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 VISA Canada Corporation was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- VISA Canada offers a full suite of financial benefits, from profit-sharing to a share purchase plan -- and helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan and matching RSP contributions
- As part of the company's health benefits plan, VISA Canada employees receive a wellness spending account of up to $750, which can be used for wellness-related expenses
- VISA Canada encourages employees to be active in the community, providing 2 paid days off to volunteer -- the company also matches employee donations to charitable causes, to a maximum of $10,000 USD each year
Innovation - and a good party - drive retention at Visa
During the annual end-of-the.year festive season, the boss at Visa Canada likes to give everyone the afternoon off and invite them to her house for a party. "It's very informal," says Country Manager and President Stacey Madge. "I don't believe in head tables."
The gesture goes a long way with the some 100 staff that work high above downtown Toronto in one of the city's iconic bank towers. "I'm grateful that we have a leader who is thoughtful enough to open up her home and invite her entire organization, like family, for a holiday party," says Jonathan Weiner, an Account Executive with Visa Canada's Merchant Sales Team. "It illustrates
the inclusive leadership and culture Stacey promotes."
Adds LeAnne Thorfinnson, Head of Human Resources: "I've worked elsewhere in the financial sector and in other places, as well, and it's most unusual for the CEO to invite everyone to their home for a party. People really appreciate it."
They also appreciate working in a relatively small office that is part of a global financial powerhouse that values independence. "We are closely knit and collaborative," says Weiner.
They have to be, according to Madge. "The payments landscape is changing so rapidly and dramatically," she says, "that we have to be innovative." And to be innovative, "we need people to think outside the box, and we need to encourage everyone to speak out."
Weiner says that approach is working. "The company wants to listen," he says, "and they have created a culture where people feel safe to voice their opinions."
Another way to encourage staff input is through employee-driven committees that provide input to senior management on continuous improvement in areas ranging from employee engagement through diversity and inclusion to charitable giving and volunteer activities.
Indeed, to demonstrate its community engagement commitment, Visa Canada will match an individual's charitable contribution up to $10,000. Employees also get time off to participate in company-sponsored charitable activities or up to two days to work with a charity of their choice. Last year, Weiner served lunch at a soup kitchen on one day and helped wrap holiday gifts at a different not-for-profit on another day. "I'm proud to work for a company that prioritizes giving back to the communities we live and work in," he says.
Visa Canada also encourages and responds to staff input through its emphasis on professional development. "There's a strong culture of managers wanting their employees to develop in ways they want to grow," says Weiner. "They are there to help you."
According to Madge, professional development is also essential to corporate survival. "Employees, especially millennials, are hungry for growth and development opportunities," she says. "They are demanding it, and if they don't get it, they won't hang around."
Clearly, they are hanging around at Visa Canada. The company's turnover rate is less than half the average in the Canadian technology and financial sectors.
Visa Canada's competitive salaries and benefits are other reasons to stay. When it comes to financial benefits, which include profit sharing, a share-purchase plan and matching RSP contributions, among other perks, Thorfinnson says the entire package is an "industry leader."
Five years ago, when Visa Canada offered Weiner a job, he had to choose between it and a competing bid from another company in the financial sector. "I chose Visa because of the people here and its emphasis on innovation," he recalls. "Not only was there the opportunity to work alongside some of the best and brightest, there was also a chance to work in other countries as part of a global company."
Today, he has no regrets. "They have delivered on their promises," he says. "It's a collaborative and supportive place - and that's what keeps me here."