Talk Shop Secures Win as One of BC’s Top Employers in 2021Category
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Talk Shop is thrilled to announce that we’re the proud recipient of BC’s Top Employers’ award for 2021. In a year when British Columbia’s public health authorities have been widely praised for their response to the pandemic, the province’s leading employers have stepped up with strong and comprehensive responses to keep employees safe and help protect the community.

Employers throughout British Columbia were evaluated by the editors at Canada’s Top 100 Employers using the same criteria as the national competition: (1) Physical 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.

With a focused effort on attracting and retaining top talent at Talk Shop, we’re thrilled to receive this accolade. For insights on the efforts and achievements it took to secure this win, we’re sitting down (virtually!) with Martina Ivsak, VP, Head of Operations, at Talk Shop Canada to learn more about her role in securing this celebrated win for Talk Shop.

Why do you think this award is important to Talk Shop?
Our head office has been located in Vancouver for over 10 years, so we are honoured to be chosen as a Top Employer here where it all started. But beyond that, as an organization, we make sure that working at Talk Shop is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and this award acknowledges that.

What does it mean for current and prospective employees of Talk Shop?

Current employees can feel a sense of pride, not only because they work for a top employer, but, and maybe more importantly because they played a role in making it happen. Many of the initiatives recognized in this award were ideas that came directly from the team.

For Prospective employees, this award and the reasons we won will give them a sense of what it is like to work at Talk Shop.

How does this award impact client relationships?

At Talk Shop we know that we are only as good as the company we keep and we work with amazing, successful clients who in their own right are top employers. Clients want to partner with us not only because we do great work, but also because of the people on our team – this award helps us attract and retain the best talent around.

What are some challenges Talk Shop faced in 2020? How did the team overcome these challenges?

Like many businesses, 2020 was one of the most challenging years we have faced as a business. We made an early decision to offer extended remote work options to the team at the onset of the pandemic before lockdowns were announced in Vancouver and Toronto. Because of our pre-existing Work From Home (WFH) policy, we were well prepared with the necessary provisions to make this transition; however, the team did have to adjust their working styles to allow for a fully remote working environment. We held daily management video calls, shifted annual planning to 90-day action plans and focused on maintaining a sense of team and collaboration across the company, albeit virtually.

We also prioritized culture determining how to best translate the buzz and energy of the office online. We had a few misses (goodbye awkward team-wide coffee meetings) but a lot of fun (hello virtual retreat complete with an online sushi-making class and cocktail competition).

With the increased focus on working from home this year, we also introduced a Home Office/Work From Home (HOWFH) allowance for all team members to help ensure their WFH environments were set-up the way they needed.

What areas of focus will Talk Shop want to focus on next as a Top Employer?

The focus will be on our team, with a continued commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives and education, a plan for what the Future of Work will look like at Talk Shop post-pandemic, starting new committees around Wellness and Sustainability, progressive benefits as physical and mental wellness become increasingly important, and ensuring that we continue to provide an environment for our team that provides an opportunity for them to grow and succeed, alongside our clients, in their professional and personal goals.

What advice do you have for SME’s interested in obtaining the BC Top Award?

Make sure your purpose and values are clear and are brought to life through action, not just words (we reward team members for living our values at our annual “Talkie” Awards)

Remember to prioritize your team and keep them in mind when making any big changes. For us, the key is seeking team feedback and keeping an open conversation around these changes – we’re always listening and striving to take feedback into account.

Look at company initiatives that not only allow for professional growth for the team but take into account personal goals as well. As we see the workforce continue to evolve, I believe this will become even more crucial in attracting and retaining the best talent.