Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 28, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why /N SPRO Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- /N SPRO encourages employees to adopt an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and lets everyone share in the company's financial success with profit-sharing
- /N SPRO helps employees keep their skills sharp with in-house and online training programs, subsidies for professional accreditation, and tuition subsidies for job-related courses
- /N SPRO offers referral bonuses as an incentive to employees to help recruit friends, up to $3,000 for successful hires
/N SPRO staff reap benefits from working in the cloud
When Luc Hédou co-founded /N SPRO with John Sanderson in 2003, he wanted to create what he calls an employee-based company. Looking back more than a dozen years later, he's proud of how /N SPRO has given so many people "a great career - including a lot of new graduates straight out of school" who now thrive in the professional services sector.
Montreal-based /N SPRO's Canadian workforce of more than 70 people provides consulting services for users of the German software giant SAP's human resources software, SuccessFactors. /N SPRO provides clients with business consulting, implementation and on-going support services for the cloud-based software according to companies' specific needs. Hédou is now the president while Sanderson is the senior vice president responsible for North American operations.
After dominating the Canadian market, /N SPRO turned its sights to the U.S., which now accounts for one third of revenues and is expected to reach one half by the end of this year. Australia is also on /N SPRO's more distant horizon. (/N SPRO, by the way, is the typed command that begins the configuration of SAP software.)
Since joining /N SPRO after graduating from HEC Montréal,, Consultant Benjamin Goldfarb has worked with 10 to 12 different clients helping them customize and use SAP SuccessFactors software to manage their human resources.
"I've been given a lot of room to explore and acquired a lot of knowledge," he says. "The culture at the company is everybody helps everybody."
Neither of these things happened by accident. They're directly tied to the company's philosophy. Hédou wanted to build a culture in which employees were incentivized to collaborate, not to compete. Information sharing has been encouraged for years, among other ways through /N SPRO's own social network. Employees ask questions on the social network as opposed to private emails, making the answers available to everyone via the network's search engine.
It was also a conscious decision "not to put new graduates in a corner to shuffle spreadsheets for years," says Hédou. "Within a year, new graduates can be doing a presentation to C-suite executives."
The nature of /N SPRO's work allows for a lot of flexibility and telecommuting. While clients used to want a consultant to be on site with them, Hédou says that "with cloud implementation, they don't have the same expectations. They expect work will be done remotely." Clients' satisfaction is the quality control.
Being in a cloud-based business allows many /N SPRO consultants to choose where they want to live and adjust their hours. Hédou says a top consultant, who is based in Cape Breton, has already let it be known that he will be taking time off when lobster fishing season gets underway in May.
Culture is extremely important to /N SPRO and a big factor in retaining employees who are regularly solicited by big-name consulting firms, according to Hédou.
Goldfarb says that, along with the sense of belonging and empowerment he gets from working at /N SPRO, he also appreciates being kept informed about its future plans. "We're not in dark about what the company's going to do next. We know about it."
This is thanks in part to the annual retreat where everyone is flown to an offsite meeting for four days of both work and play. For the last few years, the event has taken place in Cancun, Mexico, with this year's location still to be decided. It's yet another of the ways /N SPRO demonstrates its commitment to employees.
"If you work hard, you're going to be rewarded," says Goldfarb. "There are a lot of opportunities for me to grow as an individual and consultant."