Top 3 trends in corporate culture behind Canada’s Most Admired winners

Corporate culture must be measured, communicated and respected when hiring

By Marty Parker, President & CEO, Waterstone Human Capital

For the past fourteen years Waterstone has annually recognized forty organizations for fostering cultures that enhance performance and help sustain a competitive advantage through our Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures awards program. Through the submission process, we get an insider’s view into the successful culture-building practices of Canada’s most successful organizations

This year, we pulled back the curtain and found that measurement, omni-channel communication and hiring for fit are the three common threads behind the winners of this year’s awards.

Omni-channel communication offers greater transparency

The era of one-way communications in Canadian business is over. After reviewing many hundreds of applications, I can confidently say that leading Canadian businesses have entered into a new era of internal communications.

For instance, Yardstick Testing & Training, a two-time winner from the Edmonton area, is using a web-based messaging app to keep employees in touch across geographic barriers – sharing company news and gathering feedback continually.

“We have 95 channels where our staff of 100 can collaborate and share ideas,” says Chris LaBossiere, CEO & Co-Founder Yardstick Testing & Training. “We’ve noticed an immediate impact on culture. The #thinktank channel, for example, is a dedicated spot for our team to brainstorm and weigh in on new office initiatives. We’re seeing huge returns through these channels by being transparent on all aspects of the business, including financials, contracts and challenges.”

Corporate culture can, and should, be measured

So much more than company foosball tables and in-house gyms, culture is how people in an organization behave. In today’s data-driven world, we’re seeing high-performing organizations make a point to drive analytics out of the how their people behave. Diving into the data is helping companies make great strides in the development of cultures that promote leadership, innovation and customer experience – elements that are worth communicating and safeguarding as these companies expand.

Thornhill, Ontario-based winner, Club Auto, sees the value of tracking the impact of culture when it comes to engagement and performance.

“We began measuring culture through surveys,” says Sean Grasby, CEO, Club Auto. “Data from these surveys is used to develop action plans for continuous improvement in all departments, with a special focus on culture. We also measure cultural alignment when recognizing performance. We implemented monthly and annual programs that assess behaviours and actions related to the culture we continue to foster.”

Cultural fit is king when finding, and keeping, talent

When I founded Waterstone in 2003, corporate culture wasn’t a big topic in the boardroom. But as time has passed, without a doubt, our most successful placements have been with candidates who have demonstrated the kind of behaviours that defined success versus those who were hired strictly for skill set.

When it comes to hiring for cultural alignment, Toronto-based, two-time winner, Flipp, has it down to a science.

“Culture is at the core of everything we do. Hiring for cultural fit is key to our long-term success,” says David Au-Yeung, Co-Founder and Chief People Officer, Flipp Corporation. “We use a specific interview framework to ensure we are hiring people that are aligned with our key principles. From our team-first mindset to our focus on coaching and approach to innovation, our unique culture is what allows us to drive results and reinvent the retail space.”

Seeing the trend toward measurement and cultural fit we launched two products – a Cultural Assessment tool – as well as the Waterstone Culture Dashboard to help companies navigate the sea of data points, such as behaviour, performance, referrals and engagement, which tell the story behind corporate culture health. Learn more on about these tools here.

About Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures

Released earlier this month, winners of Canada’s Most Admired awards program were recognized for fostering cultures that enhance performance and help sustain a competitive advantage in their respective industries. See the full list of winners here.

Celebrations for the winners, including open portions for corporate leaders, independent entrepreneurs and other participants, will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Toronto. Events include the Corporate Culture Summit, a multi-stream learning event with speakers and breakouts with past award winners, a CEO-only Summit featuring winning CEOs as panelists and a unique opportunity for the most senior executives to network together and, finally, Canada’s Most Admired Awards Gala.

Click here for information including how to purchase tickets for the events.