Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Labatt Breweries head office employees work in the renovated historic Terminal Building in the centre of Queen's Quay on Toronto's waterfront -- designed by renowned architect Eberhand Zeidler, the office features hotel spaces for visiting employees, a beer training facility and a 20,000 square foot John Labatt Hall, with table hockey, dart boards, multiple big screen televisions, various board games and gaming consoles and Muskoka chairs overlooking Lake Ontario
- Labatt Breweries supports employees who are new mothers with maternity top-up payments (to 75% of salary for up to 17 weeks) and the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- the company also offers a subsidy for IVF of up to $15,000 for employees who want to start a family
- Along with a number of responsible drinking awareness initiatives, Labatt Breweries recently launched a new Better Together initiative to provide generous grants for individuals and families across Canada -- grants range from $200 to $4,000 and help provide essentials for those living in need, from food and clothing to access to paramedical services
Labatt brews a culture of innovation for its people
Jessica Sinclair has been with Labatt Breweries of Canada since 2015 and feels she has already made a difference. Very soon after joining the company, she played a key role in developing a new product that's now being sold in western Canada.
Sinclair, currently a Territory Manager in Toronto, attributes her early success to the company's culture of innovation.
"It's at the heart of everything we do at Labatt," she says. "Innovation is encouraged -- for all employees, no matter where in the company we work. We're given resources and support to come up with new, better ways of doing things.
"My personal experience is rooted in product. Early on I was part of a team of eight people, all right out of school, who were presented with a problem," says Sinclair, who was involved in a management trainee program at the time, working on a project to build a new brand. "Labatt is always looking to reach new consumers and new occasions, and we didn't have a product to meet the needs of a certain group of customers.
"After a lot of work and late nights we came up with a solution. Our idea was so strong it was put on the market. We worked with a brewing team to come up with the right product and a marketing team on packaging and promotion, and also with finance and logistics on how to offer it to consumers.
"The product is called Vescent. It's refreshing and health-conscious, with a light lemon cucumber flavour and low alcohol and calorie content. It was launched recently in B.C. and Alberta as a pilot project and it's doing well.
"This was an exciting lesson for me in how Labatt values innovation and encourages its people," says Sinclair. "Every day, every challenge we're given is a real-market problem."
Labatt, based in London, Ont., where it was founded 170 years ago, is now part of the Anheuser-Busch InBev brewing and beverage company with global headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. The drive for innovation is ingrained in the corporate culture and comes from the very top, says Agostino De Gasperis, Labatt's Vice President, People.
He refers to the company's Ten Principles, which are found on the company's website and shared with other Anheuser-Busch InBev operations. One of the principles states: "We must select people who, with the right development, challenges and encouragement, can be better than ourselves. We will be judged by the quality of our teams."
"At Labatt we try to foster an environment where people can contribute to something important," De Gasperis says. "At the core we all want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. Innovation fits into all of this -- we need to find innovative ways to give our people the opportunity to succeed, whether they're new recruits or people who have been here for a while.
"We want to give them a feeling of belonging, a sense of ownership. We look for people who are very bright and motivated but also want to be part of something. We say to them, 'What if you owned your own business? How would you act? We want you to feel the company is yours.'"
Sinclair enjoys the informality of the office where she works in downtown Toronto. "The managers sit with everyone else," she says. "There are no walls. I can walk up to anyone, a vice president or whoever, to discuss ideas."
That's all part of the innovation process, says De Gasperis. "Our managers want our people to feel comfortable coming up with ideas and taking risks."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- Labatt Breweries manages a comprehensive 16-week internship for university students which includes participation in "beer school", to learn how the company's products are made, day-to-day tasks of each department, access to a dedicated intern speaker series and an end-of-term project presentation to senior managers
- Interns at Labatt Breweries are also assigned a mentor who is responsible for providing professional guidance, performance appraisals and support as they prepare for their final project presentation
- Labatt Breweries created an expansive 10-month Global Management Trainee Program for undergraduate students -- the program includes rotations through various business segments and access to senior leaders, such as company zone presidents, vice presidents and other senior-level employees
- Labatt Breweries maintains an active on-campus presence year-round through "Campus Champs" who facilitate participation and presence in hackathons, leadership panels, conferences, case competition sponsorships and career fair attendance
From beer school to mentors, Labatt is big on students
Hannah Simpson's journey from the classroom to the corporate world began when she spotted a posting for a job at Labatt Breweries of Canada while studying business at Western University in London, Ont. "I attended an information session on campus and they brought in senior leaders to talk to us," recalls Simpson, now a Specialty Portfolio Manager. "We got to hear about their experiences, which was really great."
Since then, she's found plenty more that she likes about the company. The interview process was an "interactive, unique experience" and not just sitting opposite a recruiter answering questions. There's the culture, which she describes as "fast-paced, strategic and informal."
Then there's the 10-month Global Management Training (GMT) Program in which a select group of new hires get to rotate through a number of different areas, including sales, marketing, operations, logistics and finance, before deciding which best fits their talents and aspirations.
That was an eye-opening experience for Simpson, who was part of the GMT class of 2015. "There's so much opportunity to work in different parts of the business as well as regions of the country, but sales and marketing were the areas I was interested in," says Simpson. She now sells Labatt products to high-end restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
Labatt is a leader and an innovator when to comes to recruiting young people just emerging from universities and colleges. "We believe it's really important to be on campuses and to put our name out there to make sure students know our employer brand," says Amanda Rohaly, Manager, People Continuity.
The company creates close ties with career counsellors at leading universities and hires on-campus student ambassadors to build connections with the next generation of graduates.
"Our campus ambassadors have the opportunity to learn about the company and to speak to fellow students about our culture," says Rohaly. "When students hear about Labatt from their peers, it speaks volumes. These ambassadors serve as a pipeline to our other programs."
Labatt also operates a comprehensive 16-week internship program for university students and last year hired 60 interns. Among other things, they participate in a "beer school" to see how the brewing process works and they are introduced to day-to-day tasks in various departments.
The company runs a speaker's series for interns, in which senior leaders share their experiences and stories from their careers, and each intern is assigned an end-of-term project which concludes a presentation to senior managers.
And they receive lots of help along the way. The company provides mentors who are responsible for offering guidance, performance appraisals and support as they prepare for their presentation.
"We want to find students early and work with them throughout their education," says Rohaly. "We do interviews during each internship to find candidates who can be converted to full-time hires or can enter our talent program."
Senior leaders routinely make themselves available to new recruits and that is a key component of the corporate culture at Labatt Breweries. "The culture here is very open door," says Simpson. "A lot of people in senior positions have been happy to speak to me about their careers. We have a very welcoming and personable group of leaders."
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 Labatt Brewing Company Limited was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2017):
- Labatt Breweries' environmental program focuses on two key components, measurement and employee engagement -- the company measures water, heat, electricity and CO2 output at each brewery, and as a result, continually achieves significant reductions in water consumption, electricity use and total operating waste over the past decade
- As a major brewer and part-owner of the The Beer Store and Brewers Distributors Limited, Labatt Breweries helped develop one of the earliest and most successful recycling and reuse programs in Canada, with models replicated by both public and private sector entities -- The Beer Store is also one of the very few retail chains to take back all the packaging it sells, 100 percent, including bottles, cans, cardboard, bottle caps, plastic rings and bags
- At brewery locations across Canada, Labatt Breweries' employees volunteer with a number of public land clean-up initiatives, from Montréal employees helping clean-up Parc des Rapides to Edmonton employees helping to beautify parks along the North Saskatchewan River