Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- The company recently created the Griffith Cares committee to spearhead its volunteerism and community involvement initiatives -- and created the Griffith Cares App, allowing employees to conveniently access information regarding upcoming volunteer events and opportunities, and share their experiences via social media
- Griffith Foods invests in the ongoing education of current and future generations, offering academic scholarships for children of employees (up to $3,500 per child per year), as well as tuition subsidies for employees interested in taking courses at outside institutions (to $2,500)
- Griffith Foods recognizes exceptional performance and achievement through individual and peer-nominated awards, such as the Fresh Ideas Awards for employee innovation and suggestions for improvement
Griffith Foods knows the ingredients of employee success
Rajesh Mistry is a busy man. As Supplier Management Coordinator at Griffith Foods Ltd. in Toronto, he deals with the company's 400 suppliers of ingredients and raw materials. "I manage their performance, conduct audits and make sure they meet Griffith's requirements and customer requirements. For supplier-related issues, it all comes down to me."
Griffith Foods is a product development partner specializing in ingredients. "We are a purpose-driven organization. Our purpose is to blend care and creativity to nourish the world," says Joyce Ballou, Senior Director, Human Resources. "We have six key values which are aligned with our purpose and are at the heart of all we do -- act like family; behave like owners; build customer success; deliver results; make the future better; and work together globally."
Griffith hired 60 new employees in the past year, a combination of summer students, co-op students, part-time, contract and full-time employees. The company created eight new positions in Toronto.
Griffith hires for a variety of positions, including in operations, sales and general administration, R&D and quality assurance. "We supplement our full-time staff with temporary-agency staff," says Ballou, "so many of the full-time positions in operations are filled through that channel."
Mistry began working for Griffith as a part-time student on the production side while earning his BSc in biochemistry at the University of Toronto. As a full-time employee for the past 27 years, he has worked in several quality-assurance positions and says it has been an "amazing experience."
Griffith makes e-learning courses available to all employees for internal training. When the company identifies a need for specific training for a particular team, it brings a facilitator in-house. A year ago, for example, it engaged the Canadian Management Centre to facilitate a leadership development program, "Go Beyond -- Creating Extraordinary Leaders," for its supply-chain leadership.
The company also sends staff on external seminars. Mistry found it useful to attend Guelph Food Technology Centre's workshop on supplier management and how to conduct supplier audits. Griffith subsidizes tuition costs up to $2,500 annually for employees pursuing programs at colleges and universities. "Employees might be working toward a degree in areas such as finance or food science, toward an MBA or a supply-chain designation," says Ballou.
Over the past three years, the company has created the Griffith Women Leaders (GWL) program, a series of leadership development sessions aimed at helping women, in particular, develop competencies to gain more senior roles. (Women account for one-quarter of the Griffith workforce and one-half of the managers.) The GWL has partnered with the Women's Foodservice Forum to provide additional training and networking opportunities.
Globally and locally, Griffith is a dedicated supporter of food banks. "Because we are a food company, much of our focus in our community is on food," says Ballou. Working with the Daily Bread and North York Harvest food banks in the GTA, the company has met its goal for the past two years of providing one million meals annually in Canada.
The "Griffith Cares" committee, comprising a dozen employees, was recently created to promote volunteer activities among staff. In the past year, one-third of employees have been involved in at least one community event, and some in multiple events. A volleyball event in which Mistry and 15 other employees recently took part raised over $3,000 for the Hospital for Sick Children.
A Griffith Cares App, similar to a Facebook page, enables employees to post articles and photos documenting their volunteer experiences.
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2018):
- As part of the company's ongoing Sustainable Source Initiative, Griffith Foods has developed partnerships with the Rainforest Alliance, the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops and the Sustainable Spices Initiative -- today, more than 50% of the chilies used by Griffith Foods are sustainably produced and the company aims to source additional spices, herbs and raw materials from sustainable growers in the future
- Griffith Foods has also worked with the Grain Farmers of Ontario Innovation Fund to source flour locally -- flour is a primary raw material used in Griffith products and the company increased its Ontario flour purchases by 50%
- Griffith Foods hosts lunch-and-learns to educate and inspire employees to green-up their lives, including sessions on backyard gardening, a presentation on the challenges and lessons learned from living off-the-grid, and even a chance to win a free car tune-up through a unique "Dirty Sock" contest, with employees installing new white socks over their automobile's exhaust pipe to determine whose car is most in need of a tune-up
Building a sustainable workplace at Griffith Foods
The best part of Vincent Feng's job is seeing sustainability initiatives come to fruition. A graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in business sustainability, he joined Griffith Foods of Toronto last May as Environment, Health and Safety Coordinator.
Feng participates in the company's 13-member sustainability committee, which meets monthly and is drawn from different areas of the organization - Quality, Maintenance, Sanitation and Engineering, among others.
"We discuss our overall policies and procedures that are required to implement our environmental management systems," says Feng. "We also discuss key objectives such as increased energy efficiency and reduced water consumption. We also want to feature more of our great vegetarian food products to our employees to highlight the benefits of less meat consumption."
Globally, Griffith Foods is striving to achieve the international standard ISO 14001, which helps companies manage and improve their environmental, safety, food quality and efficiency practices, says Nadia Edun, Manager, Health, Safety and Security.
"To continue to improve, we wanted to have external eyes on our processes." says Edun. In 2017, Griffith brought in the Pinchin Group, an environmental engineering consultant, to conduct a two-day environmental audit. The audit produced favourable assessments of the company's fire protection systems and the cleanliness of its facilities, both exterior and interior.
"The areas where we wish to improve are our energy efficiency, the metrics that we track, and meeting ISO-related requirements," says Lee Barney, Maintenance and Engineering Manager. Adds Edun: "To make further progress on these sustainability objectives, Griffith plans to form an internal environmental audit team of five to seven employees in the current fiscal year." Feng will be part of the team.
For the past four years, Griffith has upgraded its lighting to energy-efficient LED products. The plant is 85 per cent converted, and Griffith hopes to have the conversion fully completed by Spring 2018. The installation of LED lamps has resulted in a 43 per cent reduction in the lighting's electricity usage.
"We have definitely seen a reduction in our electricity costs over the last few years," says Barney. "And not only through the LED conversion." Two years ago, the Toronto operation installed more efficient boilers, and a new air compressor system (for which Griffith received a $70,000 rebate from Toronto Hydro). The company also replaced seven HVAC units in the past two years, and will replace two more in 2018.
Working closely with U-Pak, a Toronto waste and recycling company, Griffith has achieved zero diversion of its waste to landfill sites in the past five years. Solid waste such as plastic and cardboard is sent for sorting and recycling. Organic waste is sent to a processing facility and turned into animal feed. Any waste that cannot be sorted or redirected is used as a feedstock for energy production.
Every year, the company holds a Sustainability Awareness Week during which all managers and employees sign the Griffith Foods Sustainability Pledge to maintain environmental stewardship of the planet. "Part of our sustainability strategy at Griffith Foods is People, Planet and Performance," says Feng. "My role is raising awareness of the planet dimension for our workers."
Sustainable food sourcing is a Griffith priority. Domestically, the company works closely with the farm sector to reinforce sustainable agriculture practices. Abroad, in countries like India, Griffith works to ensure that the spices it buys are harvested and processed on a sustainable basis.
Griffith encourages its employees to volunteer annually for a community cleanup - one day every summer is devoted to picking up trash from local parks or community centres.
"We understand the environmental impact of our actions and pledge to engage in activities that build a sustainable workplace and community for current and future generations," says Edun.