Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Wesgroup Equipment LP was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- Wesgroup Equipment LLP starts the majority of its new employees with 3 weeks of paid vacation and considers previous work experience when setting individual vacation entitlements
- Wesgoup Equipment LLP encourages employees to save for the future with matching RSP contributions -- and helps employees ease into retirement with phased-in retirement work options
- Wesgroup Equipment LLP provides the majority of its new moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 75% of salary for 15 weeks) and helps employees balance their work and personal lives with telecommuting and flexible work hour options, varying by position
Multiple businesses come together at Wesgroup Equipment
At Wesgroup Equipment, delivering an exceptional customer experience is something staff rally behind. Leaders believe recognition is key to moving the customer and employee experiences forward, so employees nominate co-workers who are delivering a great experience to customers or to each other.
Based on nominations, G.R.I.T. awards are given out to employees every month -- "because they're displaying behaviour that supports the culture we're building," as CEO Dhar Dhaliwal notes. Then, every year, employees who have displayed consistency throughout the year are honoured with the top performance award, called True G.R.I.T., which includes an all-expenses-paid trip for two to a warm and sunny destination. "I refer to them as our 'poster' employees," Dhaliwal says. "They exemplify everything we want from our team members."
Surrey-based Wesgroup Equipment is the parent company of Williams Machinery and Westerra Equipment. Dhaliwal came on board in 2010 as the VP of Finance and took over as CEO in 2014. Since then, his job has been about reinvention. "We've brought multiple cultures into one," he says, "taking small, family-owned businesses and investing in them to improve their performance." In the past three years, the group has grown by about 30 per cent. "There's been a lot of rapid change," Dhaliwal adds. "It's been a lot of fun and a challenge at the same time."
There has been a lot of focus on getting the right people in the right roles, and, through that, an engaged, energetic culture has developed. "Our people want to be successful," says Dhaliwal. "They all want to win."
The company invests in training its people, with the goal of growing talent internally -- and keeping them. Gurpreet Bering is a Road Service Technician for Westerra in Abbotsford. After a four-year apprenticeship, he became a field technician. "I wanted to be at a place I wanted to stay," says Bering. "There's so much room for growth. If you have your mind set on something, there's no way you should not be able to reach it as long as you're working hard."
The young talent is eager to learn and the older employees share their knowledge and experience. And even though some of the companies that make up Wesgroup Equipment have been around for over 100 years, Dhaliwal says, "I think of us as a young organization. We're continuously improving and looking for better ways to provide a great customer and employee experience."
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 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."