It’s important to be recognized for the work we do for our clients, and 2019 looks to be our winningest year ever. But the most important accolades we receive are the ones for creating a workplace culture that attracts the best talent and inspires all that great work.

That’s why I am so proud to share that, for the second year running, Weber Shandwick Canada has been certified as a Great Place to Work®. The certification is awarded after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Institute Canada based on direct feedback from employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about the workplace experience.

The certification is special because it recognizes the very heart of our culture.

A great culture doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It takes investment. And it takes the input and involvement of people across the agency.

Three pillars to a successful culture

Our workplace quality is based on the pillars of our culture strategy: Celebrate, Togetherness and Wellness. We ensure that everything we do delivers against these pillars.

It’s vital we take time to Celebrate. We work in a fast-paced environment where results matter and work is highly sophisticated. The expectations of our team, our clients, and our partners are incredibly high. When we help our clients be successful or add value to their business, we need to take the time to applaud the people behind the work. This rewards initiative and ingenuity while inspiring others to follow this lead. And there’s nothing better than celebrating great outcomes with our clients.

We also celebrate milestones in our employees’ lives like weddings and new babies. Our team provides a card and gift for our employees’ birthdays. We celebrate Weberversaries to recognize time spent with the firm.

Togetherness is the second pillar to our culture program. Every Thursday afternoon we have Jeudredi, where employees come to our common area to mix and mingle with colleagues. We recently held a Friendsgiving potluck dinner with delicious dishes prepared by team members. I personally host movie nights, and we bring all three offices together for joint summer gatherings, flying our team in to Toronto from across the country.

My favourite Togetherness program at Weber Shandwick Canada is Fasting with Friends, where during Ramadan employees fasted for one day in support of our Muslim colleagues. Non-perishable food was collected the week before, and just before they broke fast, the team donated it to the local food bank. This program was conceived by our employees; all we did was make it bigger.

Weber’s Wellness program provides ways to improve physical and mental health far beyond our subsidized gym memberships and assistance programs. Each week we get a delivery of nutritionist-selected foods and snacks to stock in our pantry and refrigerator. We hold regular wellness events, such as a mindfulness session hosted by an expert. And we encourage employees to come forward with new ways for us to help improve wellness of mind, body and soul among the team.

Developing people also builds culture

The final area that makes our workplace great is people development. Not only do development initiatives make our employees better practitioners; they engage and recognize our people with unique experiences and opportunities.

Take the Nicola Moore Courageous Creativity Prize. Each year we give one employee who demonstrated “courageous creativity in tackling a client challenge” $2,500 and five additional vacation days to pursue their growth. The objective is to provide a junior level employee with a career and life accelerating experience early in their careers. This peer-nominated program was created in memory of an employee who started her career at the agency and became a respected leader in our profession before she left us and our industry far too soon. The 2019 award winner got the chance to pursue his passion for gaming with a visit to E3.

And then there’s No Boundaries, where each year two employees get a $1,000 bursary and five additional vacation days to pursue a personal passion that contributes to personal or professional growth. Our 2019 winners have selected Japan and New Zealand as destinations, while last year’s winner spent time as a counsellor at Camp Ooch, a non-profit camp that brings joy to kids and families affected by childhood cancer.

Along with regular opportunities to attend conferences and hosting guest speakers through the Weber Shandwick Academy, I can’t think of another workplace that does a better job engaging employees through personal and professional growth.

Culture doesn’t just come from the top

When it comes to culture, it’s up to the office leadership to set the table. Leaders should provide resources, open up schedules, and show their support. But it’s the employees who will cook the meal for everyone to enjoy. At the end of day, the entire team needs to work together to build the culture and workplace they deserve.

I’d like to congratulate my fellow Weber Shandwick employees for this award. I’d like to applaud their commitment to culture. And I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to our clients for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to work with you.

What do you feel makes a workplace great?

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