Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Keurig Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Montreal's Top Employers (2017):
- Keurig Canada provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new or adoptive mothers, depending on employee group (up to 90% of salary for 18 weeks) -- and also offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Keurig Canada invests in the education of current and future generations, offering academic scholarships for children of employees (to $2,000 per child) and tuition subsidies for employees who take courses at outside institutions (to $1,500)
- In addition to supporting a number of local charitable organizations each year, Keurig Canada encourages employees to give back with matching employee donations (to $1,000 annually) and financial donations to charities where employees volunteer their time ($250 for every 25 volunteer hours)
Coffee company Keurig Canada has plenty of perks
If you thought the coffee trends of the past few decades might have been played out, think again. According to Stéphane Glorieux, the president of Keurig Canada Inc., coffee is set to become even more ubiquitous in the future. Single-serve Keurig K-Cup pods have "literally been a revolution," he says. "And we're only starting. This is definitely a very exciting business to be in."
As coffee knowledge has grown, the tastes of individual drinkers have become more refined, paving the way for the single cup servings. Keurig coffee makers are now present in 25 per cent of Canadian households, offering consumers both convenience and choice. Coffee compromises have become a thing of the past.
Toronto-based Jason Rakovitis joined Keurig Canada in 2014 after noticing the company, which has its headquarters in Montreal, was actively hiring. He researched Keurig, liked the high growth rates he saw, and applied to work as a national account manager. He began with a grocery chain account, added a national pharmacy to his brief, switched to another grocery chain, and then moved on to manage a top hardware retailer where he was involved in promoting and selling coffee makers as well as pods.
"Keurig seems to always find a way to offer me new career opportunities to support my growth," says Rakovitis who enjoys changing things up and keeping motivated with new challenges. Just recently, he was promoted into a position where he works with partner brands developing new pod products and helping them grow within the Keurig ecosystem. Keurig Canada offers over 180 varieties of beverages from more than 35 brands including Keurig-owned Timothy's and Van Houtte, which is about to mark its centenary.
For the first time, Rakovitis is also taking on management responsibilities, something he had told his managers he wanted to do. "I've had great mentors in the past, they heard me, and we identified a role that would be a good fit," he says.
Glorieux says he's extremely open to having people try out different jobs, something he himself has done over his decades in the food and consumer packaged goods industries. "If you are hired in finance, there's no reason you shouldn't have an opportunity to play in different functions. I feel that in today's world, that equips folks to be better business people. It makes us dynamic."
Employees can switch it up by making their wishes known, as Rakovitis did, or, in a more structured way, through the new Caffeine program which involves formal rotations through different roles over a three-year period.
Other employee programs include Keurig's Origin Trips, which bring employees to coffee farms where they experience harvesting and the life producers lead. "We have pretty strong values and we're very in tune to make sure folks here can make a difference," says Glorieux.
In keeping with its goal of "Brewing A Better World", Keurig Canada is on track to make all K-Cup pods in Canada recyclable by the end of 2018, a commitment that prompted the company to retool its factory in Montreal to produce pods in recyclable No. 5 polypropylene.
And Keurig Canada's CAFE program (Community Action For Employees) enables employees to volunteer up to 52 hours each year during their work time. Rakovitis, who has a good friend who lost his vision in Grade 12, uses his hours to support Canadian Blind Hockey. Throughout the year, he helps out at learn-to-skate programs and also at an annual tournament. It's a benefit he really values and very different from another favourite company perk -- the free coffee he orders each month and gets to enjoy at home.
Keurig brews a special mix of work and volunteerism
If you want to join Keurig Canada Inc., a company passionate about coffee (and tea), it helps to have a sunny disposition. "Coffee is social -- it's fun," explains Olivier Lemire, Keurig Canada's Vice President, Human Resources. "We want people who take their jobs seriously, but not themselves."
Adds Lemire: "We can attract people with great compensation, but to retain them we need a workplace environment that people enjoy being part of."
Retention, Lemire adds, also depends on a workplace where people can grow and reach their full potential. "It's a unique mind-set and people need to be ready to take on challenges and go beyond." While Keurig Canada, for example, pays for outside training, the company also supports professional development in other ways. For one thing, it is a big believer in moving people around the organization so they can learn and develop other skills to get a better understanding of the business.
Indeed, Lemire joined Keurig Canada five years ago in sales. Later, he expressed an interest in supply management. "Instead of sending me to class," he says, "the company did it for real -- they put me in the job and made sure I had the necessary support to perform." Subsequently, he was offered a promotion into his current position, again with mentoring when needed.
For his part, Maxime-Olivier Gauthier, Brand Manager Keurig, also started in sales before moving to marketing. "The company is very open to shifting people into different roles," he says. "It's a great place to grow."
Gauthier also appreciates the company's generous community support initiatives. Keurig Canada matches employee charitable contributions up to $1,000 and provides everyone with up to a remarkable 52 hours paid time off for volunteer work. "They really encourage you to make a difference," says Gauthier.
Each office unit has a Community Action for Employees ambassador who promotes volunteer opportunities. "People come back to work from these experiences so energized that it inspires others to take part," Gauthier says. "And if you go once, you want to go twice."
As well, employees vie for annual opportunities to spend a week in a coffee-growing country where Keurig Canada cultivates partnerships and supports local farmers. In many communities, the company helps improve peoples' livelihoods and builds a resilient supply chain. "We want our employees to really make connections with our suppliers," says Lemire. "We want them to take pride in the relationship."
And one last thing: the coffee (and tea) is free for employees.