Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Sekure Merchant Solutions was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Sekure Merchant Solutions offers referral bonuses for employees who recruit candidates from their personal networks, to $1,000 for successful referrals
- Sekure Merchant Solutions employees enjoy casual dress daily and can break from work in an employee lounge which features video games, a pool table, pinball and board games
- Sekure Merchant Solutions helps employees balance work and their personal lives with a number of flexible work arrangements including a telecommuting option, shortened and compressed work weeks and a 35-hour work week option
Fun, games and prizes at Sekure Merchant Solutions
Does this sound like a call centre? There is pumping music in the hall, some employees are walking around with wireless headsets, others are laughing, and every so often someone gets to spin a wheel for a prize. Well, at Montreal-based Sekure Merchant Solutions, that's how they roll.
"It's very lively on the sales floor," says Jeff Ramaglia, one of Sekure's four Managing Partners. "There's music, there's contests, there's giveaways. We like to keep it light."
Sekure's call centre is the hub of a sales operation that contacts merchants and companies across the United States to offer them cheaper ways of collecting customer card payments, whether at the store checkout or online. Ramaglia says that as an independent provider, Sekure can rely on the volume its call centre generates to offer better rates even with customers' existing equipment.
It's an entry-level job in the centre, where staff turnover can be relatively high, but Sekure goes all out to keep its people. Starting pay is well above Quebec's minimum wage, and after a certain period, successful employees receive a paid-for iPhone for personal use. There are also weekly bonuses and commissions.
Moreover, every morning, there's a free breakfast served. A 2,500-sq.-ft. staff lounge is a centre for ping pong and other tournaments. The 360 employees also get 50 per cent of their premiums paid for extended health benefits, often a challenge for smaller companies to provide.
And you've heard of casual Fridays? Sekure has turned it around, by making the dress code casual all week except for "Dress for Success Mondays". "It sets the tone for the week," says Ramaglia. "It's nice to come in and see everyone dressed up."
For the many who stay, there are plenty of opportunities to move up. In the call centre, the entry-level role is known as a Lead Generator -- one who finds prospects. These are then passed on to the Senior Account Managing team, who discuss rates with the customer and propose a plan. Beyond sales, there are also jobs in customer service, support and corporate functions. And experienced Lead Generators can expect pay increases the longer they stay, plus bonus and commission.
Melissa Contrino started in the call centre in 2010, possessing a high school diploma and some experience in tech support. She made the calls, but found that despite a lot of encouragement and helpful tips from Sekure leaders, she wasn't getting great results. "It turned out sales was not my strong point, but I really liked working here," she says. "I asked if they had anything else."
In a period of fast expansion, Sekure did. Contrino became a Research Specialist, now leading a team that backs up the sales group with detailed information and other support services. So what is it she likes about working there?
"It's the environment in general," she says. "It's a lot of fun. Everyone here is very upbeat, they're very caring. They move as far away from negativity as possible. Everyone gets along."
She points to the annual summer barbecue and the Christmas party held in a major theatre with well-known bands. There are monthly themes in each department, such as wellness or work-related trivia (e.g., Terms and Conditions), paired with competitions in which the prizes have included drones, hoverboards, iPads and TVs. One staffer also brings in a MIRA Foundation dog for training as a support animal. It's a largely Anglophone group, since the job involves calling the U.S., so people come from across Canada.
Ramaglia says he knows plenty of business people who constantly try to shave costs. "We actually go the opposite direction and give back to our employees," he says, "because we know that will go right to sales and better retention. It's what's made us so successful."