Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 28, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why XE.com Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- XE.com Inc. an enlightened smaller employer that provides exceptional maternity and parental top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 95% of salary for 52 weeks) as well as parental leave top-up for new fathers or adoptive parents (to 95% of salary for 37 weeks)
- Employees at XE.com Inc. can take advantage of a variety of onsite amenities including a free fitness facility as well as an employee lounge outfitted with television, video games, foosball, table hockey and table tennis
- XE.com Inc. helps employees save for the future with contributions to a matching RSP plan (up to 7.5% of salary) and offers year-end bonuses for all employees
Respect is the currency of choice for XE.com
XE.com CEO Steven Dengler and President Beric Farmer took a simple approach when they started the online foreign exchange services company in 1993: create the kind of company they would like to work for.
In the ensuing years, the Newmarket, Ont.-based Internet pioneer - known globally for its popular web-based and mobile currency converters - has grown to 42 full-time employees. But Dengler says the company still sums up its overriding philosophy with the initials R.S.S. - respect (for colleagues and customers), solve (customer and business problems), and simplify (the user experience).
"There's no physical benefit you can give that's as important as the respect of your co-workers and feeling like you're doing a meaningful job," says Dengler. "We don't expect you to give your soul to the company. If a company relies on employees to give unreasonable amounts of their time, then it's doing something wrong."
XE.com's respect for employees is reflected in many ways. In a rare perk for a smaller employer, it provides exceptional top-up payments to staff members who are new parents, bringing income for new moms to 95 per cent of salary for 52 weeks. New dads or adoptive parents receive 95 per cent of salary for 37 weeks.
The company helps employees save for the future with year-end bonuses and matching retirement savings plan contributions of up to 7.5 per cent of salary.
It also provides a variety of complimentary onsite amenities, including a fitness facility and the services of a personal trainer. A nicely appointed staff lounge offers a television, video games, foosball, table hockey, and table tennis. The company also provides lunch every Friday. "That's a great time for people to gather around and connect with each other," says User Experience Designer Solomon Hsu, a graduate of Seneca College's Creative Advertising program who was hired in November 2015.
Hsu says friends who returned to his native Taiwan to pursue careers complain about competitive work environments rife with office politics. By contrast, he says, he's impressed with the collegial atmosphere at XE.com and the sense of teamwork. "The culture is great," says Hsu, 26. "There's a feeling that we're working together to create a great product for the end user. And the company values employees' personal lives, too."
Software Developer Nirujan Suresh liked it so much he returned to XE.com to do a second co-op placement when he was a student in the Software Engineering program at the University of Waterloo. Hired full-time in July 2015, he says the open, friendly environment actually makes him more productive because no one hesitates to help when he's working on a big project and managers are easy to approach.
"I find the number of employees is perfect," says Suresh, 23. "I know everyone on a personal level - not only as fellow employees, but as friends."
At one time, the company's smaller size made it more difficult to attract and retain talented candidates because they were worried about limited opportunities for advancement, says Dengler. That changed last July, when XE.com was acquired by Euronet Worldwide, a U.S.-based provider of electronic payment services with 5,600 employees in 55 countries.
"Now you kind of get the best of both worlds," he says. "You're working for a small company and know the people you work with, but you're part of a larger company and you have opportunities all around the world."