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 Absorb Software Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Calgary-based Absorb Software created 20 new full-time positions in the past year, a year-over-year workforce increase of 30%
- Absorb Software also encourages its employees to keep their skills up to date through in-house and online training programs, as well as unlimited tuition subsidies for courses related to their current position
Absorb Software stays tight-knit amid fast growth
Absorb Software, makers of Absorb LMS (Learning Management System), is the kind of place where careers thrive, sometimes in unexpected ways.
The Calgary-based company's current Product Manager started there as a technical writer, while its Vice President of Operations began as a senior programmer. "There are people who join us in one capacity but who are high achievers and have the potential to do something quite different two or three years down the road," says Absorb CEO Mike Owens. "Through mentoring and supporting continued education, we try to help them succeed."
Founded in 2003, Absorb uses its homegrown, software-as-a-service LMS to allow companies to efficiently train their own employees in a variety of learning fields. Currently with about 160 employees, Absorb is on a significant growth curve; the company expects to add up to 300 employees over the next three years. During that same time, it will be opening additional international satellite offices in the United States, China and Australia.
Through all of that growth, the company is determined to stay true to its tight-knit, collaborative workplace culture.
"Our most important operating value is responsibility, both to our clients and each other," says Owens. "That includes being respectful of everyone else and helping each other succeed."
Owens uses what he calls "the coffee pot analogy" as an example.
"If the coffee machine is empty and you make another pot, you are doing a favour for the person who has to grab a cup right before heading into a meeting. Leaving an empty pot is not a good workplace culture practice. Little details like that make it a more enjoyable place to work, by getting rid of the minor frictions and allowing us to solve the big problems together."
Open communication is another key priority. "There's no empire building or standing on titles here," says Owens. "Everyone's opinion is valued and we expect good ideas to come from everywhere, including concerns about how management is performing."
To help foster a team spirit, Absorb sponsors several off-site social networking activities, including an annual lawn bowling event as well as "movie days" two or three times a year. For the latter, a movie theatre is rented out during office hours for employees and their families (the latest Star Wars screening proved to be a big hit).
Laura Sykes is Support Manager for Absorb's client success and client advocate teams. "I like helping people and this position allows me to do that," she says. "It's really fun to meet with clients, hear what they want to achieve and then see it through to completion, ensuring they get value for what they purchase."
She also enjoys the variety of work. "All of our clients use Absorb's services in different ways, so you really have to understand their needs. It means you are constantly facing new challenges. I can honestly say I've never had a boring day here."
In terms of work-life balance, Sykes appreciates that Absorb encourages employees to stick to an 8-4 or 9-5 work schedule.
"While I sometimes choose to stay later than that, I'm never asked to do so," she says. "I know the owners and executive team want employees to have that balance; it aligns with the workplace culture they want to create."
Sykes has also taken to heart Absorb's strong focus on career growth and promoting from within, whenever possible.
"There are so many opportunities here. So if someone comes to me expressing interest in moving into another position or team, I make sure everyone who might be involved in the decision is aware. We then all work together to make it happen."
Both Sykes and Owens agree the best thing about Absorb is the quality of people they get to work with.
"I love the product and I love our clients," says Owens, "but it's the people here who make me smile as I come into work every day."