Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
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 (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 20, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Griffith Foods Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2017):
- Working with waste disposal company U-Pak Disposals Limited, Griffith Foods' aggressive waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs achieved a 100 percent waste diversion from landfill rate in 2014 -- the successful program is an ongoing initiative that includes banning the use of disposable water bottles onsite (saving approximately 7,000 bottles annually)
- Griffith Foods published its first "Sustainability - Our Journey" report in 2015, outlining the company's ongoing commitments and achievements for all employees to see
- Griffith Foods sources raw materials and food ingredients from around the world and has made sustainable sourcing a priority -- the company only uses sustainably sourced palm oil and works 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 percent
Griffith Foods doubles down on sustainability
As a 15-year veteran with Griffith Foods' Toronto-based Canadian operations, Bogdan Tonea has seen a steady increase in awareness about the importance of operating sustainably - both within the company and the larger world.
"Everyone is looking for greener solutions," says Tonea, a supply chain coordinator. "It's not just us, but our customers and suppliers as well. We are all sharing tips about how to do things better. For example, if a product is being shipped to us in a hard plastic container, the first question that gets asked is: can this be done using a more sustainable and fully biodegradable container?"
Griffith Foods is a family-owned, Illinois-based product development partner that provides food ingredient solution to customers in some 30 countries. It is also a company that has long supported the principle of sustainable development and recently adopted the following purpose statement: "We blend care and creativity to nourish the world."
There is a renewed focus on putting that purpose into action, says Jim Thorne, Griffith's Toronto-based General Manager.
"We are doubling down on building this company for long-term success," he explains. "It's about realigning our strategies to support our core purpose. It's also about looking for opportunities to create shared value in the marketplace on issues like reducing food waste, improving health and nutrition, and raising living standards in many of the countries where we operate."
Griffith's sustainability strategy rests on three key pillars - people, planet and performance.
When it comes to people, Griffith takes pride in being a caring company, both in the way it treats its employees as valued family members and the way its employees give back to the community.
In 2016, Griffith's Canadian head office met the ambitious goal of working with local food banks to provide one million meals to individuals and families in need. The same goal has been set for 2017, while the company continues to ramp up the level of employee engagement and expand the reach of its food bank effort outside the Toronto area.
Griffith also strives to be a good steward of the planet by, among other things, continually improving the energy efficiency of its operations and finding new ways to source food ingredients and products in the most sustainable manner possible.
The company has converted most of its operations to energy-efficient LED lighting. It has also reduced water consumption and achieved the goal of sending zero waste to landfill sites. Further reducing the company's hydro requirements is a key priority.
"All of these areas represent a 'win-win' situation," says Thorne. "We have the potential to reduce our environmental impact as well our operating costs."
Sustainable food sourcing is being pursued on several fronts. In Canada, where sustainable farming practices are already at a high level, Griffith works closely with the agricultural sector to make further improvements. In countries like India, the company is working to ensure the spices it purchases are harvested and processed in a sustainable way and that local farmers earn liveable wages.
Going forward, Griffith is working towards ISO14001 certification, an international standard that helps companies manage and improve their environmental, safety, food quality and efficiency practices.
"It's about going from one level of practice to the next," says Thorne. "It says a lot to the marketplace about your level of professionalism and the rigor and discipline within your operations."
Griffith's commitment to sustainability is popular among employees, something borne out in the company's most recent employee engagement survey - and by Bogdan Tonea, who has seen a positive evolution on this front.
"There's been a lot of change over the years, and I know this emphasis on sustainability is here to stay," says Tonea. "People realize this is the right thing to do."