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 Watters Environmental Group Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Along with a year-end bonus program, Watters Environmental Group helps employees save for retirement with matching RSP contributions
- Watters Environmental Group invests in ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $1,000 annually), subsidies for professional accreditation and a variety of in-house and online training programs
- Through the company-sponsored "Living Planet @ Work Team", employees enjoy a number of social events and celebrations each year including a Christmas party at Weber's Grill Academy, a "Spring Fling" wine tour in Niagara and an offsite session at Briar's Resort
At Watters Environmental Group, trust is the terrain
They were pancakes with a purpose -- and a lot of fun mixed into the flour. Pancake Tuesday at Toronto-based Watters Environmental Group Inc. this year was a chance to raise some money for cancer research while enjoying the company of colleagues.
"An employee at our company has been personally affected by cancer," explains Project Coordinator Brittney Espinola, "and the events and fundraisers we as a company will be participating in this year will be focused on raising money for cancer research in honour of his battle."
Strong connections with co-workers and clients are ingrained in the culture at the rapidly growing environmental consulting firm. "We don't just work together -- there's a strong friendship," says Espinola. "I think the team members are a big reason why people stay with the company. When anyone is in a hard place, everybody will come together to help. It feels really family-like."
For founding President and CEO Rob Watters, it comes down to trust. It's one of the company's core values -- along with collaboration and innovation. But it begins with trust. "Trust is a foundational element of any business," he observes. "You have to trust yourself, your colleagues, and you have to be trusted by your clients."
The result is a comfort level than encourages colleagues to work together to push the envelope on new ideas, without fear of criticism. Communication flows easily across all levels of seniority. "When issues come up," says Espinola, "nobody is afraid to talk to senior staff. That's a huge benefit of working here, whereas if you're working for a larger company, it can be so big it's almost scary and you're not sure who to go to for help."
To build a sense of common purpose and fun, Watters Environmental Group organizes team-building exercises and activities several times a year, and the CEO holds town-hall meetings to keep employees up-to-date on the latest developments. Through the company-sponsored Living Planet@Work team, employees also enjoy a number of social events and celebrations each year. Recent gatherings have included a holiday party at Weber's Grill Academy, a "Spring Fling" wine tour in Niagara, and an offsite session at Briar's Resort.
Many events combine the company's commitment to giving back to the community, and employees often join fundraising events involving their clients for causes like the Ride for Heart and Habitat for Humanity.
Watters says creating a supportive environment includes offering competitive benefits. Along with a year-end bonus program, the company helps employees save for retirement through matching RSP contributions.
"Everything here is about making people feel comfortable, making people feel collaborative, and helping them to expand their comfort zone," he says. "That's why we've been so successful as a company."
Watters Environmental Group also supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to $1,000 annually), subsidies for professional accreditation, and a variety of in-house and online training options.
Espinola, who joined the company five years ago as a receptionist, has been promoted three times. "What's made me want to stay and advance here is the opportunity for growth," she says. "The sky's the limit. Whatever you want to do and feel passionate about, within reason, they'll make it happen for you."
The firm's distinctive performance review system looks at not only the employee's professional goals, but the individual's personal goals. "A company in itself doesn't exist," says Watters. "At the end of the day, it's the employees that make the company. Our goal is to help them develop personally and professionally."