Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Samsung Canada's LEED certified head office was designed with employee feedback and features a number of flexible and open workspaces (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 and charging stations for electric cars
- Along with a number of financial benefits, Samsung Canada offers employee discounts through the Perkopolis program as well as a generous employee purchase program, allowing employees to purchase up to $20,000 in Samsung products per year
- Samsung Canada supports employees who want to start a family with maternity leave top-up payments (to 75% of salary for up to 17 weeks) and parental top-up for fathers and adoptive parents (to 75% of salary for up to 6 weeks) -- additionally, employees have the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
At Samsung Canada, everyone needs to be tech-savvy
When you're one of the world's leading technology companies, you can offer a lot of special perks and recognition to your employees. Just ask Leon Sang Wook Nam at Samsung Electronics Canada.
To start with, Nam gets a chance to see the latest technology from Samsung, sometimes before
it's available to the public, displayed in the lobby of the company's LEED-certified Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. The building features an onsite gym, subsidized cafeteria and "idea rooms" to promote collaboration.
But more to the point, there's the recognition his own colleagues provide. Nam is the Manager, Supply Chain Planning for IT, making sure the latest Samsung innovations get to where they are supposed to go. Last year, Nam was part of a team that won a Samsung Excellence Award for a solution they came up with due to changes in the company's outsourcing practices. "We made the process more efficient, which saved money and streamlined things internally," he says. "We were extremely excited to win the award and earn the recognition of our team."
Nam has also benefited from the Samsung employee recognition system, known as U r Awesome, in which colleagues can thank each other online with kudos and award each other points that can be redeemed for cool products and services, including Samsung's range of smartphones, TVs, tablets and home appliances, or donated as funds to a Canadian registered charity.
"This is a company in which people care for each other and our community," says Nam, a graduate of Western University who joined in 2012. "I put a lot of effort into my work, and I have met great people and great managers here -- we trust each other. I call it my second home."
Such sentiments are music to the ears of Paul Brannen, Chief Operating Officer. "Our employee engagement score is 70 per cent, and I think that's a testament to how you keep good people and attract good people inside of an organization," he says. "The innovative tools that we offer clearly keep people engaged, along with the technology itself and the ever-changing evolution of this business."
This is all the more important as Brannen and the rest of the Samsung Canada leadership team seek to recruit the best and brightest to a company that holds the No. 6 position on Interbrand's "Best Global Brands" list for 2017. As the company brings more innovations to the "connected home" and "the Internet of things" -- where your fridge can communicate with your smartphone to say that you're running low on milk -- Samsung Canada is looking at a wider range of job applicants. "We are always looking to hire individuals who are passionate about the lifestyle benefits of technology, or developers and programmers -- people who are excited to build local content and services around the technology," says Brannen.
Samsung Canada already has a sizeable R&D centre based in Vancouver but its technology needs are national, with offices located in Mississauga and Montreal as well as at newly integrated subsidiaries in Halifax and other cities. Moreover, says Brannen, nowadays everybody who works at Samsung has to be tech-savvy. "When you look at our product management group, people have changed from being traditional product marketers to being technology marketers, a very different sphere and space," he says. "And that's how you attract technology-oriented people."
Samsung recognizes its 'awesome' employees
Donna Francis has plenty of reasons to like working at Samsung Canada. There's the strong training and development, the volunteer opportunities, the emphasis on innovation, the global environment. And then there's U r Awesome.
Samsung's online recognition program lets employees and managers give each other reward points when someone has been a big help to them or done a great job. It's known internally as one of the ways the company lives its values. For Francis, her accumulated 50,000 points in November 2014 translated to a $500 Visa card. Less than two years later, she was back up to 68,000 - $680 - and thinking about home furnishings for Christmas.
Pretty nice bonuses. Does that mean Francis is an especially popular colleague? "Those rewards are not at all uncommon," says Francis, a Human Resources Business Manager at the company's Mississauga, Ont. headquarters. "I'm not even on the high end."
U r Awesome also allows employees to give each other a social shout-out for being helpful in smaller ways - sending over a report quickly, say, or helping prepare for a meeting. "It's so timely," says Francis. "And it's really appreciated by people. Often I get a response back by email saying, thank you so much. It changes their demeanor for the whole day."
Recognition is a big part of the environment at Samsung Canada, says Christine Greco, Vice President Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. "The program has had amazing uptake - around 90 per cent usage," she says. "We're pretty proud of that."
There are additional rewards for Bright Ideas that employees submit. If that's not enough, people can also be recognized with Samsung Dollars to use to buy company products, and all employees receive 500 Samsung Dollars at the holiday season. "Our employees have a big passion for our products," says Greco. "Providing a way for them to acquire them is important because they are our best brand ambassadors."
And building that kind of engagement is what Samsung is all about, she notes. "Employees who are passionate, creative and driven thrive at Samsung," says Greco. "Our people want to contribute to a company with a future focus."
Samsung has about 380 employees in its Mississauga headquarters, concentrated mainly in sales, marketing and supply chain roles. They also work in corporate functions from finance to communications, and there is a small cohort of tech professionals in the Quality Assurance group.
For Francis, the modern headquarters building is another of the attractions. Workspaces are open-concept, with variable-height desks and plenty of meeting areas. There's an onsite gym with free lunchtime classes. And the "dress for your day" policy allows employees to wear casual clothes if it suits their responsibilities. "If you're feeling comfortable, your productivity level will be better," she says.
Francis joined Samsung in 2011 as a co-op student and rose steadily to her current position as an HR partner for four employee groups. She says she was given opportunities to work on a variety of projects, and offered increasing responsibilities in a short time. "The ability of Samsung to recognize my talent and skill sets quickly was very impressive," she says. "I wasn't told, you have to wait a year before you can try new things. It's more like, 'you take the reins - let's see what you can do with this.' The support structure is there for people to thrive."
She also appreciates the 60 hours of training and development that employees are strongly encouraged to take each year. Then there is global mobility - if it suits their roles, employees may be able to work in offices from New York to Korea.
As for volunteering, on Samsung's Day of Giving this year, Francis joined her colleagues in helping out at a local YMCA camp. "We were putting in our time, effort and sweat, not just handing out cheques," she says. "It was an awesome experience." This time, being Awesome was its own reward.