Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why /N SPRO Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- /N SPRO offers share purchase and profit-sharing plans that are available to all employees and rewards employees for their ideas and great performance through on-the-spot awards, from $500 to $2,500
- Located in the historic district of old Montréal, /N SPRO's head office is only a short walk from a variety of cafes and restaurants -- inside, the office features an employee lounge, telecommuter workstations and rotating original artwork from local artists
- Each year, /N SPRO employees enjoy a corporate retreat to a sunny destination, such as Cancun, Mexico
Even as it grows, /N SPRO maintains a small-business feel
When she first joined Montreal-based /N SPRO Inc. seven years ago, Elisa Piserchia was employee number 38.
Initially hired as a consultant for the professional services company for the IT industry, Piserchia was able to work from her Toronto home while also travelling across the country to work on projects and meet customers. A few years later, she moved into management, right before the company experienced real growth. But even though the numbers have changed -- /N SPRO has just over 90 employees in Canada and the U.S. but is now part of a much larger company -- the small-business culture remains.
In those earlier days, she really grew to understand the culture. "When you're small, there aren't as many red-tape corporate policies, so it was really more of a family culture and everyone helped everyone -- it was considered that we are one team and we will do whatever it takes together to achieve our goal," says Piserchia, Vice-President of Operations for Canada. "And it's really that mentality and that drive and that DNA that we carried forward, even in our growth."
Having a good fit with that mentality is something /N SPRO ("en-spro", named for an SAP software command) looks for in all employees. They want people who take the initiative, who can work on their own as well as within a team and, Piserchia adds, they want people who care. "It's not just a job, it's like a family. You're becoming a part of something bigger than yourself."
And keeping the family together is a priority at /N SPRO. Employees are encouraged to work hard and follow their interests, and there is no shortage of opportunities to move around the company, as Piserchia knows from her own experience. "It's not just about us giving them opportunities, it's about them taking them as well," she says. "We don't want people to stay in their boxes."
Eliot Boucher-Rioux graduated from university three years ago and started as a consultant at /N SPRO. "Right off the bat they provided me with a lot of training and many great mentors," says Boucher-Rioux, now a Service Delivery Manager. "I started in a junior role and then after some months of experience with senior project managers, I got the chance to be a project manager on my own." If he'd worked somewhere else, he adds, he'd likely have had to wait much longer for the opportunity.
/N SPRO has a high retention rate, and that's something the company's leadership works hard to maintain. "We know especially with the millennials we have to keep them engaged, we have to keep them challenged and we have to make them see there's a place for them to move," says Piserchia, "so we're constantly finding ways to do that."
Boucher-Rioux appreciates the entrepreneurial dynamic at /N SPRO, the accessibility of the leadership, the flexibility to travel or work from home, and the big projects. "With /N SPRO we're able to work on projects that are with major clients," he says. "And we're having more and more projects internationally so we have the opportunity to work with businesses that are abroad."
Still, it's not all work at /N SPRO. A social committee finds plenty of opportunities for the staff at the busy, high-energy organization to have fun and relax together -- everything from lunches, happy hours and board game nights to virtual yoga. And at the end of every winter, the entire staff is invited to the corporate retreat for teambuilding and networking -- typically a weekend at a warm, sunny resort.
"We're always looking for ways for us to network and build our relationships," says Piserchia, "because that's what makes our culture stick."