The Secret to Being a Top EmployerCategory
Article feature image

At Talk Shop we have been recognized as a Top Employer for a number of years now and take a lot of pride in that fact and are forever grateful to our amazing and dedicated team of #TalkShoppers who continue to inspire us to be better.

The secret to becoming or maintaining a Top Employer status is…there really isn’t one. But what we can let you in on are the strategies we have implemented over the years that have helped us and might help you too!

Stay true to who you are as a company

In this current job market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with what everyone else is doing, offering and promoting to attract and retain talent. So we don’t. Although we keep our eyes open to interesting ideas and benefits other progressive companies are rolling out, we like to keep our initiatives aligned with the core values that make up our company’s DNA, and use them as a filter for how we show up. This means we are continually evolving in terms of what we offer our team and how we work together, but steer clear of chasing the latest “perk”. You won’t find a foosball table in our offices.

Focus your efforts

It’s good to pick a few key areas to focus on so initiatives can be more meaningful and have greater impact with the team. At Talk Shop, these include commitments to JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion), maintaining a winning culture, and our team’s health and wellness. As with any initative we have implemented or are looking to incorporate across the agency, we align our approach to what has worked, what hasn’t and to the growing needs of the business, team and markets we operate in.

Some of the new initiatives we have rolled out recently have included:

  • A GetIt! bonus for all full-time employees, based on a % of salary paid out when we’ve met our collective company goal

  • All Agency Wellness Days twice a year & Flex Fridays every week (formerly just a summer thing)

  • Additional time off throughout the year to volunteer, observe significant holidays or for action or education related to JEDI initiatives

And some we are looking to include in the future include:

  • A renewed focus on training, professional development and coaching support

  • Evolving our remote working policy to include office swaps and flex hours

  • Rolling out an agency-wide Financial In-Residence program offering team education on, and an opportunity to opt into, additional income streams like investments, funds etc., made available through Talk Shop

  • Establishing our Right to Disconnect policy; although mandated for Ontario companies, we are rolling it out across all our offices

Put your team first

One thing we do know for sure is that we can’t approach how we work and what we offer our team by way of benefits and perks without their input and feedback. That’s one step we don’t overlook and are constantly asking the team what they want, what we could do better, and what we are getting right. We use this information to inform our current and future initiatives to make sure we are keeping up with team needs. We also form sub-committees for specific initiatives so that the ideas and recommendations are being developed and brought forward by the team, and not just coming from the top down. Involving the team to this extent has helped adoption, participation and can lead to more relevant ideas.

Communication is key

We’ve also made it a point to be very transparent with team and communicate with them on a regular basis via Town Halls, Slack, Newsletters and in-person when we can. Whether it’s updates to policies or our JEDI commitments, or what fun things we have planned for team building next month, we want to make sure everyone knows and understands what and why we are doing something and how to get involved. We also implement a number of surveys throughout the year to get a pulse check from the team, which goes back to our previous strategy of putting them first.

Being and maintaining a Top Employer takes commitment and a team effort, and as VP, Head of Operations at Talk Shop it’s one of my top priorities and something that I work closely with the other members of our leadership team and wider team on, almost daily. If you would like to share what your company strategies are for being a great place to work, or if you have cracked the code for a successful combo in-person + virtual event, let’s TALK!