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2023 Impact Award winners: Supporting employees

See the companies recognized for supporting staff in the areas of health, safety and wellness

For its third year, the Canadian Grocer  Impact Awards celebrates Canadian grocery retail and CPG businesses that are going above and beyond to make the world a better place

We recognized 40 winners making a positive impact in the areas of sustainability; supporting employees; diversity, equity & inclusion; and community service

Three companies won in the category of supporting employees. Here’s why:

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lactalis canada team
Lactalis Canada launched educational plant and farm visits to enhance its team members’ understanding of the supply chain, dairy processing and farming

Lactalis Canada

Lactalis Canada aims to be an employer of choice by introducing several initiatives and enhancements to its Total Rewards and Development programs. For example, the company’s wellness, pension, vacation, compensation, training, continuous professional development and flexible work arrangement programs and policies have all been improved.

Lactalis increased its investment in training by 31%, and its contribution to the salaried defined pension plan by 50%. Through its launch of educational plant and farm visits, Lactalis is also giving employees farm-to-fork insights into the workings of its supply chain, dairy processing and farming. Lactalis also launched NEXT Ventures, an annual program that empowers employees and leverages internal crowdsourcing to explore ideas and bring to market new products, processes, technologies and business models. 

The initiatives are already bearing results, with Lactalis Canada having been named to Forbes 2022 list of Canada’s Best Employers. 

“At Lactalis Canada, we’re inspired to build a modern collective where we foster a culture of belonging, listening, garnering feedback and sourcing ideas from across the organization and are committed to evolving and enhancing our Total Rewards and Development programs to ensure we are an employer of choice,” says Mark Taylor, the company’s president and CEO.

nestle canada flexwork
Nestlé Canada is empowering its employees with its FlexWork program

Nestlé Canada

In response to employees’ evolving needs, Nestlé Canada reimagined its work environment in 2022 through its FlexWork program. The program empowers people to have flexibility in how and where work gets done. The program includes a flexible work option that combines working at the office two days per week (minimum) with the flexibility to work remotely. When in the office, Nestlé believes employees’ time should be purposeful and meaningful, so the office remains a hub for collaboration, networking and culture. 

To support this, Nestlé created “Connect Tuesday,” with opportunities for in-person learning and networking. Some of the activities launched this year include brand sampling days, Lunar New Year and Eid al-Fitr celebrations, nutrition talks with Nestlé’s consumer wellness team, learning and development workshops, panel discussions and more. Another aspect of the FlexWork program allows eligible employees to accrue time off through extra hours worked. In a survey, 97% of those who took advantage of this option found value in it. 

“For us at Nestlé Canada, our employees come first and our effort to create a work environment that supports their needs is our top priority,” says Karine Laverdière, senior vice-president of human resources. “We strive to empower our employees to have flexibility in how and where work gets done, which has resulted in our office becoming a destination for learning, networking and collaboration – bringing our culture to life.”

Vince’s Market’s Years of Service Recognition Program
Vince’s Market’s Years of Service Recognition Program rewards team members for service and commitment

Vince’s Market

Like most grocers in a tight labour market, Vince’s Market has found it challenging to fill supervisor and clerk positions in recent years. The Ontario-based independent grocer decided its recruiting and retention programs required a significant review and re-commitment to its people. 

On the retention front, the company developed the annual Vince’s Market Years of Service Recognition Program, which ensures that recognizing tenured team members is the norm in the business – and not the exception. In developing the program, Vince’s management team created tiers it felt properly recognized tenure. They also came up with a selection of rewards they thought staff would find relevant.

At the company’s annual team holiday party in 2022, Vince’s Market introduced the program to its 300 team members. Each one received a commemorative certificate or plaque and a reward they selected from the tier of service they most recently completed. Though it’s too early to measure the program’s success to date, Vince’s Market says the response has been phenomenal and reinforces how Vince’s appreciates its team members and rewards them for service and commitment. 

“Finding new ways to recognize and reward our team members has been front and centre over the past several years,” says Giancarlo Trimarchi, president, Vince’s Market. “While employee recognition programs are not new, with our program we have tailored it to regularly impact our team members with rewards that are valuable to them.”

Canadian Grocer’s Impact Awards will be returning in 2024. Look out for our call for nominations in the New Year. 

Winners of the 2023 Impact Awards were first featured in Canadian Grocer’s August issue. 

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