Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why General Electric Canada / GE was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- As part of GE Canada's flexible health benefits plan, employees can transfer unused credits to additional salary, savings, or time off -- and also receive a health and wellness spending account of $300 per year
- GE Canada cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and offers a number of additional financial incentives, including signing bonuses for some employees and referral bonuses of over $5,000
- GE Canada committed to employing 20,000 women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics roles by 2020 and obtaining 50/50 representation for all technical entry-level programs as part of its "Balance the Equation" initiative
GE generates power in its products - and its people
A transformation is under way at General Electric, both globally and in Canada, according to Meredith Keenan, Vice President of Human Resources for GE Canada.
"GE has had a very centralized structure, but we're currently going through a transformation to move the centre of gravity to our operating businesses, with a smaller administrative structure," she says. As more decision-making authority is transferred to the front lines, the company's long-time focus on cultivating talent will become even more important.
GE's reputation for providing an environment where people can achieve personal and professional success was one reason Khizer Syed joined the company as a technical intern nine years ago.
"I was attracted to GE because it's known for harnessing and developing talent. When I was at university I also heard how GE gives a priority to innovation, which is important for an engineer," says Syed, who graduated from the University of Guelph in computer engineering and is now Senior Project Manager at GE Healthcare Digital, based at the company's Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, Ont.
"We deal with medical imaging modalities such as X-rays and MRIs," he explains. "I work in software, which allows doctors to interpret and work with the images. It's all about patient care. Some of the top hospitals in the country are our customers."
GE's other key lines of business include aviation engines, power generation and transmission, and renewables in hydro and wind.
Syed's progress at GE reflects the company's emphasis on learning and career growth. After his internship, he worked in marketing, then moved into business development and for the past four years has been in project management.
"The company helped me get my project management certification," he says. "There are many learning opportunities here, including mentorship. I've had some wonderful mentors, senior staff members who voluntarily provide support to younger employees, setting us up for success.
"The culture is very friendly and open. It's a great environment, extremely diverse and collaborative. Some of the things I most enjoy about it are being able to talk with top executives, having access to other businesses within GE, and being part of the various affinity networks within the company."
Syed is a co-chair of the Young Professionals Network, which bridges the gap between its members and senior management, bringing people together for learning, networking and discussing career opportunities. It also works with community-based organizations such as Junior Achievement, which encourages high school students to succeed in a global economy.
Community involvement is a high priority at GE Canada, Keenan notes. "For example, we've been involved with United Way campaigns for a long time. We have a very strong presence, through payroll deductions, fun events at different sites and an annual day of caring, when as many employees as possible volunteer on the same day in June for all kinds of activities."
GE also partners with ACTUA, Canada's largest STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach program, with a focus on young women. Globally, GE is committed to employing 20,000 women in STEM roles by 2020.
GE Canada offers a full range of employee benefits, including a share purchase plan and a flexible health benefits plan, which has an enhanced mental health component.
"About five or six years ago we started a major initiative to address mental health challenges experienced by employees or their families," Keenan says. "We've built a community of mental health champions who can discuss issues with employees and direct them to available resources."
In addition to its collaborative culture, community involvement and focus on learning and career development, Keenan adds, "the work we do here at GE is incredibly interesting. We power the world, we care for people. The opportunities are vast."