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 Canadian Tire Corporation Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Canadian Tire invests in employees for the longer term with generous tuition subsidies to $2K for courses taken at outside institutions, in-house apprenticeship and mentoring programs and a variety of in-house and online training options -- and even encourages children of employees to pursue post-secondary education with generous academic scholarships, up to $10,000 per child over the course of 4 years
- Canadian Tire offers a number of communication and feedback tools to keep employees informed and capture their feedback, from "The Torch" newsletter and aptly named "inTIREnet" intranet to the "HotiDEAS" online feedback forum that provides employees with an opportunity to pitch their best ideas directly to senior leadership
For Canadian Tire employees, the future is digital
If you don't believe the nearly century-old Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is becoming a digital company - yes, digital - just ask Daniel Tyrala.
He joined Canada's iconic retail group in the summer of 2014 as part of its Next Generation Talent Program and is currently working as a Business Analyst on the evolution of the Canadian Tire website.
"It's awesome," says Tyrala, who graduated from Ryerson University with a commerce degree in Business Technology. "We are following the vision of the CEO to make Canadian Tire the most innovative retailer in the world."
In working towards implementing that vision of President and CEO Michael Medline, the company opened its Canadian Tire flagship store in Edmonton in June 2015, featuring over 100 digital screens and advanced interactive technology to provide personalized customer service. To imagine your new backyard patio, for instance, you can put on a pair of Oculus virtual reality goggles and walk through it.
Tyrala says that the website is viewed as "a community." This means that for the customer looking to build a backyard ice rink, the site will not only sell the products required, but will provide instructions on how to do it and offer advice from other users.
Even Canadian Tire 'Money' has been digitized with the evolution of the company's famed loyalty program. The paper 'money' is still in use, of course, but customers are also encouraged to download Canadian Tire's mobile app and track it virtually.
All of which means that Canadian Tire Corporation - whose businesses include Canadian Tire, FGL Sports (which operates Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Atmosphere), Canadian Tire Financial Services and Mark's - is in the market for techies, big-time. The retailer now has two digital labs in Waterloo, Ont., one known as the Digital Garage, the other a partner in the Communitech Hub. In Winnipeg, it runs the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre, where the patio system was created. Other tech specialists operate at the company's home office in Toronto, as well as in Calgary and Laval, Quebec, centre of operations for French Canada.
"Our digital transformation is allowing us to compete and succeed in the new age of retail," says Chief Human Resources Officer Doug Nathanson. "We are going where our customers want us to be, and because of that, our employees are feeling an even stronger sense of engagement and excitement and passion for the company."
Nathanson points out that Canadian Tire has a history of innovation, including Canada's first loyalty program, its pioneering use of supercomputers, and even its vaunted network of dealers who run the Canadian Tire stores.
In recruiting, the company is mounting post-secondary co-op programs for tech students and inviting new grads to "come in and look around" in a less formal environment than a job interview, says Nathanson. The Next Generation Talent Program, designed by Chief Technology Officer Eugene Roman for high-potential young people who aspire to be leaders in technology, gives participants like Tyrala the opportunity to rotate through three one-year positions within the technology team.
At the same time, the corporation is offering more training to existing employees. Recently, it re-launched Canadian Tire University, a trove of online courses covering everything from leadership development to automotive systems.
"We've made a significant investment in developing people," says Nathanson. "We're focusing on talking more with our employees about how to make sure they have a long and rewarding career path."
Canadian Tire's team takes pride in Jumpstart
Lauren Griffith will never forget the way she was offered her job working with Canadian Tire Corporation's signature charity, Jumpstart, which helps families in need by defraying the often onerous costs of young people's involvement in sports and physical activity
The offer wasn't made on the phone or in a meeting room. It came on a stage, in front of hundreds of people.
From the CEO.
To explain, let's start at the beginning.
During her high school years, Griffith was a talented basketball player who competed for two club teams in the Greater Toronto Area. When she found it hard to meet costs and fees of some $2,000 a year, her coaches approached Jumpstart, which helped cover the expenses.
That allowed her to concentrate on basketball - "I was relieved I didn't have to worry about money" - and she went on to win basketball scholarships to two major American universities.
When she returned to Toronto with a sociology degree in 2012, she began working at a series of jobs involving community outreach. Then, earlier this year, Jumpstart asked her to tell her uplifting story at its annual recognition meeting at a large downtown hotel.
After she spoke, Michael Medline, President and CEO of Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), took to the stage and, clearly impressed, publicly offered her a job right then and there.
Griffith was astonished. "I felt happy and a little overwhelmed," she says. "This was the career moment I had been waiting for since I graduated from college."
Now she is in the thick of Jumpstart's work in her role as Advisor, CTC Community and Jumpstart. She helps field event requests from the community, attends major events and advises on branding. "I feel very privileged," she says. "I can definitely relate to the kids I'm helping because I've been one of them. They just want to get out of the house, make friends and play sports. It's amazing that Jumpstart can help them do that."
Focused on helping kids aged 4 to 18, Jumpstart covers the costs of getting involved in sport, such as registration fees or transportation, and provides equipment through its network of stores. The Canadian Tire family includes FGL Sports, which operates Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Atmosphere, as well as Mark's and Canadian Tire Financial Services.
Landon French, President of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, says the organization grew out of the nearly 100-year-old culture of Canadian Tire, which has always been known for giving back to the community. "Our employees are very proud to be a part of it," he says.
In the 10 years since Jumpstart took over from predecessor foundations, it has helped 1 million kids across Canada, including 80,000 in the GTA, and disbursed more than $100 million. This year alone it will help about 200,000 kids in need, says French.
Employees participate through encouraging $2 donations at store cash registers, getting involved in corporate fundraising events, and volunteering to help at the biggest events of all, the Jumpstart Games.
Held in 24 communities across Canada this year, Jumpstart Games provide children from financially disadvantaged families with a day of play where they have the opportunity to build teamwork skills and interact with others their age.
"We encourage our employees to get out and see how important the money they're raising and the time they're giving is to these families," says French. "There are moms and dads that shed a tear because the kids are having so much fun. For some of these kids, it's the first time they've been on a bus, or out of their neighbourhood. We want our employees to feel that energy and have that experience."
The charity is one of Canadian Tire's many attractions in recruitment. "It really helps us with potential new employees," says French. "They know a lot about Jumpstart and see the community value. It's a great part of the culture here."
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 Canadian Tire Corporation Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- Students working at Canadian Tire can volunteer on the Student Social Committee and plan recreational activities for the organization's co-op and summer students, such as trampoline dodgeball, a Retail City educational trip, a tour of the distribution centre and a "ROM open" student event, to name a few
- Canadian Tire manages a Forecasting & Replenishment New Graduate Program that involves three weeks of education and training to provide exposure to supply chain and merchandising practices
- In addition, Canadian Tire offers a Marketing Rotational Program that features three 8-month rotations in areas such as advertising and brand strategy, marketing promotions and planning, digital marketing and social media, and customer loyalty and direct marketing
Canadian Tire Corporation looks for disruptive ideas
Recently, a group of Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) executives attempted to whittle down a list of 12 candidates
for three spots in an emerging marketers program for new grads. Participating in a case study challenge, the young candidates had each made a pitch to the executives based on a business scenario they were given. It turned out to be a tough choice.
"We had an exceptional group of applicants," says Minal Kamath, Vice President, HR Operations. "We ended
up hiring the top three candidates and now we're looking at ways to grow the program so we can hire additional grads."
That's an indication of how much CTC values smart and creative young people these days. The Toronto-based company has recently been challenged by its CEO, Michael Medline, to become the most innovative retailer in the world. And
for that, they need the fresh thinking that young people so often bring.
"Young people generate disruptive ideas," says Kamath, using the term often applied to Uber and other breakthrough technologies. "They bring passion, energy, knowledge and curiosity to
the workplace. They offer a diverse perspective on anything and everything. And they see things through fresh eyes."
To attract post-secondary students, CTC has a large co-op program - it involved more than 200 people in 2014. "They have real jobs," says Kamath. "And we try to rotate them from term to term so they can see the diversity of roles at Canadian Tire."
The company is also expanding opportunities in other parts of the group.
The Canadian Tire family includes Calgary-based FGL Sports, which operates Sport Chek, Sports Experts and Atmosphere, as well as Mark's, also headquartered in Calgary, and Canadian Tire Financial Services in Oakville, Ont. and Welland, Ont.
Often the co-op students become candidates for the company's New Grads program and other full time positions, which together brought in 32 young people in 2014 and will soon reach 50 and beyond - especially if the emerging marketers' pattern is repeated. It is closely aligned with the company's Next Generation Talent Program, which aims to attract
top young talent to digital projects.
Kamath says that select new grads are often invited to the company to have a look around in a much more informal way than an interview. "Part of it is them interviewing our leadership," she says. "It's not just them courting us - we are courting them."
The new grads often have a background in business studies - as well as engineering, communications, statistics and other specialties - and take on roles in supply chain management, marketing, data analysis or merchandising. Next Generation recruits, who rotate through a different position each year for three years, work on the website, app creation and other IT projects, often at one of the company's digital labs in Waterloo, Ont., such as the Digital Garage and a partnership in the Communitech Hub. CTC also runs the Cloud Nine Digital Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.
Daniel Tyrala, who graduated from Ryerson University with a commerce degree in Business Technology, joined the Next Generation program in 2014. "They really try to cater to our interests and what we want to grow into," he says. "It's very exible. They even create new roles for us if need be."
Tyrala has a mentor assigned to him
to aid in his career development, and enjoys the monthly sessions the company holds with different leaders. He is also impressed with Canadian Tire's charity, Jumpstart, which helps young people in nancial need get involved in sports, as well as the regular events the company holds with major sports gures through its wide range of sponsorships.
"There is a strong sense of community and pride at Canadian Tire," Tyrala says. "I get a great feeling that this is a family company that supports all of its employees to strive and make themselves better,
both as individuals and in their careers."