave top-up or share purchase plan."
Best Buy's flexible benefits plan, for example, offered to all staff members, enables employees to customize levels of coverage to suit their personal needs.
Ongoing in-house training as well as a tuition reimbursement program help "to ensure that folks hired for fit can be trained for skill, even if their progression takes them to a completely different department," says Sharpe, who has advanced in five years from his copywriting position to Manager of Digital Content & Usability, eCommerce Content.
In its hiring and recruitment, says Scarlett, Best Buy looks for people who share the company's values and culture.
"Our culture can be summed up with our Be Amazing philosophy," she says. "We believe our people are amazing, and we empower people to interact with the customer and be amazing in the way that is best for them, versus in a way the company tells them to."
For Sharpe, that culture keeps him going to work in the morning. "There's a kind of buzz that permeates the building when you walk in in the morning," he says. "It's like you can feel the weight of great ideas being churned out into the air. Being surrounded by this is pretty compelling. It imbues you with a drive to grow and stretch beyond your means."