Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why OpenText Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016), Ten Best Companies to Work For (2016) and Waterloo Area's Top Employers (2016):
- One of Canada's leading software development firms, OpenText invests heavily in the development of its people through in-house training programs and generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (to $3,000 annually)
- Steps away from the University of Waterloo, one of Canada's top universities for technology, employees at OpenText's head office enjoy working in a campus-like setting and can enjoy breaks in an employee lounge complete with foosball and video games -- the lounge also leads to an outdoor patio that directly connects to a walking path that winds through the university's lush environmental reserve
- OpenText continues to expand in Canada and internationally -- the company added 130 full-time employees in Canada last year and all employees are encouraged to become owners of the publicly-traded company through a share-purchase plan
OpenText: global opportunities, with the energy of a start-up
Mark Barrenechea has no hesitation in describing the kind of people they like at OpenText Corporation: "Smart, ambitious, innovative, curious, ready to challenge the status quo, able to contribute at a very high level." Oh yes, and good at software.
"This is a customer-driven organization," says Barrenechea, Chief Executive Officer for the Waterloo, Ont.-based firm. "Innovation is key to ensuring we're ahead of the market."
As Canada's largest software company, OpenText offers solutions for document digital asset management to enterprises, in the cloud, and now, even to individual users. It's a global company, with some 8,200 employees in offices around North America and in Europe and Asia.
OpenText offers people "careers in digital" that span a wide range of positions globally. On the tech side OpenText is out to attract top software engineers, developers and product managers. On the sales and services side are the account executives, solution consultants and technical support professionals.
Lisa Zangari, Chief Human Resources Officer, says much of the company's growth has come through acquisitions, so integrating new people is critical. "We are very value-centric, and that is apparent wherever you go across the OpenText globe," she says. "I believe we've been very successful at integrating our cultures as we acquire new organizations, and ensuring that our values are central. It's important to us that all of our employees understand what we mean by trust, by obsessing over the customer, by excellence and of course by innovation."
Leadership development is essential for OpenText. Its in-house Core Leadership Program helps team leaders engage and mobilize their people to deliver results. Nearly 900 managers have now been through the program. "It has incredible impact," says Zangari. "This is a differentiator for us."
And those aiming for the top jobs can be selected by the CEO and Zangari for the Leaders Circle, a 9-10 month development program for some 20 senior executives who work as a team on a single organizational issue to produce recommendations at the end. "We really leverage their brainpower," she says. "It's exciting."
As a high-performing tech company, OpenText is strong on work-life balance, offering work from home and other options. "We're not a 9 to 5 operation, we're a 24/7 operation, so employees have a lot of flexibility as to where and when they conduct their work," says Zangari.
Nicole Davis is grateful for that. As Technical Product and Development Operations Manager in Waterloo for teams involved with key company products, she had an exhilarating time working on the launch of OpenText Core, a file-sharing solution that even individuals can use. "We had a lot of late nights," she says. "I encourage my team to take time off to recoup and to make use of our flexible work culture, or work from home."
Kitchener-born Davis likes the global nature of the company, which has allowed her to spend time in the Munich office working with a team she was already collaborating with electronically. Internal mobility is encouraged, and if there's a good business reason, a Canadian staffer could end up working in Silicon Valley or Europe, among other places.
Davis also points to one of the hallmarks of OpenText - a large company that functions like a small one. "There's a lot of focus on startup culture, and the drive towards more agile change," she says. "We also talk about being passionately curious - about continually learning and continually being curious about what you do - because I don't think you can enjoy your job if you're not. As managers of people, we're trying to encourage that passionate curiosity and help people reach that next step in their careers."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top 100 Employers winners, published November 9, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.