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 Kruger Products L.P. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Kruger Products recently increased its support for employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents), providing maternity leave top-up payments for up to 18 weeks and parental leave top-up for up to 5 weeks -- additionally, the company offers an option for employees to extend their leave to an unpaid leave of absence
- Kruger Products invests in long-term employee development through tuition subsidies for courses both related and unrelated to an employees' current role, subsidies for professional accreditation and opportunities for formal mentoring
- In addition to helping employees save for the future, Kruger Products offers retirement planning assistance as well as health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit)
Cleaning up on mentoring at Kruger Products
No doubt about it, it's great having fresh fruit delivered every Monday morning to the staff kitchen. And during the summer, it was fun to take every second Friday afternoon off. But what Dalilah Kadric likes most about working at Kruger Products L.P. is the training and mentoring she has received.
"This company puts a lot of effort into identifying people with great potential and giving them opportunities to develop even more," says Kadric, who a year ago became Supply Network Planning Manager, based at the Mississauga headquarters of Canada's biggest tissue products maker. "The company recognized that I had this potential but there were things that I needed to work on. I was given the help to focus on that."
Kadric says she has very strong technical skills, but admits to being a bit of an introvert. So to build her soft skills, she attended a Dale Carnegie course and then entered a six-month internal mentoring program where she was coached one-on-one by a female vice-president. "One of the challenges I wanted to work on was being a woman in the workplace and career development as a woman, so it was great to have her as a mentor," says Kadric.
She was also selected for Kruger's Straight As program for top and mid-level managers, exploring various aspects of leadership. "Everybody brought something to the table," she says.
Francois Paroyan, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, says people development is critical for the century-old company, which manufactures some of Canada's leading tissue brands, including Cashmere, Scotties, Purex and SpongeTowels. "We really view our employees as a competitive advantage," he says. "We want to create a learning culture and give them plenty of opportunities to develop."
There are about 200 employees based in Mississauga, mainly in sales, supply chain and corporate roles, helping to oversee a company with four mills across Canada and one in the U.S. It is part of Montreal-based Kruger Inc., a major supplier of pulp and paper products.
Kadric plays a key role in supporting the teams involved in the supply chain, making sure products are in the right place at the right time and forecasting supply needs. After joining Kruger in 2008, she had previously worked on the demand side, collaborating with the sales teams to do forecasting. All along, she says, she was given the support she needed to do her job, and most recently, to make the transition.
With children aged 6 and 3, Kadric also appreciates the flexible work hours at Kruger, and she operates from home when she needs to, as do many other employees. One of her reports is far from Mississauga, working from home in Gatineau, Que. "There's a lot of openness to that," says Kadric. "You're not punching in and punching out."
Paroyan notes that Kruger recently became even more family-friendly. There are enhanced maternity top-ups of 100 per cent for the first six weeks and 70 per cent for weeks 7 to 18. A newly introduced parental leave top-up offers 70 per cent for five weeks. And for parents of older kids, the company will reimburse summer camp fees up to $500 for each child.
The Monday morning fruit highlights a wellness program that includes a $200 wellness spending account. This fall, employees joined in a seven-week, team fitness challenge in which they were given Fitbits to monitor their achievements. "Everyone was going around looking at their steps, their heart rate, their water intake," laughs Kadric.
She finds the atmosphere at Kruger very open-door and down to earth. "It feels like family," she says.