Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Best Buy Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and BC's Top Employers (2018) :
- In keeping with the evolving nature of work, Best Buy Canada renovated its corporate office to introduce more casual seating and collaborative work spaces -- employees can also take advantage of a variety of onsite amenities, including a cafeteria (with healthy and special diet menus), a quiet room for meditation and religious observance and subsidized access to an onsite fitness facility (open 24/7)
- Best Buy Canada organizes a number of social events throughout the year, including quarterly offsite celebrations, an annual Achievers event in Hawaii to recognize top employees, and an annual day-before Canada Day barbecue lunch, followed by the afternoon off so employees can get an early start to their long weekend
- Best Buy Canada cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan
Watch out for an 'ambush' at Best Buy Canada
Jorge Vasquez goes into work each morning facing the unknown and wondering if he'll be ambushed. And the Senior Analyst, Digital Intelligence for Best Buy Canada loves that.
"What I like the most about my job is I am being challenged with different problems I've never encountered before," says Vasquez. "I very much like the fact that I don't know a lot of the things that I'll encounter tomorrow."
Vasquez works at Best Buy Canada's corporate headquarters in Burnaby, B.C. The workspace reflects the retailing giant's commitment to teamwork and collaboration. After breakfast at the HUB cafeteria with colleagues, Vasquez might have an impromptu meeting on the expanses of couches, consider a problem while working out in the onsite fitness facility or spend a quiet moment in the quiet room for meditation and religious observance.
Or he might get ambushed.
"If you or your team have done a good job on something, you'll be in the cafeteria and all of a sudden there will be 50 or maybe 100 people come up from behind you clapping and chanting and celebrating your success," says Vasquez. "That just speaks to what kind of great employer Best Buy is and it's just one of the ways we recognize people."
Recognition and information-sharing are keys to creating a collegial corporate culture that helps both employees and management work as a team to deliver great consumer experiences, says Angela Scardillo, Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Store Design.
"We succeed together as a team," she says. "Everybody has a role and steps up to their role. Our work is visible and we do it in a way that is very empowering for people."
Best Buy Canada also cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan for all employees and helps them save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan. Other benefits include 15 weeks of maternity leave top-up pay.
But for both Scardillo and Vasquez, one of the biggest bonuses is the free exchange of ideas and "no silos" philosophy embraced by both employees and management. For example, during the quarterly "SPARK" hackathon, employees get to pitch ideas and form teams to solve a problem or start a new initiative. Each team gets 24 hours to work on the solution or new idea, and then present their ideas to a panel of senior leaders.
Scardillo says the challenges range from high-tech scanning solutions to something as low-tech as how to fix squeaky toilet paper dispensers in the washrooms. It shows that no matter what the problem is it can be solved by company-wide collaboration. "Our corporate culture here is about collaboration and innovation. Any idea can come from anywhere," says Scardillo.
"We really are not hierarchical. It's about driving retail forward. We know that in order for us to survive and thrive we need to keep coming up with awesome ideas about retail and how customers want to shop and interact with us."
Perks, benefits, training and the odd ambush are not the only things that keep Vasquez coming into work each morning. For him, it's a chance to make a real difference.
"People come to work here because they want to make an impact in society and they want to work for someone that has the same values, and I think that Best Buy represents that extremely well," he says.
That fits in exactly with Best Buy's vision. "We believe technology can make people's lives better and that everything we do is to really improve someone's life," says Scardillo.
Taking care of customers -- and each other -- at Best Buy Canada
When Ranvir Uppal got hired at Best Buy Canada's corporate headquarters, it wasn't only because he had previous store experience. He was hired, he says, because his ideas and perspective were a cultural fit. From his first day at the major consumer electronics retailer, Uppal felt like part of the family. "Best Buy is all about supporting you and your growth," says Uppal. "Not just day-to-day, but long-term."
Two years later, Uppal, a Retail Capability Specialist, has changed jobs, but the goal is still the same: delivering an amazing customer experience. "Taking care of our customers and taking care of each other as employees has always been at the heart of what we do," explains Chief Human Resources Officer Chris Taylor.
The phrase employees live by is "Be Amazing." That encompasses everything from ambushes -- surprise celebrations of employees who have gone above and beyond -- to changes on the store floors to help employees do what they need to do to best take care of their customers.
There is no shortage of opportunities for advancement or of people who want to help their co-workers along that path. After a year with Best Buy, Uppal indicated his interest in taking on another role. People from different departments took time to talk about what they did and what skills Uppal would need to work towards. "That, to me, was just mind-blowing," he says. "It's about really seeing our people advance and finding the career that works for them. And I got that from management from day one."
Uppal acknowledges that there is much to keep people at Best Buy. The benefits (including the much-loved employee discount) are excellent, and Best Buy provides plenty of opportunities for staff to volunteer for and give to the causes they are most passionate about. The company also matches employee donations to charities of their choice.
But the biggest draw is the people and the culture. "After a while you start to realize that everyone is living the values," says Uppal. Having fun while being the best is one of Best Buy's core values, and that's lived out every day. "We have goals we want to attain and we're helping each other attain those for ourselves, and for the company," he adds. "And we're having a heck of a lot of fun on the way."