Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Strategic Group was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Strategic Group invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $2,000 annually) and subsidies for professional accreditation
- Strategic Group maintains a charitable focus on initiatives that support the arts and giving back to Calgary's impoverished, and encourages employees to volunteer by providing monetary donations to organizations where employees volunteer their time
- Strategic Group recognizes exceptional employee performance through a number of awards including peer-to-peer recognition awards, long-service awards and a "Team Strategic Award" for employees who exemplify the company's core values -- recipients of the Team Strategic Award receive a trip for 2 including airfare, accommodations and $1,000 in spending money
Learning, growing and having fun at Strategic Group
As one of Canada's largest privately held real estate companies, Calgary-based Strategic Group prides itself on taking an unconventional and creative approach while delivering on the fundamentals of real estate.
For Strategic Group, which owns, manages and develops office, retail and apartment properties across Canada, that approach is summed up by the corporate mantra: "Creating value others can't by seeing what others don't."
Strategic Group takes a similarly purposeful approach to team member engagement. "Our workplace culture embodies our core values," says Chief Executive Officer Riaz Mamdani. "Those values are about learning, growing and having fun."
Team members are able to learn in a variety of ways, including internships, online teaching tools and day-to-day coaching and mentorship. They are encouraged to grow by pursuing personal and corporate "stretch goals" and bringing forward their own ideas about how to improve the business.
"We have a history of promoting people from entry-level positions to much more senior roles," says Mamdani, who practised corporate, commercial and securities law before founding Strategic Group in 2001. "If you are smart, hard-working and self-motivated, you can do a lot of different things in our organization."
And the fun part?
"Beyond the social activities we have on a regular basis, I believe people have fun when they are engaged and being challenged and getting to try things at a professional level that their peers do not," says Mamdani. "Because we are creative and unconventional, the job is a lot of fun."
Kyle Follett, who joined Strategic Group three years ago as a senior development analyst, concurs with that assessment.
"It is an entrepreneurial company which encourages us to push the envelope and always be learning," says Follett. "They have allowed me to explore and grow and take on responsibilities that weren't originally part of my job description. It's been exciting and has given me the flexibility to take my career where I want it to go."
Follett credits the company's open-doorways with helping him thrive. "This is a small-to-mid-sized company that knows people engagement is important. I get to deal with our CEO and other senior executives on a regular basis and receive the mentorship to take on new challenges --something they are always open to."
He agrees that the net result is a fun work environment. "It feels kind of like a family outside of the home," says Follett. "The fun for me is just coming to work with like-minded people with similar goals."
With over $1 billion in assets, Strategic Group is a fully integrated property owner, manager and developer of real estate as well as an investment company spanning a variety of North American industries. But while there is plenty of challenging work to be done, the company stresses the need for a positive work/life balance.
"We don't encourage people to stay late or work weekends -- that's not an expectation at all," says Mamdani. "And when we are hiring, we look for people with the right values -- balanced human beings who work hard, but who also have lives and interests outside of work."
The company also emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community.
"Our core values when it comes to community and volunteer work are impact, pride and legacy," says Mamdani. "We want to be involved in initiatives where we can make a real difference. For example, because we are involved with the Project Warmth Society of Alberta, we know there were fewer homeless and underprivileged children facing the cold this winter. And because we contributed to the Calgary Food Bank, we know we had an impact on the number of hungry families in Calgary.
"At the same time, our goal is to build a legacy by making sure that, every year, we find ways to increase the level of contribution and better serve what I believe are our societal obligations."