Opportunities NB (ONB) is thrilled to be recognized as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers for 2017. The designation, which recognizes employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work, was awarded by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers using a variety of criteria.

What makes for an exceptional workplace? Good benefits, vacation time, flexible hours? All of those things matter of course, but what really sets great employers apart from the pack?

Culture is central to everything we do at ONB, so we asked two members of our Executive Management Team for their thoughts on creating a corporate culture that will have great people lining up to work for you.

Stephen Lund – Chief Executive Officer

Stephen Lund ONB New Brunswick There is a famous quote attributed to Peter Drucker that says “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I have always strongly believed that even before reading Drucker. At ONB, we feel that our strength lies in a culture driven by a team of highly motivated and passionate professionals.

With the creation of ONB, my first priority was the hiring of a Chief Culture Officer. I knew that for any organization—particularly a new one like ours that combined separate entities into one—a well-defined culture was essential. I wanted to build a culture of success, collaboration, teamwork, and positivity. I believe this recognition as one of Atlantic Canada’s best places to work validates our efforts.

We set the tone with our interview process. A strong resume is important of course, but we also ask prospects what they do in their spare time; do they volunteer or coach little league? How involved are they in their community? We take our time in order to ensure we hire the right people. As a result, our team is excited by and passionate about the important work we are doing.

We also recognize our team for the work they do, annually, quarterly, weekly, even daily. We not only recognize their current work, we consider their future potential by launching initiatives like our Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Creating an organization that manages to achieve business success without sacrificing employee satisfaction is important to me. This recent recognition means a lot to our entire leadership team. We all spend so much of our time at work; we want to make sure we foster a corporate culture that drives success but that also helps people enjoy that time.

Heather Libbey – Chief Culture Officer & Vice-President Marketing

Corporate Culture Stephen interviews every single person that ends up making it to the end of our interview process. This is a huge priority for him; culture fit matters.

On a day-to-day basis, the things that help shape our winning corporate culture are:

Development – In this province, we talk a lot about creating opportunities for young people. We walk the walk in this regard, actively bringing in students for internships and co-op work. This has the added bonus of giving your more senior staffers a chance to mentor, developing their skill sets in the process. You’re providing your team real management opportunities.

On top of that we have created positions—our Business Development Associates—to provide employment opportunities for less seasoned professionals. This helps with succession planning since we are able to bring in junior people and properly develop them.

Onboarding – Those first few days at a new job matter with regards to engagement and productivity. We send you a greeting email telling you when exactly to be here and where to park and have someone dedicated to greeting you at the door on day one. You also receive a gift, a card from Stephen, and a personal tour around the office. We even take you out to lunch on your first day. New hires are also assigned a mentor, someone from their immediate team who is there to help them with anything in those early days and beyond. This all sets the tone and is so important in terms of immediately letting people know they’re a vital part of your team.

Empowering employees We have multiple culture teams that directly reflect the values of our employees. From Giving Back to the Green Team to Health & Wellness, employees are setting the agenda for what matters to them at work. This actively helps your team influence policy and practice around the office. Help your staff effect real change in your organization and you will have a productive workforce that loves where they work. So much of what we do is driven by employees; it’s a bottom-up model that gives our team a lot of say. That’s how you create a winning culture.

Learn more about career opportunities with ONB here.

Written by Jason Boies