Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 12, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Montreal's Top Employers (2021):
- New employees start with three weeks of paid vacation and ABB considers previous work experience when setting starting vacation entitlement for experienced candidates -- employees also receive up to five paid personal days off each year
- ABB encourages employees to adopt healthy lifestyles through a dedicated program called "Energi+" that offers employees a variety of resources focused on the overall wellness of the "heart, mind and body" -- through this program, the company has hosted wellness clinics, cardiovascular check-ups as well as health assessments, nutritionist and dietitian services through the onsite fitness services
- ABB helps employees save for the longer term with a defined contribution pension plan and provides a variety of great financial perks on top of competitive compensation, including new employee referral bonuses, profit-sharing, and a share purchase plan
ABB empowers employees to design for the future
How cool is your job if it involves championship racing, world travel and the newest e-mobility technologies? For Stephanie Medeiros, who grew up loving Formula One car racing in Montréal, her job as a global e-mobility professional and global account executive with ABB Inc. is a consummate match.
Medeiros joined Montréal-based ABB, a pioneering technology company that works with industry, utilities, transportation and infrastructure, fresh after graduating in electrical engineering from McGill University, starting out as an entry-level project engineer. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, ABB has given Medeiros varied career opportunities.
“I’m the kind of person who loves change,” says Medeiros. “Throughout my 11 years with the company, I’ve had many roles in different divisions and different teams – from technical engineering sales to management to leadership. I’m fueled by innovation and new opportunities, so being at ABB motivates me and keeps me excited for all the different roles I’m doing.”
Medeiros loves being part of finding solutions for future transport through Formula E racing, where all the cars are electric. Formula E is essentially a motorsport race that happens all around the world, she explains, but it’s also a good testing ground because the newest mobility technologies are tested right on the track before being brought to mass-market vehicles.
“There are so many cool projects that ABB is working on in terms of technology and innovation, such as e-mobility, robotics or automation projects,” says Medeiros. “I feel like my actions have a direct impact on making the world a better place. And I’m having fun doing it.”
From the beginning, Medeiros says, she felt she had full ownership of her projects and full support for each of the many moves she’s made within the company.
“I’ve always felt empowered about my own destiny at ABB,” says Medeiros. “Wherever I was in my career path and whenever I wanted to grow or gain specific skills, as soon as I voiced my views, the company had my back and provided me with training and opportunities.”
That support included personal development programs in management and leadership, as well as a functional competency assessment – a program that compares an employee’s skill set to what’s needed for a position. ABB also paid for Medeiros to earn a marketing diploma at McGill, which she says really helped her get to the next step.
Sylvie Bergeron, vice-president, human resources for Canada, says externally, ABB has several partnerships with post-secondary institutions, such as one with Sheridan College near Toronto, where students can gain hands-on experience with the newest robots on the market in a leading-edge lab. Internally, the company offers multiple training opportunities through My Learning, an ABB University e-learning platform.
“We believe in a culture of individual growth, where we empower employees and enable them to achieve their highest potential,” says Bergeron. “Whether it be technical competencies or soft skills training, employees have access to all the tools and resources they need to excel.”
Bergeron says ABB’s goal is to be on the leading edge of companies that shape Canada’s future. To that end, the company lives by its fundamental values of courage, care, curiosity and collaboration.
“Sometimes people talk about their values and they’re just words on the wall,” says Bergeron. “But here, they’re the cornerstone of our culture.
“One thing I’ve never seen before is the rate our employees come back after trying other companies. That’s a beautiful sign that they know they’re valued, that the work they do has a lasting impact.
“From building analyzers that measure atmospheric pressure in space, to improving safety in factories, to developing new technologies to combat pollution, ABB touches the lives of Canadians everywhere.”
ABB’s first priority is caring for its people
When Moneeb Durrani needed a prescription filled last March, he ran into a roadblock. His pharmacist said it had expired, leaving him stuck. Fortunately, his employer, ABB Inc., had added a 24/7 telemedicine service to cover emergencies like this during the pandemic.
“Within two hours, I connected with a doctor online to renew my prescription,” says Durrani, a technical sales specialist for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at the global technology company. “I was grateful I didn’t have to go to a clinic. That was huge added value.”
Durrani says ABB has gone above and beyond to keep its people healthy, physically and mentally. He took a lesson in ergonomics training before setting up his home office and bought a desk with the one-time lump sum he received from ABB. He no longer works out in the company’s on-site gym but can stay fit and alleviate stress through virtual classes or yoga videos on ABB TV. Plus, he connects virtually with his team on recurring lunchtime walks.
Given his one-hour commute to work, Durrani really appreciates that ABB recently announced a new flexible work policy allowing employees to work remotely on some days. As an essential service, ABB offices have remained open on a limited basis and are safe and secure.
“I’d like a hybrid approach,” says Durrani. “Flexibility and wellness are connected because it can give you a better life balance. Wellness is a little bit personal, but your employer also needs to give you the tools to be able to do it.”
Sophie Langley, human resources business partner, says flexible work arrangements are the new way of working and what employees want.
“Like many companies, ABB recognizes the need for well-being in the workplace,” says Langley. “So, it was our role in HR to provide training and support to our managers during the pandemic, and quickly put a flexible work arrangement policy in place. After the pandemic, employees can discuss with their managers how they choose to return to work.”
The company recently conducted a global employee engagement survey, which resulted in an engagement rate of 78, a five-point increase over the previous year. “This shows that our efforts have been appreciated and have had a positive impact on our employees,” says Langley.
“We’re a pioneering company – it’s in our roots,” she says. “Our leaders showed courage in making those decisions and introducing these new policies. I think it will attract more talent and propel the company forward.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
By Kristina Leung, Stephanie Leung, and Jing Wang, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 18, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
- ABB offers a wide range of internship opportunities in a multinational environment, providing students with on-the-job training in the latest power and automation technologies, mentorship from experienced supervisors and specialists, joint site visits and the unique opportunity to learn from the customer's point of view
- ABB manages a rotational early career program for recent electrical engineering graduates, with three eight-month rotations -- the program includes foundational elements such as peer mentoring, on-the-job training, one-on-one career and leadership coaching and a variety of professional development opportunities with a focus on learning and personal development, networking, and executive interaction
- ABB maintains a global trainee program to support the development of the next generation of leaders -- the program is 18 to 24 months in length and includes three to four challenging assignments in different countries -- more than 250 global trainees have completed the program in the past five years with program graduates now leading the business in many areas of the world
ABB wants people who are looking to make an impact
It began when ABB Canada invited Rida Mehdi to a Hackathon on artificial intelligence back in April 2019. ABB, a pioneering technology company based in Montréal, was hosting the weekend event, designed to be a real-world, interactive and educational experience for students and graduates.
Mehdi, armed with her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and computer science from the University of Windsor and a master of management in analytics from McGill, was an ideal candidate. By July, Mehdi had landed an internship as a data analyst.
“As students, we got to work with ABB management and converse with leadership, which you don’t often get a chance to do in any other scenario,” says Mehdi. “You can also see what business challenges they’re working on and connect with individuals with similar interests.”
Mehdi quickly rose from her internship current job as a sales performance business partner. She credits supportive and empowering managers for creating the kind of environment where she felt comfortable taking charge of her own career path.
“Each manager advocated for my growth, including me in meetings that piqued my interest or inviting me to lunch with others who shared my passion for analytics,” says Mehdi. “That helped me engage in interesting conversations with a lot of different people within the organization and progress in my career.”
What makes ABB such a good fit for Mehdi? She attributes it to three things: First, being able to take the lead on where she wants to go within the company; second, all the learning opportunities, including how people are always willing to share their wealth of knowledge; and third, the company’s strong global diversity and inclusion practices.
“A lot of people, despite their differences in education, culture, age, gender, have a seat at every table and share and collaborate on ideas that help us grow the business at ABB,” says Mehdi. “I’m young, but I wasn’t just limited to being an intern. I’m able to grow and drive my own career.”
Eric Deschenes, country managing director and head of the electrification business, believes what attracts young people to ABB is its purpose as a technology leader – to create superior value and use technology to achieve a more productive and sustainable future. Then, it’s how the company lives its corporate values on a daily basis: curiosity; care from the top down, for each other and the community; collaboration; and the courage to change things.
“Every young talent wants to have an impact, and one of the required character traits you need is to be curious,” says Deschenes. “If you’re not curious, you don't find a root cause. Then you don’t find the problem you need to solve to serve customers or for the good of the planet.”
“My role is to get someone who will be motivated, who says, you know what, I’m going to have the opportunity to make a positive impact, to be changing the planet,” he explains. “Today, knowledge isn’t the issue, it’s the interpersonal skills. You may have the greatest idea, but it’s how you take and engage others in the journey that will take you further.”
Diversity, inclusion and gender are equally important elements for ABB in hiring.
“I’m pushing our recruitment team to ensure we have a diverse and equitable hiring process,” he says. “We’re committed to being more than just a corporate citizen. We’re committed to working with people that are really empowered to make a change. Ultimately, that’s my personal motto.”