Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 28, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Clearpath was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- A Kitchener-based robotics manufacturer, Clearpath Robotics continues to grow at an incredible pace, increasing its overall workforce by 55% in the past year
- Clearpath Robotics encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan, available to all, and also offers generous referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to help recruit candidates in their network (up to $3,000 for successful hires)
- Clearpath Robotics invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses, up to $1,000 per year, and reaches out to the next generation through co-op opportunities, summer student positions and paid internships
Fast-growing Clearpath Robotics retains its startup feel
It may come as no surprise that one of the world's leading developers of self-driving vehicles for industry expects its employees to be self-driven, too. And that takes plenty of passion and purpose, says Matt Rendall, the CEO and co-founder of Kitchener, Ont.-based Clearpath Robotics Inc.
"We are tackling one of the biggest technological challenges of our generation, and the impact of that will change the world," says the University of Waterloo engineering graduate. "The people we hire in that regard are pioneers. They want to build an industry, rather than just a product."
And they're building at a breakneck pace: Six years ago, the company consisted of four employees. It expects to employ 200 by the end of this year.
Despite its rapid growth, Clearpath Robotics has worked hard to maintain its startup culture and to give employees everything they need to succeed. Through town-hall meetings and e-mails, it keeps team members informed of every significant business decision. It invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies of up to $1,000 per year for job-related courses and organizes regular lunch-and-learns featuring cutting-edge thinkers in the robotics field.
The company encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan that's open to everyone, and offers generous referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to help recruit candidates in their network.
Frequent social gatherings help build solidarity and good old-fashioned fun, and employees often participate in community events. The corporate foosball table has also proved popular, along with the awesome hot-sauce collection and daily breakfasts prepared by a corporate chef.
"I wanted to work for a company that is challenging and tackling tough, real-world problems, and Clearpath was one of the only companies in North America that allowed me to do that," says Autonomy Developer Teyvonia Thomas, a physics and computer science graduate from Pennsylvania's Ivy League Bryn Mawr College who earned a master's degree in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania.
"They don't keep us in the dark or keep us isolated," she adds. "That not only inspires us to push the envelope, but there's a sense of trust and a feeling that they care about our future."
For Demand Generation Specialist Evan Little, the opportunity to work with talented colleagues to advance a ground-breaking technology was too hard to resist. After working for a tech startup in San Francisco, the Wilfrid Laurier University business grad returned to Canada last year to join Clearpath Robotics.
"The leadership is really strong," he says. "They're so dedicated to the vision and what we're doing here. There's also an incredibly dynamic work environment at Clearpath. Every day is different and every day is enjoyable."
The sense of purpose and passion that permeates the corporate culture makes for a high degree of job satisfaction, says Rendall. Employee turnover is extremely low, with a voluntary attrition rate of only one per cent, he notes. Clearpath Robotics regularly measures employee satisfaction using a metric known as the "net promoter score," which effectively gauges the probability that employees would recommend the company to a friend or family member. "Our net promoter score for employment," he adds, "is off the charts."
Employee dynamism is the finely-tuned engine driving the company's success, says Rendall. And visitors to its Kitchener facility can almost hear it. "What we've found is that really talented people want to work with other talented people," he observes. "So when you come into our building, the energy is tangible. You can feel there's a hum in the workplace."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers winners, published March 29, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.