Local firms among best workplaces

If you’re employed by Scott Builders Inc. or Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, you might consider yourself fortunate.

If you’re employed by Scott Builders Inc. or Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, you might consider yourself fortunate.

Scott Builders, which is headquartered in Red Deer, and Lacombe-based AFSC, have been named to a list of the 100 best workplaces in Canada. It was compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute Canada and appears in a special section of Tuesday’s The Globe and Mail.

The workplaces recognized were honoured at a banquet in Toronto Monday evening.

“We’re delighted,” said Scott Builders CEO Ralph Ward from Toronto on Tuesday.

Donna Bryden, AFSC’s vice-president of human resources and community relations, also expressed satisfaction shortly after returning to Red Deer from the Toronto ceremony on Tuesday. Although AFSC has been included on other provincial and national lists of desirable workplaces in the past, Bryden said the Great Place to Work Institute Canada ranking is special.

“This one means so much more, because the vast majority of the result for the selection process is based on employee feedback.”

Specifically, employees in the workplaces nominated underwent a confidential survey to assess their level of satisfaction.

Ward agreed that the importance of employee input in the selection process makes the rankings particularly significant.

In addition to the employee surveys, Great Place to Work Institute Canada conducted a “culture audit.” The criteria it used included credibility — which covered such factors as openness of communications and consistency in carrying out the organization’s vision — as well as respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.

Scott Builders was 58th on a list of 86 workplaces with fewer than 1,000 employees, while AFSC ranked 78th. The remaining 14 spots consisted of workplaces with more than 1,000 employees.

Google Canada topped the list of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, while Microsoft Canada led the way among larger companies.

In The Globe and Mail section, Scott Builders’ “family first philosophy” was highlighted. In the case of AFSC, a scholarship program for employees’ children and grandchildren was noted.

Ward said a positive development at Scott Builders has been its implementation of an equity program through which employees obtain ownership units in the business.

At AFSC, said Bryden, the organization has benefited from such measures as clearly defined expectations, ongoing performance feedback, good lines of communication, employee recognition, training and development opportunities, and promoting a respectful workplace.

She added that a good workplace makes it easier to retain good staff and attract new ones — which should prove increasingly important as Alberta’s labour market tightens.

More than 230 organizations participated in the Great Place to Work Institute Canada’s 2011 competition.

hrichards@reddeeradvocate.com

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