Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Charles River Laboratories was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
- Charles River Laboratories maintains a dedicated Innovation Fund to promote entrepreneurial spirit within the company by providing resources, funding, mentorship, and time to explore and develop internally-generated ideas
- Along with helping employees save for the future, Charles River Laboratories offers a number of financial benefits including a share purchase plan (available to all employees), year-end bonuses, signing bonuses for some, and referral bonuses of up to $900 per successful hire
- Charles River Laboratories supports charitable initiatives that align with its corporate social responsibility pillars: humanitarian efforts, health and wellness, environmental sustainability and STEM education -- and encourages employees to give back to the community through a matching gifts program (to $500 per year)
Clearing paths for personal growth at Charles River
Working at Charles River Laboratories has been a "life-changing" experience for Michel Provence, corporate vice-president, safety assessment, at the international drug research and testing company's Montreal-area Canadian head office.
Provence joined Charles River in his native France 14 years ago in the marketing department. A series of promotions, career switches and transfers took him first to corporate headquarters near Boston before moving to Quebec six years ago. "Thanks to Charles River, I've had the opportunity to experience life in different cultures, as well as to grow personally and professionally," he says.
Indeed, a Charles River hallmark is helping employees develop to their fullest potential. Career goals are discussed individually at least once a year. "A key management job is to clear the path so people who so desire can take on more responsibility," Provence says. "We want our employees to be happy, engaged and satisfied. That's obviously good for them, and it ensures they deliver their best for our clients."
As a result, Charles River has a remarkable 94 per cent retention rate and fills some two-thirds of all vacancies internally. "The company really invests in its people," says Provence.
One example is Stephanie Kwok, a study director who started with Charles River as a technician in 2005 after graduating from McGill University. "Here, you get all the support you need to grow into a new position," Kwok says. In her case, the company felt she was almost ready to assume her current position, but wanted to ensure that her promotion would be successful. So it designed an 18-month transition in which she shadowed another study director and received onsite management training. "I knew I needed to learn more, and because Charles River believed in me, I had that chance," she says.
The support has paid off. Earlier this year, Kwok received the company's coveted OWN award for being "continuously recognized with praise by many of our sponsors." During a visit, the company's global president and chief executive officer, James C. Foster, presented Kwok with the honour. "I really felt appreciated," Kwok says. "Charles River knows that it's important to recognize a job well done, even if it's only a pat on the back. It makes one motivated to work even harder."
There's no question that Charles River rewards hard work and believes in a diverse workforce. For example, nearly 60 per cent of its Canadian executives are female. Says Kwok: "It shows there's no gender discrimination. If you do the job, you'll get the opportunity."