Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Samsung Canada embeds recognition into its corporate culture through the online "U r Awesome" platform, which allows employees to nominate, recognize and reward their peers -- employees receive a minimum of 3,000 points per month to distribute to colleagues for a job well done (points are redeemable for a variety of merchandise)
- Samsung Canada encourages ongoing employee development through a number of in-house programs, including an annual Development Week in March (with a number of guest speaker sessions), the "myDevelopment" career portal and a global mobility program
- Along with a number of financial benefits, Samsung Canada offers employees a variety of corporate discounts as well as a generous employee purchase program, allowing employees to purchase up to $20,000 in Samsung products per year
Samsung training is a gateway to opportunity
Employees at Mississauga, Ont.-based Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. are encouraged to take up to 60 hours of professional development training each year. Irina Alimouradova has no trouble meeting that target. Training has been her gateway to opportunity and she has enjoyed plenty of that during her 15 years with Samsung.
She started on an order desk, moved to a supply chain position and is currently a Specialist in the logistics department. "I've had a lot of opportunity to learn new things and to grow with the company," she says. "The company has been very supportive in allowing me to go where I want to go."
The 60 hours of professional development per year include training available internally as well as educational opportunities offered through accredited institutions. Samsung provides up to $4,000 annually to employees who want to enroll in external programs at accredited institutions.
Samsung employees can use the myDevelopment portal to look for opportunities to advance. They then work with their supervisors to determine what kind of training they need to attain their goals. The company also sponsors a yearly Development Week and brings in outside experts to offer one-hour Lunch and Learn sessions on a wide range of subjects including health and wellness, fitness, financial planning and naturopathic medicine.
The company recently developed new programs built on a "One Samsung" approach in response to the company's annual employee survey. Results from the 2017 survey showed that many felt Samsung's four divisions – home appliances, consumer electronics, mobile and IT – limited their contact with colleagues. The company took action and set out to facilitate more collaboration and visibility from one team to another.
"The One Samsung approach we take – across all levels of our organization – is transforming the culture," says Jennifer Safruk, Vice-President, Sales and Product Management, Mobile Division. "It allows more people to transfer between divisions, which leads to more opportunity, engagement and dynamic team collaboration. It also speaks to the connected experiences our ecosystem of products offer consumers – at work, at home and on the go."
Employees have also been responsible for initiating several affinity networks, including Women at SECA (Samsung Electronics Canada), a Working Parents Group and a third group for Millennials. The Millennial network leans toward social activities that bring together young people from various parts of the company. Working Parents attracts younger employees who are dealing with common interests such as child care and financial planning specifically for families.
Women at SECA focuses on issues of special interest to females in a traditionally male-dominated field. Safruk and two other female executive team members have participated in panel discussions at the office to share their career experiences. More recently, the group brought in a senior level government official to speak about the importance of mentorship for women in the workplace; nearly 25 per cent of the participants were men.
At Samsung's head office, onsite amenities include a gym that is open from early morning until late in the evening and includes classes such as aerobics, yoga and boxing. There is also a subsidized cafeteria with a menu recently revamped to promote healthy eating.
Along with a number of financial benefits, employees can buy up to $20,000 worth of Samsung products per year at discounted prices. "Everything in our house is Samsung – our TV, kitchen appliances, washer-dryer and phones for the kids," says Alimouradova. "We even have Samsung towels, T-shirts, bags and pants."
Samsung takes a holistic approach to employee wellness
Two years ago, Brittany Ashie joined Mississauga-based Samsung Electronics Canada as a Senior Specialist, Corporate Communications and Citizenship, and she quickly discovered she'd landed more than just a good job. She'd also landed an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
"There are a lot of different programs we can access in order to enrich our lives," Ashie says. "There's leadership training, mentorship training and lots of other resources I can use to expand my knowledge. It's pretty awesome."
Samsung encourages its employees to take up to 60 hours of professional development annually and will provide up to $4,000 per year to offset the cost of training offered externally by accredited institutions. As well, the company began offering weekly Korean language training through the Korean consulate in Toronto and Ashie jumped at the opportunity.
"I'm very excited about it," she says. "It'll be great to explore Samsung's Korean roots and practice with some of my colleagues in their native tongue."
Apart from a rich array of professional development, Samsung takes a holistic approach to the personal wellness of its employees. The company has an on-site gym, a staff cafeteria that offers wholesome, subsidized meals as well as mental health training and education sessions for both employees and managers.
"I'm the executive champion for the mental wellness initiative," says Warner Doell, Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Digital Appliance Business. "I speak at each of these training sessions. There's a much stronger recognition in the workplace today that we need to reduce the stigma around mental illness and to let people know that there is help for those that need it."
Samsung also maintains robust co-op and internship programs for students who are interested in a career in the technology sector. In fact, within the last year, the company has placed 31 students in a variety of roles, including marketing, human resources and research and development.
Doell notes that several members of his team worked as co-op students before joining the company full-time and one has become a product manager. "We put our students to work when they're here," he says. "They're not just photocopying documents. They become part of a team and they're given responsibility so that they're fully engaged. We want them to return to school energized and eager to start their careers."
Samsung is committed to equity and diversity in the workplace and, to that end, has created employee resources groups - led by employees themselves - for women, millennials and working parents. Ashie joined the Women@SECA committee and has helped organize a number of events. "We've had women from other organizations, who were very successful, come in to speak to us," she says. "They told us how they overcame obstacles and went on to thrive in their careers. It was so inspiring."
One of Samsung's guiding principles is to contribute to communities across the country and it puts that principle into practice through its 'Samsung Gives' initiatives. Through this initiative, charitable events are organized by various divisions, as well as an annual companywide Day of Giving which is planned by employees. This year, over 400 employees from three different offices spent the day doing volunteer work in their communities. All totaled, Samsung employees have volunteered over 3,000 hours with charitable organizations in 2018.
"That's one of the reasons I love working here," says Ashie. "There's such a big focus on corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community. You feel good that you've done something to help."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 17, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
- The company organizes the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Challenge, a national educational initiative for Canadian students from grades 6 to 10 to apply STEM learning to solve issues in their communities and compete for Samsung school technology grants (four grand prizes of $20,000 each)
- Additionally, the company partners with post-secondary institutions on a number of different initiatives, working with Vancouver Community College to create a Samsung Tech Institute Home Appliance certification course and to launch a Mobile Application Development program at Centennial College
- Samsung Canada recently hosted a unique Take your Parents to Work Day, providing employees with opportunities to showcase their work to their parents -- the day featured hands-on demos of the company's newest products, an office scavenger hunt and a cocktail hour with senior executives
Employees drive workplace innovation at Samsung
Caterina Westenberg got her first taste of working at Mississauga, Ont.-based Samsung Electron.ics Canada Inc. as a co-op student, then to a fixed term contract. That led to a full-time position as a Human Resources Specialist, with responsibilities for creating and implementing the company's wellness program.
"I have a really interesting role," she says. "I'm creating the program and also personally benefiting from it. And I know it really appeals to our millennial team members."
The wellness program is built around four pillars - physical fitness, social well-being, mental health and personal financial management. Among other resources, Samsung offers employees anon-site gym, lunch-and-learn sessions on nutrition, mental health awareness training and seminars on personal finance.
"I took part in a tax planning and an RRSP seminar," Westenberg says. "I had very little knowledge about these things before coming into the workforce, so these seminars were really beneficial to me."
Samsung supports employees at all stages of their careers through a diverse suite of programs, including subsidies for tuition and professional accreditations, on-the-job training and career development, and online and in-house training.
And the company is always seeking to improve its offerings. "We're always trying to move the needle," says Anna-Lisa Prencipe, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. "We're never in the same place with any of our initiatives from one year to the next."
Innovation is the name of the game at Samsung, but employees drive the innovation. "We never try to guess what our employees want," says Prencipe. "We always ask them. We talk to our employees on a regular basis about what we are doing well and what we can do better."
Samsung's performance management program is built around annual evaluations, but that is only the starting point. "There are lots of opportunities to discuss your career development with your manager," says Westenberg. "We're not just talking about once a year. It's actually on ongoing conversation."
The company begins its annual end-of-year review period in December, with follow-up discussions between employee and manager conducted throughout January and February in the new year. Building on these discussions, Samsung holds its Development Week in late February or early March to showcase its in-house suite of professional development courses - each of which can be completed in one or two days with instruction offered by outside experts. The courses include presentation skills, leadership essentials, and storytelling, as well as working with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Suite.
In Mississauga, the company also brings in motivational speakers, such as tech entrepreneur Michele Romanow from CBC TV's "Dragon's Den" and internationally renowned speaker Yassmin Abdel-Magied to talk about personal success and career development from a diversity and inclusion perspective. "We believe development is about your whole self, not just advancing in your career," says Prencipe.
Samsung promotes networking opportunities in order to bring together employees who work in various divisions and rarely have the opportunity to collaborate or interact. The company holds corporate showroom and brings food trucks on-site for summer lunches.
Employee resource groups are another important vehicle for networking and two, in particular, are there for the benefit of the company's younger employees - the Millennials Group and the Working Parents Group. Both offer a mix of social and professional events as well as charitable activities.
"They're for younger employees and these employees drive the initiatives," says Prencipe. "They do things that are important to them."
Samsung also has active summer employment and co-op programs for students. The company assigns executive sponsors to work with students, with each sponsor providing a project to work on to ensure that students get a real taste of what it means to be a Samsung employee. They also have an opportunity to meet the occupants of the C-suite - the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and other senior executives.
"We want them to have an excellent and well-rounded professional experience," says Prencipe.