Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 11, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Griffith Foods provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for up to 6 weeks) and offers flexible work arrangements to help them transition to their new role as parents
- Griffith Foods invests in ongoing employee education with tuition subsidies for courses both related and unrelated to an employee's current role (up to $2,500) and also manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees interested in pursuing post-secondary studies (up to $3,500 per child per year)
- Griffith Foods recognizes exceptional performance and achievement through individual and peer-nominated awards such as the "Fresh Ideas Awards", for employee innovation and suggestions for improvement
Griffith Foods offers staff a world of nourishment
With almost a century of history behind it, Griffith Foods - formerly Griffith Laboratories - has worked hard over the past two years to renew and refine its corporate purpose. Starting on Jan. 15, 2016, the family-owned, Illinois-based company adopted the new name to more firmly assert its central role in the food business. It also embraced a new purpose statement: "We blend care and creativity to nourish the world."
That wording is very deliberate, explains Jim Thorne, General Manager of Griffith's Toronto-based Canadian head office. As a product development partner that provides food ingredient solutions to customers in some 30 countries, Griffith knows a thing or two about the power of innovative blending. Griffith has also long prided itself on being a caring company that treats employees like valued family members.
Then there's the aspect of "nourishing the world." Beyond the solutions it provides for customers on a daily basis, Griffith has chosen to champion the cause of alleviating world hunger. As part of that effort, Griffith's Canadian head office met its ambitious goal in 2016 of working with local food banks to provide one million meals to individuals and families in need. The company has set a similar goal for 2017, while continuing to ramp up the level of volunteer engagement by its 330 Canadian employees.
"In 2016, over 120 employees were involved in charitable activities, more than triple what had been the case in previous years," says Thorne. "Our goal in 2017 is to get at least 50 per cent of our employee base involved in some kind of volunteer role."
One new tool for encouraging volunteerism is the Griffith Cares app, which acts much like a Facebook page, allowing employees to post articles and pictures documenting their volunteer experiences.
"This is a way to recognize their service," says Thorne. "But more importantly, it helps generate energy and interest and get other people involved in volunteering."
Griffith's determination to make a difference in the world strengthens employee engagement, he adds. "Our people like the fact that, in addition to being a profitable company, we are working externally to serve a greater good."
That's certainly the case for Shruti Patel, who joined Griffith 11 years ago as a co-op student and is now a Quality Systems Auditor with its Canadian operations. She was recently recruited as a Griffith Cares committee member and has worked in local food banks.
"What I like is that it's a cause greater than me," says Patel. "In my twenties, I was always focused on my career. Now that I'm more settled, this gives me the opportunity to give back to the community."
Patel, who says she never expected to work 11 years for one company, credits Griffith with providing her with a wealth of options for career advancement.
"I love it because I'm always learning about the food industry and the whole culture around food quality and safety. The company has helped me grow my career by constantly expanding my knowledge base and helping me understand all aspects of the food industry."
She is also impressed by recent initiatives like Griffith Women Leaders (GWL), a series of leadership development sessions aimed at helping women, in particular, take on more senior roles in the company.
GWL, says Thorne, is part of a larger food industry effort to provide female employees with greater access to the kind of networking and mentorship required to "break through some of the glass ceilings out there."
Adds Thorne: "The statistics are pretty clear that, at the entry level, women and men have equal opportunities in our industry. But as in a lot of other businesses, the level of female participation drops off significantly when you get to the more senior ranks.
"As a 26-year veteran of the food industry, I can tell you that there tends to be a bit of an old boy's network over time. That's something we need to shake up so we can have a lot more diversity at the top."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 21, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016):
- Working with waste disposal company U-Pak Disposals Limited, Griffith Foods' aggressive waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs achieved a 100 percent waste diversion from landfill rate in 2014 -- the successful program is an ongoing initiative
- Griffith Foods is a strong advocate for sustainable business practices and introduced an evaluation process to help its suppliers assess their own sustainability initiatives -- the evaluation process includes a formal questionnaire on supplier programs to reduce waste, energy and resources as well as initiatives to address the environmental impacts of their own operations -- results from the questionnaire factor into Griffith's future purchasing decisions
- Griffith Foods sources over 1,500 raw materials and food ingredients from around the world and has made sustainable sourcing a company priority -- the company uses only sustainably sourced palm oil and works with the Grain Farmers of Ontario Innovation Fund to source flour locally -- flour is a primary raw material used in the Griffith products and the company has increased its Ontario flour purchases by 50 percent
Griffith Foods supports a sustainable triple bottom line
For Ana Viegas, sustainability is both an individual and professional priority. "In my personal life, I'm passionate about helping the environment," says Viegas. "I also wouldn't be comfortable working for a company that didn't share my values and wasn't interested in protecting the environment. For me, this is fundamental."
Fortunately for Viegas, she does not have to choose between a paycheque and her conscience. As a research and development scientist with the Canadian head office of Griffith Foods in Toronto, she works for a company that has long supported the principle of sustainable development.
Griffith Foods is a family-owned, Illinois-based company that is a product development partner providing food ingredient solutions to customers in some 30 countries and across four continents. Griffith's stated mandate is to "help our customers meet the evolving needs and desires of consumers in ways that respect and sustain the planet."
The company's sustainability platform is based on a triple bottom line, explains Jim Thorne, Griffith's Toronto-based General Manager. The three pillars of that platform are people, planet and performance.
On the people side, Griffith is committed to supporting its employees who, in turn, serve their communities. A good example, says Thorne, is the company's efforts to alleviate world hunger.
Griffith Canada works closely with local food banks. This year, the company is pursuing the ambitious goal of providing one million meals to individuals and families in need.
Griffith also partners with the City of Toronto on an annual community cleanup, with employee volunteers collecting garbage and debris from parks and streets near the company's facilities.
At the same time, Griffith strives to be a good steward of the planet. Current priorities include energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable food sourcing.
Griffith Canada has converted most of its operations to energy-efficient LED lighting. Water cooling systems have been replaced with more efficient air cooling systems and boilers have been retrofitted to draw less water for cooling and reduce natural gas consumption. Plant facilities have been rigorously inspected to detect and plug energy-draining leaks in compressed air systems.
Last fall, every employee was issued with with a reusable water bottle, which they are encouraged to refill at one of the company's 28 water stations. Annually, this initiative is expected to replace some 7,000 plastic water bottles.
Globally, Griffith Foods has set a goal of sending zero waste to landfill sites by 2018. Griffith Canada has already met this goal in its own operations.
"In terms of any leftover product or waste that we have, zero goes into landfill," says Thorne. "We either recycle it or, if it's food, we use it or donate it."
Griffith also works with farmers and other suppliers to sustainably source the ingredients it uses and to ensure growers follow sustainable agricultural practices.
The third pillar of sustainability, performance, refers to the company's strategic approach to business management. The focus is on ethically and responsibly growing customers' brands while maintaining food safety excellence.
Thorne says the company's various sustainability initiatives give it a strong competitive advantage in attracting and retaining employees. "There are long-term employees for whom this is a source of pride," he says. "It is also critical in attracting new employees who want to work for companies that give back to the community and that are trying to address some of the global environmental challenges we all face."
Viegas is one of them. She started working for Griffith Canada as a co-op student in 2009 and has been a fulltime employee for a little over three years. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Viegas is also a team leader with the volunteer sustainability committee that oversees many of the company's green initiatives.
Observes Viegas: "Griffith's commitment to sustainability wasn't the only reason I wanted to work here. But it is certainly one of the things that keeps me excited about coming to work each day."