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 (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 20, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2017):
- 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 that includes banning the use of disposable water bottles onsite (saving approximately 7,000 bottles annually)
- Griffith Foods published its first "Sustainability - Our Journey" report in 2015, outlining the company's ongoing commitments and achievements for all employees to see
- Griffith Foods sources raw materials and food ingredients from around the world and has made sustainable sourcing a priority -- the company only uses 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 Griffith products and the company increased its Ontario flour purchases by 50 percent
Griffith Foods doubles down on sustainability
As a 15-year veteran with Griffith Foods' Toronto-based Canadian operations, Bogdan Tonea has seen a steady increase in awareness about the importance of operating sustainably - both within the company and the larger world.
"Everyone is looking for greener solutions," says Tonea, a supply chain coordinator. "It's not just us, but our customers and suppliers as well. We are all sharing tips about how to do things better. For example, if a product is being shipped to us in a hard plastic container, the first question that gets asked is: can this be done using a more sustainable and fully biodegradable container?"
Griffith Foods is a family-owned, Illinois-based product development partner that provides food ingredient solution to customers in some 30 countries. It is also a company that has long supported the principle of sustainable development and recently adopted the following purpose statement: "We blend care and creativity to nourish the world."
There is a renewed focus on putting that purpose into action, says Jim Thorne, Griffith's Toronto-based General Manager.
"We are doubling down on building this company for long-term success," he explains. "It's about realigning our strategies to support our core purpose. It's also about looking for opportunities to create shared value in the marketplace on issues like reducing food waste, improving health and nutrition, and raising living standards in many of the countries where we operate."
Griffith's sustainability strategy rests on three key pillars - people, planet and performance.
When it comes to people, Griffith takes pride in being a caring company, both in the way it treats its employees as valued family members and the way its employees give back to the community.
In 2016, Griffith's Canadian head office met the ambitious goal of working with local food banks to provide one million meals to individuals and families in need. The same goal has been set for 2017, while the company continues to ramp up the level of employee engagement and expand the reach of its food bank effort outside the Toronto area.
Griffith also strives to be a good steward of the planet by, among other things, continually improving the energy efficiency of its operations and finding new ways to source food ingredients and products in the most sustainable manner possible.
The company has converted most of its operations to energy-efficient LED lighting. It has also reduced water consumption and achieved the goal of sending zero waste to landfill sites. Further reducing the company's hydro requirements is a key priority.
"All of these areas represent a 'win-win' situation," says Thorne. "We have the potential to reduce our environmental impact as well our operating costs."
Sustainable food sourcing is being pursued on several fronts. In Canada, where sustainable farming practices are already at a high level, Griffith works closely with the agricultural sector to make further improvements. In countries like India, the company is working to ensure the spices it purchases are harvested and processed in a sustainable way and that local farmers earn liveable wages.
Going forward, Griffith is working towards ISO14001 certification, an international standard that helps companies manage and improve their environmental, safety, food quality and efficiency practices.
"It's about going from one level of practice to the next," says Thorne. "It says a lot to the marketplace about your level of professionalism and the rigor and discipline within your operations."
Griffith's commitment to sustainability is popular among employees, something borne out in the company's most recent employee engagement survey - and by Bogdan Tonea, who has seen a positive evolution on this front.
"There's been a lot of change over the years, and I know this emphasis on sustainability is here to stay," says Tonea. "People realize this is the right thing to do."