Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Cloverdale Paint Inc. was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- Cloverdale Paint helps employees keep their skills sharp through in-house training, formal mentoring and generous tuition subsidies for courses related and indirectly related to their current position (to $2,000 annually)
- Employees at Cloverdale Paint can take advantage of a number of financial benefits including discounted company products, discounts on auto lease rates, profit-sharing, and a defined contribution pension plan
- Cloverdale Paint encourages employees to keep active with onsite yoga classes every Monday and Thursday and employee sports teams
Cloverdale Paint mixes in generous profit-sharing
At age 19, Teresa Unger had a job at a national hardware chain. It wasn't a rewarding experience. "We weren't valued. It was show up, be there, go home," she says. Then she began working for Cloverdale Paint. "It immediately felt different. They provided training that was beneficial both professionally and personally," she says. "I was given the skills to not only do the job, but also move forward."
Unger became a branch manager in 2010, and is celebrating 15 years with the Surrey-based company. It's not an unusual tenure. "At our Christmas party we have people getting 20, 30, even 40 year service awards," she says.
"There's a family feel to our business," says CEO Tim Vogel, whose grandfather co-founded the company in the 1930s, and whose father primed it for hockey-stick growth in the 1970s. "That's unique in our industry now -- all our competitors are huge, global companies."
From humble beginnings in a Cloverdale, B.C. farm shed, today the business manufactures millions of gallons of paint a year and is expanding steadily across the country. It employs everybody from PhD chemists in its labs to customer service representatives in 65 stores that cater mostly to professional painters. And it's not just walls and ceilings: the company has a thriving OEM business and industrial coatings division.
Cloverdale Paint prides itself on formulating products for Canadian conditions, but sees industry-leading service as its competitive advantage. The company puts significant budget into giving staff the skills they need to serve customers -- and even teaches old pros new application tricks as paint formulations change.
Employees have a genuine stake in the business, thanks to a scheme that shares a generous portion of pre-tax annual profit among the staff -- at least half of which must go into a group RRSP. Since 1978, over $50 million in profits has been divided up among the workforce.
In a business known for employee churn, profit sharing is a way for Cloverdale Paint to attract and retain quality staff -- and inspire them to give their best. "If you treat people like owners, they'll act like owners," says Vogel. "They're the reason for our success, they deserve to share in it."
Waste is low and ideas to improve the business constantly percolate up from the branches to head office, where Vogel has an open-door policy. "It's not just the company's profit we're looking after," says Unger. "It's ourselves as well."