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 BIMM was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Located in the city's unique Distillery District, BIMM employees enjoy working in a beautifully renovated historic building that features a comfortable employee lounge as well as an outdoor deck overlooking the city and its surroundings
- BIMM encourages employees to become recruiters for the firm with generous new employee referral bonuses (to $500) when they successfully recruit a friend
At BIMM, careers thrive on creativity and flexibility
The first time Meaghan Vigar worked for BIMM, friends employed elsewhere in the Toronto advertising industry told her that she didn't appreciate how lucky she was. After interning there, Vigar started full-time at BIMM immediately upon completing the Advertising Copywriting graduate certificate program at Humber College.
It was her first job, she says, so she had no idea about working conditions elsewhere. Then Vigar left BIMM to join a large ad agency -- and soon realized how right her friends had been. Long hours, a relentless pace and the tedium of working on just one account all took a toll, Vigar recalls.
Fortunately, BIMM welcomed her back. That was six years ago and Vigar has flourished. As Associate Creative Director she works with others at the data-driven creative agency to develop award-winning campaigns for a variety of high-profile national and international clients.
"You don't stagnate when you can work on more than one account at a time," says Vigar. "The work feels new all the time."
Interesting and stimulating work is clearly a BIMM strong suit. So too is its workplace environment. BIMM goes out of its way to foster a culture that is as supportive as it is entrepreneurial, while ensuring everyone on board can enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
The numbers tell the story. According to President & CEO Mike Da Ponte, the turnover rate at BIMM is just 18 per cent, compared with 30 per cent for Toronto ad agencies overall. Not only that, Da Ponte says about 25 per cent of resumes come from former employees and their friends.
As BIMM competes with global ad agencies to serve clients in Canada, it makes the most of being independent and nimble. "We don't have to march to the drum beat of a New York City head office," Da Ponte explains. "Our first priority is to make the client shine and we're free to do whatever it takes to make that happen. This means employees with an entrepreneurial bent can be really creative and thrive here."
In 2008, Da Ponte and co-owner Roehl Sanchez decided to move the agency more fully into the digital realm. Today, an innovative approach to creativity through technology and data analytics takes the guesswork out of marketing and advertising, says Da Ponte. (Brian Bimm, who founded the agency in 1980, is retired but continues to consult with the pair.)
In 2012, BIMM signaled its transformation by moving from a stale mid-town high-rise into a beautifully renovated historic building in Toronto's unique Distillery District. The space includes a comfortable lounge and an outdoor deck where employees can enjoy free healthy snacks. The agency also provides on-site massages and yoga classes.
BIMM further demonstrates its commitment to employee well-being with initiatives that contribute to work-life balance. Staff, for example, can work from home one day a week as appropriate. The measure started as a pilot project, but proved so popular it became an on-going program.
"This is a life changer," says Vigar who, as both the mother of a four-year-old and a commuter with a 150-km round-trip daily trek from Bowmanville, Ont., appreciates the flexibility. "Everyone here is so supportive and encouraging. They really do care about how you're doing and they want you to be happy."
Employee development is also a priority at BIMM. While some courses cover job-specific material, Da Ponte asserts that everyone has access to training and education. This can range from in-house sessions on financial literacy to intensive three-day seminars at Western University's Ivey Business School.
Some of the lessons can serve the trainees throughout their lives, says Da Ponte. He adds: "We want people to know BIMM isn't just a good place to earn a paycheque, it's a first-rate place to have a career."