Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Clio was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Employees at Clio can unwind in one of two office lounges featuring healthy snack options such as fresh fruit, granola and gluten-free bars, oatmeal, seaweed snacks, crackers, candies and nuts -- or grab a drink at the "beverage island", which offers sparkling water, sodas, loose leaf teas, wine and beer
- Clio's head office also features free access to an onsite, shared-use fitness facility, an employee-only yoga room and meditation area, and designated space for employees to bring their pets to work
- Clio supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses and a number of in-house training initiatives -- the company also encourages employees to recruit their friends with referral bonuses that range from $100 to $1,000
Clio empowers employees to innovate -- and draw owls
For Clio, the difference between being a player in the technology space and a leader that's disrupting an entire industry comes down to its human and high-performing culture.
Whether you're visiting Clio's award-winning Vancouver headquarters or its Toronto or Dublin office, you'll have a hard time distinguishing an executive from a frontline worker -- employees at all levels of the company are encouraged to bring their ideas and observations forward to anyone, a value Clio refers to as radical candour. And that's just one of the values the employees collectively created.
CEO and co-founder Jack Newton cites culture and people as the driving force of one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies. "There's a high level of trust given -- every employee has the passion and drive of a CEO," says Newton, "I often push employees to think big picture. We all need to be optimizing the way we work and prioritizing impactful initiatives, not just the executive team."
Clio's values include openness, a commitment to continuous learning, staying fit and, in techspeak, "drawing the f---ing owl" (step one: draw a smaller circle on top of a larger one; step two: draw the rest of the f---ing owl). While the latter value might seem a bit brash, the mindset of allowing each employee to just get on with it drives a sense of personal accountability.
Their "only windows" cultural value means, "We are radically transparent," Newton says. "We share all key information, including financial information." And if that isn't transparent enough, Newton's executive activities are visible to all. All the company's executives work from an open floor plan, just like everyone else.
Commitment to learning, or "living a learning mindset," means a lot more than tuition subsidies. With the support of their managers, employees create their own career path and learn by doing.
"We don't believe working your way up the corporate ladder through one department is the only way to advance your career," Newton explains. "Last year, 35 per cent of Clio's employees shifted responsibilities. We want people to feel empowered to take on a variety of different roles, learning about the company's operations from different perspectives. If you want a variety of open-ended challenges, you will thrive here."
Navneet Gill embarked on that divergent career path after university. She started three years ago as an accounting assistant and is now a Data Operations Program Manager. Clio supported Gill as she gained her CPA designation, giving her time off to study and celebrating her academic achievements along the way.
"By providing an open career path, in an environment full of support and mentorship, Clio is investing in my future. I feel that Clio really values me and my career," says Gill.
With her switch of role and department, Gill says she never feared failure. "It's amazing to be surrounded by so many smart people who have your back," she adds. "Your manager is your coach and ensures you feel comfortable making decisions -- even if it means taking risks."
As for wellness, Clio among other things provides free access to an onsite fitness facility and brings massage therapists into the office every week. For those who take comfort from their pets, there are plenty of canines throughout Clio.
Work hours are flexible. "This is not a place where we micromanage," Newton says. "We don't care how many hours bums are in seats; we care about the quality of work. When you trust your employees, the balance that comes from being able to work in appointments or pick up kids from daycare means they will be happier, healthier and more productive overall."
Instead of focusing exclusively on the bottom line, Clio prioritizes keeping people engaged. "If our values don't resonate with people," Newton says, "they won't be happy here, nor will they be as productive. If you have a great team driving a great product,
and pursuing a mission they believe in, success becomes inevitable."