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 Reid's Heritage Group of Companies was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- Reid's Heritage Group of Companies encourages employees to save a little for the longer term with matching RSP contributions
- Reid's Heritage Group of Companies supports ongoing employee development with in-house training, tuition subsidies for job related courses (to $1,000 each year) and subsidies for professional accreditation
- Reid's Heritage Group of Companies is a forward looking home builder that's a member of the Net Zero Energy Housing Council -- a unique industry initiative that is leading the way in designing and building affordable homes that produce at least as much energy as they consume
Respect means retention at Reid's Heritage Group
Jennifer Weatherston needed a work break, but nine months later she was back at her desk at Reid's Heritage Group of Companies. "I missed the people, the challenges and the opportunities," she recalls, "especially the chance to learn from your mistakes and create something better. Here, everyone has your back and wants you to do your best."
That was more than a decade ago, and she hasn't looked back since her return. Today, Weatherston is Director of Estimating and Innovation for the award-winning, Cambridge, Ont.-based homebuilder. One of the many factors that has kept her happily at work, she says, is that, "We have passionate leaders who really care about their team members."
None more caring, no doubt, than company President Tim Blevins. "Our secret sauce is our team members," he says. "The key to our success goes beyond delivering a quality product; we deliver a quality experience for our customers, from the house plans to after sales. We can't do that without an engaged staff and we know that happy team members translate into happy customers."
The corporate strategy is to hire the right people, treat them properly and give them an opportunity to grow. "When we bring on new team members, we look for the three Cs - character, competence and curiosity," says Doug Sider, Vice-President of Team Development Resources and Corporate Culture. "Once hired, though, our work really starts."
To encourage professional development, each team member is entitled to a minimum $1,000 annually for outside training or coursework. Internally, there are regular professional development programs, including monthly sessions for managers. Everyone has a professional development plan. Says Darryl McMillan, who wears a number of hats including Director of Construction and Customer Service: "You can roadmap your own career. If you work hard, opportunity is provided."
McMillan joined the company shortly after college graduation in 2000 and has steadily moved up the ranks from a junior position. "Other companies sometimes try to recruit me, but I can't see myself working anywhere else," he says.
For McMillan, one word describes what makes Reid's Heritage special - respect. "Even as a 24-year old, I was treated with courtesy," he says. "It starts at the top and goes down throughout the organization."
Sider translates respect into three team member needs. "People want to feel valued, they want to be trusted and they want to be provided opportunities," he says. "When you hire the best people and treat them with respect, you have a winning situation. That's how our culture produces a competitive advantage."
For his part, Blevins credits the company's strong corporate culture as the basis for winning its top-employer awards as well as honours for overall quality, several in competition with more than 700 major builders across North America. "We don't inculcate people with our values, but we expect them to buy into them," he says. "The train is leaving the station, and we only want passengers who have bought into our culture."
Values such as being respectful, aspiring to be the best and, simply, having fun are also responsible for what Blevins terms an "extraordinary" retention rate when compared to others in the building and construction industries. More than 40 of the firm's 260 team members have been on staff for 15 years or more. "Retention goes way beyond salary and frills," he says. "It's about providing people with recognition and a sense of where they are going."
The company's caring culture extends to the communities it serves. Team members, who are given one day off annually to devote to a charity of their choosing, also are enthusiastic backers of corporate charitable initiatives. An annual golf tournament raises as much as $70,000 for different causes. "We're successful because of our communities," Blevins says. "We build neighbourhoods, they give to us and we give back to them."