Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Export Development Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and National Capital Region's Top Employers (2018) :
- EDC's 18-storey head office was constructed to meet LEED Gold standard and designed with employee feedback in mind -- the head office features cafés and lounge areas on every floor, telepresence rooms, a fully-equipped onsite fitness centre (with free membership and instructor-led classes), and a spectacular rooftop terrace and garden
- EDC offers academic scholarships for children of employees pursuing post-secondary education (up to $2,700 per child) as well as a dedicated scholarship program for undergraduate studies in international business (up to $4,000)
- EDC supports its new moms with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for 24 weeks) as well as extending parental leave top-ups to new dads and adoptive parents (to 95% of salary for 18 weeks)
EDC helps its clients and employees grow
When Stephanie Butt Thibodeau took a job at Export Development Canada, she figured she'd stay for two or three years and then move on. That was 20 years ago. Like so many other employees at EDC, an Ottawa-based Crown corporation, Butt Thibodeau has had many careers without ever leaving the building.
Starting in an insurance-related position, she moved to Business Development, on to Financing and then to Human Resources, where she is currently Senior Vice-President. "I have had the opportunity to have multiple careers in one place," she says, "and to work with some fantastic people who really want to make a difference for Canada."
Export Development Canada is a national export credit agency that provides financial and commercial services to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. "Our mandate is to help Canadian companies go, grow and succeed internationally," she explains. "We attract really, really strong talent who could work anywhere in the world but choose to work here because they want to make a difference."
Butt Thibodeau's career trajectory is common at EDC. One of the many draws of the company is that employees are offered various opportunities to learn and grow and try new things. An emerging leaders program helps EDC employees who have been identified as having leadership potential get on track for greater responsibilities. "It's a very positive work climate," says Butt Thibodeau.
Indeed, a January survey confirmed an 86 per cent engagement score among the staff. "People typically come and they stay," she adds. "We will see movement within the organization but our external turnover is very low."
Ross Dilks started in a student position at EDC almost two years ago. "In university we were told that as millennials, we are expected to change careers as many as 10 to 15 times," says Dilks, who is an Underwriter. "I've spoken to so many senior employees here at EDC who have found fulfilling careers with a variety of work opportunities within the same organization."
Other benefits include free round-the-clock access to a fully equipped gym and exercise classes ranging from boxing and spin to outdoor running. And there is generous time off; despite the fact that Dilks is a contract employee, he still gets three weeks paid vacation plus two floater days and time between Christmas and the new year.
"It keeps your head in the right place," he says, "and when you go back to work you're ready." In addition, EDC provides post-secondary academic scholarships for employees' children as well as a scholarship program for undergraduate studies in international business.
EDCers meet one-on-one with managers regularly and can discuss career development and ongoing issues. Management has also refreshed their Career Framework, which provides greater clarity and information on roles and disciplines across the organization and what skills and competencies are needed to move up or sideways. And EDC boasts an "amazing" student program, Dilks says, hiring approximately 60 students for the summer. "It means they are investing in the next generation. In order to compete and stay relevant, EDC recognizes the importance of hiring recent grads."
Staff learn to approach everything with four mindsets: that of a player, of an activist, of an entrepreneur and of one who is engaged. "When you think of a large organization, you would think it would be hard to make changes," Dilks says. "But at EDC, they encourage change and encourage continuous improvement. No matter how big or small the issue, I am enabled to create a problem statement and identify potential solutions and implementation strategies to improve the way we work. It's empowering."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers
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."