Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Olympus Canada Inc. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Along with supporting a number of local, national and international charitable initiatives, Olympus Canada encourages employees to give back to the community by providing paid time off to volunteer and company donations to organizations where employees volunteer their time (to a maximum of $2,000 per year)
- Olympus Canada encourages employees to reinvest in their skills with generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $5,250 per year) as well as subsidies for professional accreditation
- As part of the company's regular health benefits plan, Olympus Canada offers a health spending account of $500 per year, allowing employees to top up coverage according to their personal needs
Olympus Canada employees work 'on the edge of perfection'
Recently, an employee of Richmond Hill-based Olympus Canada retired after 35 years at the company. President and CEO Bill Collins asked him why he'd stayed at the company for so long. "He said it was the fact that we weren't just fixing electronics, we were fixing electronics that saved lives and made people healthier and hopefully prolonged their lives," recalls Collins. "Pride is evident across the company."
While Olympus is a name that has long been associated with cameras and photography equipment, the company's real focus is on a variety of specialized medical and technical products - microscopes for research, devices for diagnoses and therapeutic treatments, industrial products that are used to assess the health and safety of jet engines and oil pipelines.
"Our business is looking after society's health, safety and really life's fulfillment, even in the cameras line," says Collins. "Our customers are primarily specialists - whether that be doctors, nurses, research scientists or safety officers. We're a business to specialty operation."
The big initiative for the global company this year was to launch its core values: integrity, empathy, having a long-term view, agility and unity. "Really it's to say, 'what do we stand for as a company?'" Collins says. His field employees are, he says, probably the strongest sales, clinical and support staff in Canada because they grasp the importance of the products they are representing. "Inside the company, we have to be agile and understand we just don't go home without getting all the devices to where they are supposed to be."
The work ethic of the employees and their enthusiasm for what they do are big draws for Accounting Manager Shaila Sachedina. Because Olympus's head office is in Japan, the company's year-end happened to fall on Good Friday. "We were trying to figure out how we could be creative and accommodate the close," she recalls. "The team's attitude was, 'what can we do and how can we help?' It's really nice to work with a group of people who cares about what they're doing."
And deadlines are sacred at Olympus because the consequences of missing them could be dire. "We have to do every function in this company on the edge of perfection," says Collins, "because someone's life is at the end of it."
But Sachedina says employees are happy to do whatever it takes in part because they feel appreciated by the company. To that end, Olympus recently introduced a work-from-home option for some employees, and it offers generous tuition subsidies - up to $5,250 per year - as well as subsidies for professional accreditation.
The company also encourages employees to give back by providing two days paid leave a year for volunteering and by donating to organizations that employees support, up to $2,000 per year. And during a recent office renovation, the company moved the executives' offices into the core of the building and put employees' cubicles up in front of the windows. "The office has become very open and inviting," says Collins.
There's also lots of fun to be had when the work is done. SocialIn, a volunteer employee group, organizes events at the company - birthday celebrations (including a big one in the planning stages for the company's 100th anniversary next year), charity-related events, holiday parties, and company sporting events. "It's a really nice way to appreciate people, bring them together, celebrate each other and celebrate what's happening in the company," says Sachedina, who is also the treasurer of SocialIn.
But their purpose is always at the forefront. "At the end of the day, we're trying to help people's lives become healthier, safer and more fulfilling," she adds. "It's nice to be part of that. It's a