Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 21, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Wesgroup Equipment LP was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
- Wesgroup Equipment LP provides the majority of its new moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 75% of salary for 15 weeks) and helps employees balance work and their personal lives with telecommuting and flexible work hour options, varying by position
- Along with regular team meetings, Wesgroup Equipment LP keeps employees informed and up to date through The Yard (company intranet) and recently introduced CEO Coffee Chats, allowing small groups of employees to interact directly with the CEO, ask questions and share their perspective
- Wesgroup Equipment LP starts the majority of its new employees with 3 weeks of paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting individual vacation entitlements
Wesgroup Equipment equips its people with team spirit
In high school, Andrew Cunliffe couldn't imagine working at a company like Wesgroup Equipment, let alone spending his entire career there. Now he can't picture working anywhere else.
"I'm a lifer and I have a lot of loyalty to this company," says Cunliffe. "I didn't know much about the trade when I first started here, but the company trained me up to get to where I am today, set me straight and put me on my path. It's pretty inspirational."
The Wesgroup Equipment family of companies is made up of Williams Machinery, Westerra Equipment and Vermeer BC. They sell, rent and service construction and material handling equipment, operating from eight locations across B.C.
Cunliffe started in the yard at Westerra Equipment in Abbotsford. Now as service lead hand, he trains and supervises the shop's mechanics, immersing them in the same corporate culture that's helped him excel.
"I love it. It's really rewarding to see technicians get trained and grow when you see them coming in at 16 or 17 years old and now they're all doing great," says Cunliffe.
Wesgroup employees range from technicians to parts, service, administrative and sales staff. But whether wearing overalls or a suit, they have one thing in common: core principles of teamwork in a values-based culture where building positive relationships meets the needs of customers.
"We're a values-based organization - we don't just talk it, we focus on putting those values in action each and every day," says Wesgroup CEO Dhar Dhaliwal.
"We're continuously looking for ways to run our business better and seeking out best practices to improve things for both employees and our customers. We're strongly committed to recognizing our employees for the good work they do."
The company also recognizes the importance of work/life balance. Along with a competitive wage and benefits package, employees receive ongoing training, development, recognition, incentives to keep fit, wellness programs and financial planning counselling.
Cunliffe says the company's commitment to charity is another attraction.
"We did the 'Run For the Cure' and had competitions on who could raise the most money. We really do support charities," Cunliffe says.
Wesgroup Equipment also supports the Canadian Cancer Society, the Food Bank, Adopt-a-Family programs and BC Children's Hospital.
Dhaliwal says it's all part of creating a team spirit where everyone counts.
"We're small enough that every employee's contribution matters, but large enough that we can provide opportunities for growth. We're right in that sweet spot," Dhaliwal says.
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Wesgroup Equipment LP was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Wesgoup Equipment LLP supports ongoing employee development through apprenticeships, in-house and online training initiatives, as well as offering tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions, up $1,500 annually
- Wesgoup Equipment LLP encourages employees to recruit their friends with generous new employee referral bonuses, from $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the position
Wesgroup is equipped with a friendly culture
Kyle Hallet knows his Bobcats. A Heavy Duty Service Technician at the Kelowna, B.C. dealership of Williams Machinery, a Wesgroup Equipment company, he specializes in the Bobcat brand of compact construction equipment. He does pre-delivery inspections of new equipment and diagnostics and repair of used equipment.
When Hallet moved to Kelowna eight years ago from Alberta, he didn't have a job awaiting him, but pitched his work experience at two other Bobcat dealerships. "I came into the dealership every week and checked if there were any job openings," he says. "When someone did leave, I was the first guy to get the call."
In 2017, 15 applicants got the call from Surrey, B.C.-based Wesgroup Equipment to fill new positions. (Wesgroup Equipment is the parent company of Westerra Equipment and Williams Machinery, distributors of material handling, compact and heavy equipment to the construction, forestry, agriculture, mining, landscaping, and logistics sectors.)
Wesgroup Equipment, which currently employs 170 people, hires technicians, parts reps, sales reps and sales support as well as corporate services such as finance, accounting, HR, marketing and IT.
The workplace culture is down-to-earth, friendly and collaborative, says Dhar Dhaliwal, CEO. "The company is large enough that it can offer opportunities for career development and growth, yet small enough that every employee can make a difference. We are entrepreneurial, and our people are empowered to find better ways to service our customers and improve our processes."
Employee development is a priority. Each employee participates in creating their annual development plan with their manager. This can include opportunities for on-the-job training, volunteering on committees, attending conferences, taking courses and pursuing post-secondary education.
"We encourage all employees to be learning continuously," says Dhaliwal. "It's not just one path for everyone; different staff have different needs. For technicians, much of the training is on the equipment, whereas our accounting team is enrolled in professional accounting programs." The learning session called Customer Experience Skills is, however, mandatory for all. "It was very useful in showing how to communicate with customers and build trust," says Hallet.
In addition, he has done eight Bobcat factory training courses and 80 online university courses, becoming a gold-certified Bobcat technician. "They are definitely invested in making sure we can diagnose problems quickly and efficiently," says Hallet.
The company's W.E. Care Committee works with the team across the province to support the communities where they live and work. To fund breast cancer research, employees participate in the Run for the Cure and the company's signature Pink Forklift Program, where profits from the rental of pink forklifts go to the Canadian Cancer Society. "When our salespeople are renting the fleet, they inquire of customers whether they want the pink forklifts in aid of breast cancer research," says Dhaliwal.
They also find several opportunities to support the B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation through the annual Building for Kids Charity Golf Classic and Jeans Day.
"As an industrial equipment dealer, we work hard to diversify our work force," says Dhaliwal. Wesgroup employs women as managers, parts reps and salespeople. "Our complement of female staff throughout our organization is growing," he says. Staff are also diverse in age and ethnicity.
The company's values guide its interactions, both internally and with customers, on a daily basis. Those values are Build Trust, Be a Team Player, Support Community, Be Customer Focused, and Deliver Results.
The G.R.I.T. Awards Program enables employees to nominate co-workers for exceptional display of the company's values and for exceptional service to customers or to each other. The monthly award winners are reviewed annually, with consistently high performers selected for True G.R.I.T. Awards, which include a four-day trip for two to a warm destination in January. This year, three employees, including Hallet, were rewarded with a trip to San Diego. "I was almost stunned when I heard I won," he says. "It was nice to be recognized for my efforts."