Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Abilis Solutions was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Abilis Solutions helps employees save for the longer term with matching RSP contributions and offers generous new employee referral bonuses when they help to successfully recruit a friend, from $300 to $1,000
- Abilis Solutions' employees can balance their work and personal lives through a variety of alternative work options, along with enjoying a unique head office in downtown Montréal that features workstations for telecommuters, regular lunchtime yoga classes (led by an employee) and free baskets of fresh fruit delivered to the office every week
Abilis Solutions encourages teamwork and camaraderie
They have a saying at Montreal-based Abilis Solutions: "We have star teams, not teams of stars." And Costin Ungureanu is proud to be a member of the "star" team responsible for developing the company's state-of-the-art Offender Management Software currently in use or in implementation in prisons and community corrections facilities across the U.S. and Australia.
"I'm the connection between our customers and our development team," says Ungureanu, whose title is Product Owner. "We're constantly improving our software so that it stays aligned with market needs. We promise our customers that we will never be obsolete, and we really mean that."
The product is one reason why Ungureanu likes going to work every day, but the corporate culture at Abilis Solution is another. "We encourage delegation, development, respect, diversity and fun," says President and Chief Operating Officer Alain Elbaz.
Last year, the company set up a committee of employees to define its corporate culture and they came up with four core values: integrity, diversity, teamwork and passion. "The employees felt heard," says Elbaz. "Their voice was important."
The company recruits software developers, database administrators, business analysts and solution architects, as well as people with degrees in engineering and information technology. "Retention is critical for us," says Elbaz. "We need to keep our staff for as long as possible because the ramp-up time on our products is long."
The commitment to the employee begins from day one when Gwennaelle Degrigny, Director of Recruitment and Onboarding, welcomes all new recruits. She briefs them on the history of the company, its vision, its values and its products and services. She also introduces them to everyone and pairs them up with a "buddy" who can support them in a variety of ways, from taking them out for lunch to helping them locate documents on the company network.
"I want new employees to feel comfortable in their new environment and feel like a part of the team right away," says Degrigny. "I meet with them often during their first three months to make sure everything is fine."
The company maintains core hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when everyone is expected to be at their desk, but employees choose when they start and complete their work day. Elbaz adds that team members can also work from home when necessary since everyone can access the company's network remotely.
"I have a four-month old baby at home so I need the flexibility," says Ungureanu. "What I really like is that management is aware that people have families. It's a great balance between personal life and professional life."
Abilis goes to great lengths to promote camaraderie among colleagues by organizing regular social events throughout the year, such as a maple syrup event in the spring and a staff Christmas party. Others are held late on Thursday afternoon and include summer barbecues and a wine-tasting in the fall.
The company has a multicultural workforce that includes people from all parts of the world and it holds events to reflect that diversity, including Lunar New Year and a Brazilian social complete with Brazilian music, food and punch.
"This isn't just a place to work," says Elbaz. "It's also a place with freedom to learn and grow".
But apart from all that, the work itself is exciting, says Ungureanu. "The domain we're active in -- correctional services -- is amazing," he says. "We're making an impact on the security of communities, the staff working in prisons and the offenders. It's a big responsibility, but it's very interesting work."