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 Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Rogers helps employees plan for life after work with the attractive, and increasingly rare, defined benefit pension plan -- and encourages employees to share more than a paycheque along the way, through a share purchase plan, year-end bonuses for some positions, new employee referral bonuses (to $1,500), and great discounts on a variety of products and services, from cellphone plans to Toronto Blue Jays tickets
- Rogers supports new moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for the first 4 weeks followed by 70% for 13 weeks) and also extends parental top-up to new dads and adoptive parents (to 70% of salary for 17 weeks) -- and offers a variety of alternative work options when employees are ready to return to work
- Rogers encourages employees to keep fit with subsidized membership to a fully-equipped fitness facility and encourages employees to make healthy lifestyle choices through an in-house wellness initiative called "bWell" -- the program includes a dedicated bilingual website, an annual online fitness challenge, a network of employees designated as "Wellness Ambassadors", and an annual health, safety and wellness fair
Welcome aboard: Rogers onboarding program for new hires
New job stress is always a challenge. But it's amplified when your computer's not running, you have to borrow a colleague's pass card to get to the washroom, and there's no one to explain to you what all those puzzling acronyms mean.
In recognition that first impressions count, Rogers Communications Inc. has just launched an innovative onboarding program to welcome new hires. Onboarding became a priority after the Rogers 2014 CEO Listening Tour, when employees repeatedly said their experience of joining Rogers could be improved.
Change has happened. Instead of beginning their jobs whenever they're hired, employees now start on two designated days per month. Their first assignment is in-person onboarding in Toronto, which for many means boarding a plane to company headquarters.
Once they arrive, they head to a new custom-built learning centre where they meet colleagues, typically 50 to 100 in each session. "There were so many different diverse groups: technicians that drive vans, trainers, people I would not have met otherwise," says Stéfanie Cardinal, a Deskside IT Analyst, who does trouble shooting and flew in from Ottawa.
Cardinal pitched in to help with the technology bootcamp that runs alongside the three-day onboarding event. "I now know exactly what they need and the tools they need to do their jobs," she says.
Another goal of the program is to give new employees an understanding of Rogers many and varied businesses. While it's best known as Canada's largest provider of wireless communications services and as a major cable television and high-speed Internet company, Rogers is also a key player in the media business. It owns radio and television properties, magazines and trade publications, sports entertainment and digital media businesses.
New hires get tours of both Sportsnet and the Chatelaine test kitchen. Cardinal was surprised to learn about her employer's affiliation with the Spotify music streaming service.
She especially enjoyed a workshop where participants were asked to describe something that had made them feel a sense of accomplishment as a child. "It made everyone happy," she says. "You could see the spark in their eyes."
Like many companies, Rogers had gone the online route with its new employee programs, so this is something of a reversal. "We wanted to provide a unified program from frontline to executive that connects people to our legacy, customers and strategy," says Nancy Nazer, Senior Vice President of Organizational Development and Enterprise Learning.
Research shows that well structured onboarding programs have long lasting and surprising effects. New employees who attend are 69 per cent more likely to remain with their company for up to three years. Their organizations have a 54 per cent greater new hire productivity rate and retention is increased by 50 per cent.
As one of Canada's largest employers, Rogers anticipates putting 2,000 new hires through the program annually. While it varies slightly by employee type, the content and foundation is the same.
Contract, part-time and existing employees who want a refresher course can access an online version of the program. For new hires to the Call Centre, content is integrated into the existing curriculum. Regular, full-time "office/corporate" employees all do the in-person program.
Along with a paperless administration process for new employees, they can also choose their own smartphones and other equipment. Future people managers stay on for training about what it means to be a leader at Rogers.
It's been a major investment, but, says Nazer, "The return on our investment is going to be huge. The program really helps set employees up for success so they can hit the ground running in their new roles and start their career at Rogers."
Rogers invests big in staff development
When Rogers Communications made investing in and developing its people a key part of its Rogers 3.0 strategy, the company sprang into action. Its first initiatives included creating a high-tech learning centre, developing original curriculum, and setting - and achieving - a goal of training 800 managers in the first year of the program.
The message sent to employees was that top executives had heard, loud and clear, their requests for more training and coaching, and were responding - fast. The Rogers Learning Centre is a visible example of Rogers' commitment. Located on Bloor Street in Toronto, across the road from the corporate headquarters, the centre takes up an entire sub-level of the building in which it's housed.
It has giant windows which look out on the Rosedale ravine and an outside space for participants to gather when the weather's fine. The interior is designed as "inspiration for all different types of learning," says Nancy Nazer, Senior Vice President of Organizational Development and Enterprise Learning. "It shows employees how invested we are in their ongoing development."
The images and thought-provoking statements on the wall reflect the company's legacy as well as founder Ted Rogers' personal credo that "the best is yet to come." Modular furniture folds up and can be easily moved into multiple configurations depending on what's on the learning agenda.
A cafe space, couches and communal tables allow for informal networking over lunch and breaks, and post-training social events. The latest technology is used for learning and there's even a replica of a Rogers store for training frontline employees attending the Retail Academy, one of five main programs offered at the centre.
Along with retail, other key programs cover training and coaching for managers, directors and executives, organizational effectiveness and on-boarding for new employees. The centre is now more than 95-per-cent booked every day, with full capacity at 104. Several small groups can train there simultaneously or one large group. Recently, some 100 managers all trained together at the centre.
Talent Development and Social Learning Leader Salima Nathoo joined Rogers earlier this year to head up the new manager program at the Learning Centre. A specialist in experiential learning, she worked with other Rogers leaders and external vendors to create the manager leadership development program from scratch. "It's been quite the journey and it's been fast," she says. "We're tweaking and enhancing as we go."
As it stands now, it takes Rogers managers about six to eight months to complete the program, which begins with a two-day session at the Learning Centre, explains Nathoo. The program has four in-person components, which are taken within six to eight weeks of each other, with on-going learning on a social collaboration platform.
Part one is about company culture and knowledge. Two is about leadership and understanding themselves and their leadership brand. Three involves coaching for influence. Four is about collaboration and trust. Everything is tied together with a focus on teams.
Managers take advantage of the Learning Centre facilities and technology to do things like create a collaborative video or participate in "gamified learning" through digital simulations. More traditionally, they also hear from the company's VPs and SVPs.
"They speak a lot about the customer experience and how we make money," says Nathoo, so that managers from different areas of the business can better understand the company as a whole.
Along with the 800 managers trained at the Toronto centre this year, Rogers has also put hundreds of new hires through its recently launched on-boarding program, flying them in from across the country.
Over the next year, it plans to refresh its director and executive programs as it's done with managers, and it wants to expand the Retail Academy. "What we're doing is all designed to attract and retain top talent, to ensure our employees understand our commitment to their engagement," says Nazer.
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- Rogers established the Rogers Youth Fund to provide financial support for educational programs delivered by community partners to youth between the ages of 12 and 19 -- the Fund recently supported the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada in launching "Rogers Raising the Grade" programs, which provide after school homework clubs, academic tutoring and alternative schooling in local communities
- In the past year, Rogers launched an internal rotational program for employees who recently graduated -- the program features two 6-month rotations in different business units as well as the assignment of a business challenge -- at the end of their term, participants present solutions to a group of senior leaders
- In partnership with the Government of Ontario, Rogers manages an Apprenticeship Training program to help develop industry-standard skills and provide accreditation for roles such as customer service consultants, sales consultants and technical support consultants
Rogers grad program gets a morale-boosting twist
Being selected as a new graduate at a major corporation is about as good an entry to the working world as a young person can get. New graduate programs are extremely selective and only hire a handful of people, almost always recruited directly from university and college campuses. But Rogers decided to give its new grad program a twist and to include candidates already working for the company so long as they had graduated within the last two years.
"It's important to us that we not only look outside, but inside," says Nancy Nazer, Senior Vice President of Organizational Development and Enterprise Learning. "Frontline employees, like those in call centres or retail stores, see definite opportunities as a result of being part of this program." It's a morale-boosting move that shows Rogers appreciates its many talented young people already employed in different capacities.
Nekese McNabb had been with Rogers for four years when she applied for and was accepted into the new grad program. She had started out in retail sales after she bought a phone at the Rogers store in the mall where she worked part-time selling clothes. She decided it might be more fun to work at Rogers so she switched jobs.
McNabb stayed on at that first Rogers store, all the while continuing her university studies in human resources, until she was promoted to assistant manager in 2014. "My manager encouraged me to push myself and apply for more senior positions," she says. "He gave me the necessary training and support that I needed throughout my application process."
It was not long after graduating in the fall of 2014 that McNabb first heard about the internal new grad program while attending CEO Guy Laurence's annual all-employee kick-off meeting. Laurence talked about the company's reinvigorated commitment to training and employee development including the revamped grad program.
"I wasn't aware of anything like that before. It opened the doors for me to be able to apply," says McNabb, adding that while she had "book knowledge" of HR skills from university, she didn't have any experience working in the actual field. She saw the grad program as a way she could get some real-life training and HR skills. She was "ecstatic" when she was selected as a new grad.
While in the past, different Rogers divisions had run their own grad programs, this was the first time it was offering a company-wide 12-month rotational program. Since internal applicants already start in a customer-facing role, all external applicants begin their program by getting to know the front-line business. "Regardless of where your career at Rogers takes you, we want you to understand our customer and how we're working to overhaul their experience," explains Nazer.
For the internal program, one of the six-month rotations is designed to give the grads a taste of something different while the other six months are spent in a position more tailored to their academic background and future career goals. In McNabb's case, she did her first rotation in a communications role while her final stint will be in human resources as a coordinator.
The grads also go through the onboarding program Rogers launched in 2015, spending two days at its new learning centre, which opened last year as part of the new focus on training and developing all employees.
For Rogers, the ultimate goal of the new grad and its other recently-introduced learning programs is to retain and develop top talent and future leaders. The company wants employees to know that Rogers is investing in them.
"Even though it's a big company, you're not just a number," says McNabb. "I definitely see a future with Rogers. Everything you do is valued."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 23, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016):
- Rogers' diversity leadership council recently launched a sub-committee to implement target action plans to build the pipeline and increase representation of women in leadership, increase representation of persons with disabilities and better serve clients, strengthen the pipeline and increase representation of visible minorities at leadership levels, and build and implement a targeted action plan to increase representation of Aboriginal peoples
- The company created the Rogers Women's Network to promote the retention and professional development of female employees -- the group organizes various workshops and networking events throughout the year and manages a group mentoring program, available to employees at its Toronto, Brampton and Montreal offices
- Rogers partners with Career Bridge to provide employment opportunities to internationally educated professionals as well as Ability Edge to provide internships for persons with disabilities
Rogers targets six diversity and inclusion areas
When Evguenia Potachenskaia arrived in Canada from Russia in 1996, she was 19 years old, a single parent and a student starting university in Montreal. "I didn't really understand Canadian culture," she says. "I felt excluded."
Potachenskaia, who is now Director of Internal Talent Management and Inclusion and Diversity at Rogers Communications, remembers group project work at McGill being especially
difficult due to her newcomer status. Then, when she started looking for jobs, she was often turned away as a result of her lack of "Canadian experience."
Although Potachenskaia always had the support of her parents through her difficult first years, she became quite discouraged at times. Coming to an understanding of the different dynamics at play shaped her future attitudes towards culture and the workplace.
"Culture needs to be open and honest about what the expectations are," Potachenskaia says, adding that Rogers strives to be transparent about its high performance culture, drive to win and values. "Openness provides space for innovation, quality development and personal growth. That's inclusion."
For Rogers, diversity and inclusion has evolved into programs that are about much more than representation. There's recognition that valuing a diverse workforce allows "people to bring different perspectives to the table," says Nyla Ahmad, Senior Vice-President, Enterprise Marketing, who also co-leads the company's Inclusion & Diversity Council with Nitin Kawale, President, Enterprise Business Unit. "When you're working in the innovation phase, these things are very important."
Ahmad has long seen the fact that she grew up with a Finnish mother and a Pakistani father as an advantage. "I was always the different one in the group but I wasn't inhibited by my differences," she says, adding that it provided her with "a very broad comfort zone meeting people from diverse backgrounds."
Even as a woman in technology, which she describes as very male dominated, Ahmad never felt excluded. "I didn't actually pay attention to issues of culture or gender diversity," she confesses. "I would say that as I got older and progressed in my career, I became much more aware and realized there were different dynamics at play in the room.
"I decided to actually embrace my differentness to harness it and add value. I wouldn't try to be one of the boys."
Now, as a leader, she doesn't feel the need to speak all the time and instead tries hard to introduce other points of view into the conversation. "My biggest insight about different perspectives is really around how you make people comfortable enough to bring their perspectives."
As a company, Rogers has recently prioritized six diversity and inclusion areas: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Allies; Aboriginals; People with Disabilities; Women in Leadership; Visible Minorities; and Millennials. It is now setting up relevant goals for each area and will launch internally with employees declaring "I'm IN!" When the council sent out word they were looking for people to become involved, they were inundated with hundreds of offers. "There's a lot of passion around it," says Ahmad.
That kind of a reaction comes from Rogers' "embedding" of its values in everything from hiring practices and its new on-boarding program for new employees to managing performance and promoting internal talent, says Potachenskaia. "We all work together and that increases the worth of what we do, but diversity still starts with ourselves, with each individual."
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 21, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2016):
- Rogers manages an Environmental Steering Committee (and subcommittees) comprised of approximately 40 employees from across the company's many lines of business, who meet quarterly to review ongoing progress of the company's corporate environmental program -- Rogers also invites members of the company's numerous informal green teams to sit on the Environmental Steering Committee to help align the company's strategic program to employees' local efforts
- Rogers introduced the "Get Up & Get Green" recycling program at major facilities to improve its overall waste diversion rate -- the new centralized collection strategy includes the introduction of new easy to use sorting stations in place of personal garbage and recycling bins -- Rogers' head office's waste diversion rate is already over 70 percent with initiatives underway to expand to other locations
- Rogers leverages its technology to reduce the need for business travel, introducing more "TelePresence" suites across the country in keeping with growing demand, complimenting the ongoing informal use of other chat platforms such as Skype, Adobe Connect and Microsoft Lync
Rogers empowers employees to help the environment
In his own way, Alexandre Paquin is helping to save the Earth. And he's happy that his employer is, too. The Marketing Manager for Retention with Rogers Communications cycles every day to Rogers' downtown Montreal office at Place Bonaventure. And last fall, with the company's support, he organized a Rogers Green Team to reduce the office's environmental footprint.
"It's really great to work at a place that encourages green initiatives and empowers employees," says Paquin. "Given the environmental situation happening around the world, I really see this as crucial for a large organization like Rogers to lead by example."
Rogers has a history of environmental leadership going back to the 1990s, says Doug Jeoffroy, Vice-President, Corporate Real Estate. Some of the company's earth-friendly efforts, like its Get Up & Get Green program, were started at the urging of employees.
Under the initiative, recycling and waste bins were removed from individual workstations and replaced with new, central units in locations on each floor. The program has helped Rogers adopt a standardized approach to separating materials. And viewed from across its sizeable real estate holdings - like its vast, 1-million-square-foot head office campus in downtown Toronto - Get Up & Get Green has had a significant impact.
"It has helped get us into the proper mindset to sort and recycle," says Jeoffroy. "Our participation rate continues to grow tremendously, and we've had a 30 to 40 per cent improvement in recycling."
In its food services facilities, Rogers has implemented an eco-dining program, replacing plastic with china and stainless steel, and shifting whenever possible to sustainable ingredients produced locally. It has also helped cut food waste by about 25 per cent.
By switching to LED lighting technology in 15 buildings, Jeoffroy says, the company has cut its energy consumption since 2011 by 4.5 million kilowatts - the equivalent of powering 550 homes for one year or taking 1,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.
Rogers' Environmental Steering Committee gives employee representatives a say in company-wide environmental decisions. And an effort to encourage the formation of Rogers Green Teams at company locations across Canada has spurred grassroots action.
In Montreal, Paquin says, his dedicated group of volunteers has already made some impressive strides. On the three floors Rogers occupies at Place Bonaventure, the Green Team mobilized colleagues to collect three large bins full of used computer equipment, phones, office supplies and other items destined for landfill sites. The material was donated to schools and some charities, where it can be re-used.
That's not all: The Green Team surveyed employees to ascertain their environmental priorities, and persuaded the building's maintenance staff to replace paper towels with electric hand driers in the washrooms. The team also actively works to educate employees about environmental issues and encourage the use of bicycles and public transportation to get to work. "A lot of what we do is around awareness," says Paquin.
Demonstrating strong corporate responsibility plays a key role today in attracting and retaining the next generation of talent, Jeoffroy says. "Our employees hold us accountable to be good environmental stewards," he notes. "Making sure we practise what we preach is very important."
The company is also proud of the measures it has taken to help its customers reduce their own impact on the environment. Through its campaign to promote paperless invoicing, fully 60 per cent of Rogers customers now receive their bills electronically, he says. Its Texture digital magazine subscription service is also helping to reduce paper consumption.
Rogers Smart Home Monitoring service gives homeowners the ability to not only increase their security, but better manage their utility costs. "It's an enhanced home-monitoring system integrated with an energy home-monitoring platform," says Jeoffroy. "It's a great way to manage your energy spend."