Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Export Development Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018):
- EDC's 18-storey head office was constructed to meet LEED Gold standards and designed with employee feedback in mind -- the building features cafés and lounge areas on every floor, telepresence rooms, a fully-equipped fitness centre (with free membership and instructor-led classes) and a spectacular rooftop terrace and garden
- Along with a number of initiatives to keep employees informed, EDC hosts an annual employee conference with a keynote speaker and TED-style 15-minute presentations by employees
- EDC supports new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for 24 weeks) and provides parental leave top-up to new dads and adoptive parents (to 95% of salary for 18 weeks) -- additionally, EDC introduced the "FamilyMatters@EDC" initiative to offer workshops and speaker series on topics related to raising families
Helping communities at Export Development Canada
A great deal has changed at Export Development Canada since Stephanie Butt Thibodeau started working there 23 years ago. At that time, the Ottawa-based Crown corporation was more of a conservative financial institution with a traditional hierarchy of management. In the years since, however, EDC has invested significantly in management systems to ensure employees are able to problem-solve and are empowered to make decisions and drive their own work.
Now, says Butt Thibodeau, Senior Vice-President of Human Resources at the export credit agency, "leaders are there to remove roadblocks, to remove barriers and help support their team in achieving their results." Employees are encouraged to share their perspectives, challenge the status quo, and bring their ideas to improve their work.
And that's part of what has kept her at EDC much longer than the two or three years she expected to be there. "Our employees come to EDC because they want to make a difference for Canada, so the energy, the engagement, the passion, the commitment is there every day," she adds. "The opportunity to work with great people and to keep learning and growing and developing - I feel like I'm actually making a difference and I find that pretty inspiring."
That commitment and engagement translates into a positive work environment, as Matthew Robinson soon discovered when he joined EDC in 2016. Starting in a student role, Robinson says his supervisor was open about giving him opportunities in other areas of the organization, ones that aligned more closely with his interests.
"As a student I didn't feel isolated; I felt like a full employee and I could take advantage of the Lunch and Learns and the networking - the full package," says Robinson. "I could jump right into the community, whether it was through volunteering or taking advantage of opportunities."
When he moved into his new position as an Associate with Environmental and Social Risk Management, Robinson says he was well-prepared thanks to the training he'd received in problem-solving, mindsets and behaviours, and lean management. "It enables you to join a new team and hit the ground running, even though you might not have all of the background content or the detail," he adds. "I was able to jump in right away."
At the same time, Robinson never felt that he, at 23, was expected to be an instant expert. But, he adds, "even though I'm a young person, I'm bringing experience from other departments in the organization, sharing that knowledge with my new team and broadening their own networks, so that's been a really cool experience."
One of Robinson's favourite times of the year is Community Investment Day, during which EDC employees are connected with charities in their local communities. To him, it means "getting everyone out to pause and reflect and take a moment to say, the work we do is really important but so is taking the time to forge better connections with the community."
All employees are encouraged to participate in charitable work in their communities. Not only does EDC provide everyone with two days each year to volunteer but the corporation will also donate to an employee's charity once they've volunteered a certain number of hours. EDC is also partners with the United Way campaign and raised $197,437 last year - a generous employer when it comes to giving back to the community.
"The work we do is important," says Robinson, "but so is this in terms of finding that balance and that sense of fulfillment - and being the best employee you can be is all about that."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Export Development Canada was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- EDC maintains a number of employee resource groups to support its diverse workforce including Women@EDC, Latinos Y Amigos, and LGBT+, which recently advocated for the inclusion of a LGBT+ self-identification question in the organization's employee engagement survey
- EDC created an Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award to recognize employees who actively promote diversity and champion an inclusive work environment in their everyday work life
- In partnership with Deloitte and the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management, EDC sponsored the second annual Diversity and Inclusion MBA Case Competition, which provides future leaders with a better understanding of diversity and inclusion and opportunities for businesses to grow due to the diverse nature of the country's workforce
Diversity is a core value at Export Development Canada
As the world becomes increasingly connected, a diverse workforce is an asset. For the employees at Export Development Canada, diversity and inclusion are essential components of
their collective strength and competi-tiveness.
"For us, diversity includes how we think as well," says Jeremy Melhuish, Director, Strategy and Transformation. "We want different views, different perspectives, different experiences, and we see all of those elements as contributing to a really strong workforce. For us, it's critical to being a successful global organization."
In fact, the Ottawa-based Crown corporation has a number of activities and policies in place to deliver on this particular core value. A diversity and inclusion committee, for example, ensures that the organization maintains a diverse, inclusive workforce. In addition, all HR policies have been changed to reflect gender neutrality; specialized training helps EDC's leaders understand how unconscious bias might influence their thinking; and mental health training is given to leaders as well.
"We are working to ensure that our management systems are aligned with how we want to reflect diversity and inclusion," Melhuish adds.
The organization holds different events throughout the year that bring greater recognition to the value of diversity. For Pride Week, for example, a Pride flag is raised at the national office. On Canadian multiculturalism day, the focus is on life in different countries, and at an annual internal trade show, people can learn about diversity and inclusion.
On a company-wide diversity blog, different employees write about their experiences and share insights into their own situations. And in Humans of EDC, employees are profiled and tell their life stories; the profiles are played on the company's in-house network. "It's an investment that people appreciate and notice," says Melhuish. "And it's really part of the fabric of the organization that we embrace diversity and inclusion as a way to really create value for Canada and better serve our customers."
That embracing of diversity is something that Sarah Eltawansy could see and feel the moment she interviewed at EDC four years ago. "It's not easy to find a job as Muslim wearing a hijab," says Eltawansy, Senior Advisor, Operational Excellence. "When I was interviewed at EDC, people were friendly, very respectful. It was a great experience."
During an onboarding week for new hires, Eltawansy came to understand the company's different business lines and what its values were, which, she says, gave her a good idea of what the work environment would be like. "And it was something that I didn't find in any other organization," she adds. "Here, there is respect for each and every individual, which makes us stronger and the culture healthier."
Melhuish agrees that a diverse and inclusive culture can help EDC retain the best and the brightest as well as attract new talent. "At the end of the day, we as a global business want to demonstrate that our success comes from having a workforce that does have different perspectives and experiences and is reflective of the cultures and countries in Canada and around the world," he says. "It's neat to see. It's making us a much better organization."
Because it is has a diverse workforce, EDC also provides employees with flexibility to take off time for holidays they celebrate. "It's like a mini-Canada here," says Eltawansy. "I think having a culture like EDC's affects my productivity in a positive way. I really don't like to be away from work. I love being around the people I work with here."