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 Trihedral Engineering Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Trihedral Engineering starts new employees with 3 weeks of paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting individual vacation entitlements -- long-serving employees move to 6 weeks of paid vacation over the course of their careers
- Employees at Trihedral Engineering enjoy a busy social calendar throughout the year including an overnight Christmas party at an oceanside resort, Grey Cup and Super Bowl parties, and an annual summer party that includes a barbecue lunch, games, gifts and prizes
Fairness is paramount at Trihedral Engineering
Rod Tonietto took a big gamble when he sold his family-owned manufacturing company, uprooted his wife and two young children and left his native Brazil in early 2017 to settle in Halifax, N.S. He looked for work for seven months and had a number of interviews, but no offers.
Then, fortune smiled on him. A Brazilian friend and fellow émigré posted on Facebook a link to a job opening at Halifax-based Trihedral Engineering Limited.
"I didn't have many prospects and was feeling down, but I applied," recalls Tonietto. "They gave me an aptitude test and the following week called me for an interview. Two weeks later, on a Friday evening, I got a call from the president, Glenn Wadden, and he offered me a job as a project technician."
Tonietto jumped at the offer and hasn't looked back. Trihedral designs software used to monitor and control processes in industrial facilities, such as waste water treatment plants, power generation, air traffic monitoring systems, 911 emergency alerting systems, marine systems, national broadcasting networks and even subsea oil production infrastructure.
"One of our founding beliefs is we follow the golden rule," says Vice President Barry Baker. "Fairness is paramount. We treat employees, customers and suppliers the way we want to be treated."
Take, for instance, the company's approach to overtime. Under a complex regime introduced by the provincial government, employers do not have to start paying overtime until an employee has worked 48 hours in a week. Trihedral created a plan called T-Points under which employees earn one point per hour when they work between 40 and 48 hours. A point is worth $12.50 with the company paying all income taxes. Once they have accumulated enough points, the company buys them a "toy" and these have included such things as flat-screen TVs, cameras and cell phones.
Unlike many employers these days, Trihedral has resisted the move to cubicles. "We're an office company," says Baker. "Everyone has an office with a door. If someone needs to talk to their wife or their kids they can close the door and do it privately."
Furthermore, the offices are adjacent to exterior walls so everyone has a window, in some cases overlooking Bedford Basin with the ocean on the horizon. Interior spaces are used for meeting rooms, a games room with a pool table and a small gym equipped with treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent bicycles, weights and yoga mats.
Trihedral pays the annual accreditation fees for its engineers and other professionals and subsidizes tuition for job-related courses. The company also allows flexible working hours, although employees are expected to be at the office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. They also have the option of working from home, but must notify their manager or supervisor.
"We work as teams, but it's hard to have teams if people are dispersed or working remotely," says Baker. "You can't walk into somebody's office and say, 'I don't understand this. Can you help me out?'"
The company holds a series of social events throughout the year, including Grey Cup and Super Bowl parties and a summer barbecue lunch. Late on Friday afternoons there are chips-and-nacho gatherings before everyone leaves for the weekend.
The highlight for many employees is the annual Christmas party at the oceanside White Point Beach Resort. The company rents cottages for each employee and their families and treats everyone to dinner as well as breakfast the following morning.
"I was invited and had only been with the company for 11 days," says Tonietto. "My colleagues said 'Wait till you see how many parties and barbecues we have in the summer.' The company keeps surprising me with everything they do."