Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why CAA Club Group was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- CAA Club Group encourages employees to prepare for the future with retirement planning assistance, a defined contribution pension plan, and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit)
- CAA Club Group helps employees maintain their physical and mental well-being with weekly onsite visits from external fitness consultants who conduct stretch breaks and lead exercise and meditation classes -- additionally, the organization offers a fitness club subsidy of up to $400 per year
- CAA Club Group invests in the education of current and future generations, providing academic scholarships for children of employees (up to $1,500 per child), as well as tuition subsidies for employees interested in taking courses at outside institutions (to $2,500 per year)
CAA drives employee education and wellness
Joe MacLellan joined CAA Club Group four years ago and he has found lots to like about the organization. There's the friendly atmosphere around the office, the accessible managers, the focus on learning and the programs to promote health and wellness.
The organization retains the services of outside yoga and meditation instructors who lead weekly lunch-hour sessions for employees. CAA sets aside relaxation rooms in some of its buildings where employees can go to meditate or practice yoga on their own. Associates can also take advantage of regular, 15-minute massages provided by registered massage therapists.
"You sign up for your slot, you get your massage and you feel better for the rest of the day," says MacLellan, an IT Security Administrator. "We're also encouraged to take stretch breaks as often as possible, which is really important in a job like mine. I sit multiple hours a day between working and commuting and the lower back gets sore."
Along with health and wellness, CAA encourages employee learning and development and it begins with a new-hire orientation course called Foundations. It provides associates with an overview of the membership-based organization and its five lines of business. Motorists who purchase memberships are entitled to roadside emergency assistance. They can also purchase CAA travel packages, retail products, travel and medical insurance, and insurance for home and auto.
"Typically, if you go into the IT department in a company, you don't know what the business does," says Apra Sekhon, CAA Club Group's Assistant Vice-President IT. "Foundations tells you everything you need to know about the business. One of the very first things new employees do is take the course."
New hires also benefit from the organization's buddy program. They are assigned an employee, typically a high performer in the department in which they will be working, who introduces them to the job and the duties that come with it.
"It really reduces the learning curve," Sekhon says. "If they just give you a bunch of books or materials to read, you tend to get lost."
MacLellan says he has personally benefitted from CAA's approach to employee education. He has taken courses offered in-house as well as others offered by outside organizations. "One of the things I really love about CAA is how much focus they put on learning and developing your career, whether it's self-taught or through really good courses," he says.
CAA Club Group has an open and collaborative culture and it is an organization with a flat hierarchy, says Chief Information Officer Kin Lee-Yow. "It's one of the things that makes it really nice to work here," he adds. "Our department is very closely embedded with the business units. We are at the table whenever any decision is to be made. We are strategic partners."
The organization also has a sophisticated rewards and recognition program to celebrate employee accomplishments. It's called Applause. Employees nominate each other and junior-level employees can nominate those above them or vice-versa. There are six levels of accomplishment -- Applause, Kudos, Encore, Standing Ovation, Bravo and Bravissimo. Employees collect points, which they can later redeem for merchandise from retail partners.
"It's a phenomenal program," says Sekhon. "It's based on how significant the accomplishment is and how it aligns with CAA's corporate pillars -- innovative, care-driven, collaborative and leading by example."