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 Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, Inc. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Employees working at Rothmans, Benson & Hedges receive 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance as well as up to 10 paid personal days off each year (which can be scheduled at employees' discretion)
- Rothmans, Benson & Hedges provides excellent family-friendly benefits including maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for up to 26 weeks) as well as parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents -- the company also offers a daycare subsidy for Kids & Company
- In addition to helping employees save for the future, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges encourages employees to develop long-term retirement plans with retirement planning assistance and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit)
See the world with Rothmans, Benson & Hedges
When university student Michelle Funk worked one summer as a receptionist at the Rothmans, Benson & Hedges (RBH) Canadian head office in Toronto, she had no idea that she was embarking on a promising career that would include four years in Lausanne, Switzerland. "It's been a pretty cool journey, and I still have a few stops to go," says Funk, now the company's Manager of Commercial Organizational Development.
Opportunities abound for RBH employees who want to seize the initiative, according to Jackie Taylor, RBH Director of Human Resources. "People own their careers," she says, "and we are here to guide you to your destination."
At RBH, professional development involves lots of variety. As Taylor puts it, "Career progression here is not a ladder, but a web." Adds Funk: "One of the great things about Rothmans is being able to establish a career path. It's empowering and shows the company is willing to take risks."
Funk started in sales some 15 years ago. Looking for broader exposure, she was selected for a one year to 18-month corporate transfer to RBH's international headquarters in Lausanne. As her assignment was running out, Funk decided to remain in the Swiss head office for another three years to better understand brand marketing. "My current job - training and developing sales and marketing teams - really builds on the knowledge I picked up overseas," she says.
While there are typically half a dozen Canadian RBH employees temporarily in Lausanne, other postings that fit an employee's professional development plan are available almost everywhere around the globe. "Being in a foreign land helps you grow and learn new things, including about yourself," says Taylor.
Overseas postings are but one of several RBH's distinctive development measures. There's a summer intern program for second-year university students that often leads to them being invited back after they finish third year. And then, many of those are offered a permanent job once they graduate, quite a boon for fourth-year students worried about their futures.
RBH's Xcelerated Development Program allows high achievers to further develop leadership and problem-solving skills in an eight-month, project-oriented exercise that participants have to perform while still handling their daily responsibilities. Teams of four or five are assigned business challenges whose solutions are often adopted by the company. Among those put into action is RBH's employee recognition program, launched earlier this year, in which staff can single out fellow workers for outstanding performance that can lead to tangible rewards.
Another example of how RBH listens when employees speak is its new approach to distributing wellness benefits, which used to be restricted to health club memberships. Now, employees have $1,000 to spend on a wide range of activities from new skis and bicycles to courses in flower arrangements. "We believe in a broad definition of wellness," Taylor says.
In addition to its suite of generous benefits, RBH wants to help people understand how best to utilize them. There are counselling sessions on investment and retirement planning. On the medical side, employees are offered health risk assessments, including onsite health clinics.
In addition to vacation time, all staff are entitled to up to 10 days of personal leave that they can use for a variety of purposes, including getting married or attending their own citizenship ceremonies. In addition, RBH provides one paid day for charitable activities of an employee's choice. This year, 20 people from different units helped out for a day on a GTA Habitat for Humanity project, building homes for the less fortunate. They also raised some $8,600 for the initiative, nearly three times their goal.
Funk says the company benefit programs are another example of supporting employees in achieving personal as well as career goals. "This is a place you don't have to leave to gain new experiences," she says.