Commuting, convenience, and the new world of hybrid: 'Greater Toronto's Top Employers' for 2023 set the standard for flexible workplace options
TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2022 /CNW/ - In the dynamic economy of Canada's largest metropolis, the region's best employers are responding to what their employees value most: more time to spend on family or life outside work, and less time commuting and in-office meetings. That's the message from this year's Greater Toronto's Top Employers, announced this morning by Mediacorp Canada Inc., organizers of the annual Canada's Top 100 Employers competition.
"It used to be the case that having onsite amenities like a gym or a dry cleaner near the workplace was considered convenient," says Kristina Leung, managing editor of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. "But convenience today means something different. For many employees, it means being able to take care of household chores during a break or having more personal time from not having to commute to work daily."
"Greater Toronto has a tremendously dynamic economic base with a diverse representation of industries," adds Richard Yerema, executive editor of the project. "Across these industries, we see more employers challenging traditional perceptions of what the ideal workplace looks like, from new 'work from anywhere' policies to hybrid work policies that even let employees choose their onsite hours."
Flexibility and self-care have been recurring themes among this year's winners, reflecting a growing recognition by employers that many staff are tired and have been worn down by the pandemic. Progressive employers are adapting their policies to ensure employees are better able to balance work and personal commitments, taking the necessary time to rest and recharge.
"The central question is whether organizations can innovate, create new products and succeed in a dramatically changing economic landscape when employees aren't together in the same physical space," says Anthony Meehan, publisher at Mediacorp. "We don't know the answer to this question yet, but from our editorial vantage point we can see this year's GTA winners responding adroitly to recruitment and retention challenges by increasing the personal time employees have available through more hybrid work options."
Notable initiatives singled out by the editors this year include:
Uken maintains a "work from anywhere" workplace model, with hybrid and 100-per-cent remote work options. Team members receive an annual spending allowance to help with home office expenses and can set their own work hours (within core business periods).
Philips Canada offers several time-off programs that allow employees to rest and recharge, as well as pursue personal goals. Examples include a vacation purchase program (up to five additional days), volunteer days (two paid days off annually), and an inclusion and diversity day (to observe an important cultural or religious event).
Independent Electricity System Operator has put a priority on making mental health services more accessible to employees, providing coverage of up to $4,000 per year for mental health practitioner fees.
Blake, Cassels & Graydon added a new workplace wellness reimbursement policy to provide flexibility in covering wellness-related expenses that aren't typically covered by health insurance plans. Eligible expenses include fitness programs, jogging (or cycling) strollers, fitness tracking tools, health-related apps (e.g. to help with meditation or sleep), and registration fees for sports teams or events.
PepsiCo Canada created a formalized hybrid work program, developing a new framework (called 'Four Cs' – create, collaborate, connect, celebrate) to provide teams with guidance as to when in-office work is preferable.
Now in its 17th year, the Greater Toronto's Top Employers competition is an editorial project that recognizes employers with exceptional human resources programs and forward-thinking workplace policies. Editors at Mediacorp review employers on eight criteria, which have remained consistent since the project's inception: (1) Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. The editors publish detailed 'reasons for selection' for these criteria, providing transparency in the selection of winners and a catalogue of best practices for employers and job-seekers alike. Employers interested in next year's competition may also request an application online.
Founded in 1992, Mediacorp Canada Inc. is the nation's largest publisher of employment periodicals. Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, which includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach millions of Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners, including The Globe and Mail. Mediacorp also operates Eluta.ca, one of Canada's largest job search engines, which reaches over two million job-seekers annually and features exclusive editorial reviews from the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. The company also publishes The Career Directory, now in its 30th year – a free online guide for recent college and university graduates looking for employers hiring candidates from their educational background.
The full list of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2023) was announced this morning in an extended magazine published in The Globe and Mail, in print and online. The complete list of winners, with our editors' detailed reasons for selection, was also released today online.
SOURCE Mediacorp Canada Inc.
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