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 TeraGo Networks Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- In addition to a year-end bonus program, publicly-traded TeraGo Networks encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan
- TeraGo Networks provides generous referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to become recruiters (up to $2,000 for successful hires)
- TeraGo Networks encourages employees to become active members of their community, offering paid time off to volunteer and matching employee donations
At TeraGo, employees provide annual 'Stay Interviews'
Leading business solutions provider TeraGo really wants to hear from its employees.
In a departure from normal practice, staff are encouraged every year to provide confidential feedback on how they feel they and the company are performing. Called Stay Interviews, these are one of several ways the Thornhill, Ont.-based cloud and connectivity solutions supplier engages with its workforce.
"What you learn from a traditional exit interview is too late to retain that employee," says President and CEO Tony Ciciretto, who held senior positions in a number of other organizations before joining TeraGo last year. "I've not seen this approach anywhere else."
It's also part of TeraGo's commitment to continuous learning, he says. "We want to make sure people have all the tools they need to do their job and grow. It's a way for managers to learn how they can become better managers and coaches. And it's a chance to make the company better."
Another example of TeraGo listening seriously to what its people have to say came when the company put together a new strategic plan. Ciciretto insisted that all employees have input. "I didn't want it to be a traditional top-down exercise," he says. Half way through the process, Ciciretto ran draft proposals by people who would be impacted to ensure the company "got it right."
Says Ciciretto: "I wanted to make sure we weren't missing anything. At the end of the process, the plan belonged to everyone. Everyone bought in because they could see how they had helped develop the strategy. That made them more committed as they executed the plan. The engagement process was starkly different from other organizations I have been with."
TeraGo cares for its employees in other ways. Before new employees start work, they receive a welcome card in the mail, signed by everyone, from Ciciretto on down. Once they begin, they can take advantage of a share-purchase plan and look forward to annual bonuses that can top one-half of salary.
To relieve any office pressure, there's a games room with ping-pong and foosball tables. Free bagel breakfasts are provided every Friday, and free fruit is available 24/7, part of an overall commitment to wellness, including subsidized health club memberships.
Prizes are given for pursuing healthy habits at work and for weight loss. Says Ciciretto: "People often spend more waking time at work than at home. We want to make sure the office environment is just as supportive and welcoming."
And what surely must be a one-of-a-kind perk, the subsidized staff vending machine doubles as a treasure trove. Purchasers might find a "golden ticket" on their items entitling them to prizes ranging up to an extra day of paid holiday. "It's a creative way to bring energy to the office," says Ciciretto. "It also instills employee camaraderie, key to a tech company remaining ahead of the curve."
For his part, Central Sales Director Josh Druxerman enthuses over the company's openness and emphasis on team building. "I never spoke to the CEO at places where I worked before," he says. "Here, I speak with him every day."
Druxerman also latched onto the CEO as his coach, part of the company's mentorship program. "That accessibility is another example of how our relatively small size benefits us," he says. "We emulate some of the major tech companies, but we are small enough to get everyone involved in different areas and projects. We are nimble and can act more quickly."
Ciciretto agrees. He says: "We're small enough to be agile and let people have a direct impact and see the results of their work. But we are not so small that we can't offer benefits and programs that allow everyone to grow and achieve their goals."