Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017), Ten Best Companies to Work For (2016) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Samsung Canada's LEED certified head office was designed with employee feedback and features plenty of flexible and open workspace to maximize employee collaboration, dedicated "idea rooms" and casual breakout areas, a technology showroom (featuring current and future technology), premium parking for hybrid and electric car commuters as well as charging stations for electric cars
- Samsung Canada established the "Women@SECA" in 2013 to help women employees connect from across the company -- and support the goal of increasing the presence of women in executive positions by providing development, informal mentorship and networking opportunities
- Samsung Canada encourages ongoing employee development and offers a global mobility program, which provides employees with an opportunity to work in South Korea for up to 1 year -- Samsung also manages a 10-month rotational program that provides training, mentoring and job-shadowing opportunities to help new grads gain entry-level experience
- Samsung Canada host an annual formal "Day of Giving" initiative where all employees volunteer for 1 day -- the company increased its volunteer hours committed this past year donating approximately 10,000 hours compared to 2,500 hours (still impressive) in the previous year
For Samsung Canada, innovation is in everyone
It's hardly surprising that Samsung Canada likes to stress innovation for its employees. After all, it sells leading-edge devices, TVs, home appliances, and much more. But the company isn't just talking about its cohort of research and development techies. Samsung wants every employee - whether in sales, marketing, finance, legal, customer service or any other role - to be innovative in their work.
"We're the kind of company that is very future-forward," says Christine Greco, Vice President Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. "Nothing stays the same for very long in our organization."
That makes for a very stimulating environment at Samsung's Mississauga, Ont. headquarters, at its Burnaby, B.C.-based R&D Lab, and at its office in Montreal. "Individuals who are inspired, inventive and passionate thrive at Samsung," says Greco. "Our workplaces are full of energy, and have a very positive and creative vibe. And you can be creative in any of our roles."
Every year, the South Korean-based parent company runs a global employee survey that in part measures "how creative and inventive you can be in your job, how you've been able to grow yourself and therefore grow the organization," she says.
Samsung Canada has begun training on special tools for employees to use themselves and in teams to foster innovative thinking. These include company-wide and division-level workshops on Systematic Inventive Thinking, as well as hosting external speakers for employees to hear about future trends in technology beyond Samsung's own products.
"We're starting to give people really unique tools and ways to think differently around challenges they're facing," says Greco. "If you're an HR professional or a brand marketing leader on a consumer electronics product, you have different challenges. But these tools and external insights can be used to foster new thinking and approaches,"
For the R&D Lab team in suburban Vancouver, innovation is a way of life. Yet Zhibin Niu, a server specialist working on the Samsung Pay and Samsung Knox systems, still finds that the company is impressive in its ability to come up with breakthrough solutions, not just on technology but in managing processes. "People here are very open to new ideas," he says.
Empowerment, too. China-born Niu joined Samsung two years ago after earning a Master of Software Systems degree at the University of British Columbia. Since then he has been given exciting responsibilities, including starting up the system on the day of launch for a major new service, and he has travelled to the U.S., Europe and South Korea. "I have been given a lot of trust," he says. "I really appreciate it."
Samsung Canada is also keen to provide a comfortable and progressive work environment for its employees. Beyond old-style casual Fridays, its headquarters policy is now "dress for your day" - casual in the office if you prefer, business dress if you have clients to see. "It's been very well received," says Greco.
Work times are also becoming even more flexible. During the summer, employees could leave at noon on the Friday before a long weekend. Opportunities to work from home have been expanded. There are improved benefits, including support for eldercare in a partnership with Toronto's Bayshore HealthCare. Samsung has also introduced a peer-to peer and manager-to-employee recognition program called U r Awesome. Through an online and mobile app, the recognition can be social or offer points to be redeemed for an array of product or service rewards.
From benefits to casual dress, says Greco, "it all goes to the culture we want to enable, so you can be innovative and creative."
Samsung's people power elevates brand to new heights
When Kayla Lunter, a supply chain manager, joined Samsung Electronics Canada in 2008, friends had heard of the brand, but weren't overly familiar with the company. This year, for the first time, Samsung made it to the top 10 of both Ipsos Reid's Most Influential Brands in Canada and Léger Marketing's Most Reputable Brands.
"Now," says Lunter, "the first reaction is 'Wow!'"
Samsung's popular Galaxy smartphones and tablets have been an integral part of building the brand visibility in Canada, as well as an increased presence in the GTA, where it's engaged in a wide range of activities. Since the summer of 2014, for example, Samsung has operated the largest outdoor LED billboard in Canada at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Visitors can frequently be spotted up gazing up at the 97-feet-wide by 60-feet-tall screen, which is equivalent to one third the size of a soccer field. They could be informed with real-time traffic or weather updates from a partnership with the Weather Network to footage from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), where Samsung was a key sponsor in 2016.
"We felt that it was a perfect way to get closer to our primary audience, young-minded Canadians, by aligning with one of their core passions of film and entertainment," says Chief Marketing Officer Mark Childs.
Samsung has also just opened its first standalone store in the GTA, which - at 2,535 square feet - is its largest in Canada. Located in CF Sherway Gardens, the store allows Canadians to engage with Galaxy mobile devices and the latest Samsung innovations. It also features a Samsung Service Centre with walk-in support for a variety of products, including one-hour repairs.
"Our experience stores are all about bringing our technology and brand to life," says Childs.
Samsung's cutting-edge technology is also integrated throughout the company's new Mississauga headquarters, which opened in 2013. Designed by employees for employees to reflect the Samsung culture, each floor is meant to inspire creativity and collaboration and represents company values through colours. The first floor is purple for people. The elevator is red for change. The second floor is orange for prosperity. The third floor is blue for excellence. And the fourth floor is green for integrity.
"Creating the first floor was a fantastic expression of the brand coming to life," says Christine Greco, Vice President Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. The space features a showroom with Samsung's latest and future technologies, and bleacher-style seating for employees.
For employees like Lunter, the building offers both traditional meeting rooms and more relaxed spaces with sofas and giant cushions. There's a subsidized Samsung Café catering to on-site and take-out employee needs, featuring both western and Korean food choices. At the complimentary Activity Centre, complete with gym equipment and shower facilities, employees can work out with trainers and take group classes like yoga.
There's also an employee lounge and a dedicated room for meditation, prayer and reflection. Outside the office, there are covered bike racks and designated preferred parking spaces for employees who carpool or drive hybrids.
Samsung is actively involved in giving back to many GTA causes and community organizations including the Sick Kids Foundation. It encourages employees to take two days each year to volunteer through its "Samsung Gives" initiatives.
"We want every single employee to feel inspired every day, and be proud to work for Samsung Canada," says Childs.