Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2023) and Montreal's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 17, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2023) and Montreal's Top Employers (2023):
- ABB offers a number of ways for employees to stay connected, including an internal video platform called ABB TV (employees can view, share, and comment on work-related projects), quarterly live-streamed video conference calls with Q&A from the audience, and ABB Voices, an internal blogging platform where employees can share their views and experiences
- ABB increased its maternity and parental leave top-up to provide additional support to new parents and offers family-friendly programs and policies specifically for children of employees, such as academic scholarships (up to $5,000 per year per child) and a summer work experience program
- ABB encourages employees to keep their physical health top of mind with free access to an onsite fitness facility, physical assessments and related services at subsidized costs (nutritionist and dietitian services, private and semi-private training sessions, and onsite massage), and participation in an annual global health challenge
ABB Canada aims for more equity and inclusion
When Ali Dika’s wife gave birth to twins this summer, the first-time dad took seven weeks to be home with her and their newborns – part of a new gender-neutral parental leave program at global technology leader ABB Canada.
Dika, the Montréal-based company’s product marketing director for the Smart Buildings division, says taking a few days off at the beginning and then returning to work wouldn’t have been the same experience.
“When I’m working, I’m focused on emails, meetings and solving problems,” says Dika. “If I was working during the day, I wouldn’t be able to spend the right time and energy with the family. Taking parental leave for this period of time allowed me to connect with my newborn twins and offer my wife support.”
Dika credits both his direct manager and the human resources director for encouraging him to take advantage of the benefit, which is open to all employees regardless of gender or position in the company.
“It's all about spending time to create a bond with the babies at this young age and building memories with the family,” says Dika. “You cannot buy it.”
Dika says having support from human resources and ABB to spend this time with family without negative consequences to his career was extremely important to him, as it is for all new parents. It also made him realize the importance of this kind of personal time for colleagues as well.
“Now that I’m back, I feel even more committed to the organization,” says Dika. “I want to give even more to my work so I can be successful and provide a beautiful life for my babies. My day has a purpose.”
Katie Bessette, country human resources manager, says the global parental leave program forms part of ABB’s Global Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategy 2030, launched in 2020. It clearly defines the company’s efforts to ensure inclusion and equal treatment of all, regardless of gender, ability, age, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This new program awards each parent an opportunity to spend more time with their newborns and lends itself to creating a balance between career and family responsibilities.
“The previous program was focused on who gave birth versus who are the supporting parents,” says Bessette. “Our new gender-neutral program, rather than being based on gender, is more focused on the primary and secondary caregivers. This allows us to accommodate a couple who are the same sex or a couple who has adopted.”
Bessette explains that gender equality is one of the key goals of the Global D&I Strategy, through which the company plans to attract the best team of talent in its industry and to ensure the same development and career opportunities for everyone. Over the last year, the company has taken a wide range of steps to foster a fair and inclusive work environment, including doubling the proportion of women in senior management positions worldwide by 2030.
“ABB not only puts programs in place, but deploys financial and human resources to make them happen,” says Bessette. “In addition to the many local initiatives, the global group has a specific agenda and timetable for moving the company forward and achieving its D&I goals.”
“Every meeting I attend is tinged with diversity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still much work to be done, but we have the tools and the support of senior management.”
ABB Canada drives social progress in the workplace
When a young woman reached out to Rose-Anne Gabriel, who oversees university relations at ABB Canada, and asked for a virtual coffee chat, Gabriel immediately said yes. The woman had seen a posting for the company’s Discovery Program but was worried she did not meet all requirements.
The program is designed for recent engineering graduates who then get to do three different rotations within an 18-month period at the Montréal-based technology leader.
“I could see she had drive and potential, so I encouraged her to apply,” says Gabriel.
“That young woman ultimately secured the position and is now graduating from the program. Her story is near and dear to my heart because one of the things I love about my job is seeing the potential of people and helping them reach their goals.”
ABB Canada offers numerous educational initiatives through its school programs and multiple partnerships with universities, colleges and cégeps, helping students bridge the gap between theory and practice, and exposing students to career possibilities in electrification and automation. ABB also welcomes 100-plus interns each year and provides further opportunities through the ABB Global Trainee Program and its early talent program.
In addition to hosting several STEM activities, the company also donates to select schools with equipment, technology and training classes. For example, through the ABB Robotics Centre at Sheridan College near Toronto, students can gain hands-on experience and learn about its cutting-edge technologies on more than 15 ABB robots.
“When we present ABB, we do so in a fun, interactive way,” says Gabriel. “We want the next generation of leaders to have a hands-on learning experience with our technologies, solutions and portfolio of products to really spark an interest in wanting to join our Canadian organization.”
While ABB maintains an extensive educational outreach, there’s much more to the company’s community giving. Over the last five years alone, ABB Canada and its employees have donated well over $4.5 million to charitable causes.
In 2020, ABB revamped its philanthropic policy with “a new way of giving,” marking a new era of corporate philanthropy by making giving an everyday action. Instead of having a campaign for a few weeks in November, the new model enables employees to support their local communities and charities when they want and in the way they want all year long.
Julie St-Pierre, human resources business partner, says the new campaign is more connected to the company’s core values – courage, care, curiosity and collaboration – as well as more focused on key areas of concern. By utilizing an intuitive, easy-to-use digital platform that aligns employees' community impact goals with ABB's objectives, the company can also offer employees much more community choice.
“We want to collaborate with the employee, so it’s not only the business but the employee who’s involved in the donation,” says St-Pierre. “Every time I donate, ABB matches my donation, which is really powerful for an employee who can have much more impact for a cause they care about.”
St-Pierre says the generosity of employees is remarkable year-over-year.
“We often do ad hoc campaigns to support fundraising efforts when there’s a crisis or natural disaster in Canada, such as Hurricane Fiona or the fires in British Columbia,” says St-Pierre. “We ask our people to give and ABB matches the amount. I’m proud of how our employees respond. It’s in our DNA to support the community.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 19, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2022):
- ABB sponsors small and big environmental initiatives, from installing two bee apiaries with over 13,500 honeybees at the Montréal campus location to extensive in-house waste reduction and recycling programs, to being a founding signatory of the UN Global Compact
- ABB encourages employees to think about their commutes, with preferred parking for carpoolers and those driving hybrid vehicles along with secure bicycle parking for two-wheeled commuters
Responsible practices drive progress at ABB Canada
Why would a leading global technology company like ABB Canada have beehives and an urban farm at its head office in Montréal?
“Why not?” says Jennifer Dumoulin, environment, health, and safety specialist for ABB Canada’s electrification business. “We have green spaces at our Montréal campus, which is a LEED construction, and we are constantly encouraging these kinds of initiatives in all our Canadian offices. Even small initiatives like beehives help biodiversity in the area because the bees pollinate trees and flowers.”
Local businesses take care of tending the beehives and farm, but employees collaborate over which varieties of vegetables and herbs to plant and they enjoy the honey from the hives.
“Typically, the produce is used for meals prepared at our onsite cafeteria, but while it’s closed due to COVID-19, we offer the products to employees to enjoy at home,” says Dumoulin. “It’s another way we continue our efforts to make things greener and more sustainable. The beekeepers and farmers offer workshops on topics such as planting or making beeswax candles so there’s also a great social engagement component for our employees.”
While the pandemic and varying restrictions created new challenges, Dumoulin says they’ve been successful at adapting and keeping everyone aware of health and safety measures. Concerned about the waste aspect of disposable masks, Dumoulin recently optimized wasted management for PPE at ABB’s operations across Canada.
“Going forward, we’ll keep these optimized waste management practices onsite after the pandemic. We have that reflex of always thinking about sustainability and environmental aspects and making sure we engage the right people in those discussions, including supply chain, health and safety, environmental and communications.”
Dumoulin is also committed to identifying projects key to fulfilling the company’s 2030 sustainability strategy and goals, including zero waste to landfill and carbon neutrality by 2030.
“As somebody who is naturally engaged on the sustainability front, it touches my core values as a human being,” says Dumoulin. “I’m happy my position allows me to be heavily involved in those types of projects.”
Said Elaissi, director, national health, safety & environment, says people are very concerned about the environment, especially the new generation who are looking to make an impact. Accordingly, they want to work for a company that aligns with their values and is also making a difference.
“As a technology leader, ABB focuses on areas where we can make the biggest impact – reducing carbon emissions, preserving resources and promoting social progress,” says Elaissi. “We serve businesses that have a huge challenge in terms of climate change and carbon footprint.
“People understand we’re making a large contribution in the electrification of transport and in different industries, including mining, building and infrastructure.
They can see the purpose of ABB and want to contribute directly with their own touch. We have never been collectively in a need for more creativity and innovation as we have before to deal with the challenges facing our planet.”
Health and safety is another top priority, based on ABB’s culture of health, safety, environment and sustainability and a “by choice, not by chance” approach.
“We have a robust management system with a plan for risk assessment, risk management and implementation of control measures,” says Elaissi. “At the same time, we’ve created an environment with an interdependent culture of safety and sustainability, where management and employees collaborate together.
“It’s not a top-down approach. Employees have a bigger impact when they feel that their voice is heard.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 23, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
- 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
- ABB's suite of early talent training programs also incudes Excelle, a training module reserved for female early-career employees interested in developing their professional profile and skill set -- the program aims to cultivate a culture of growth and promote gender diversity in the workforce, and includes a formal mentoring program
ABB Canada scores big with early talent programs
When Lillian Chiu heard global technology leader ABB Canada was offering its Discovery program for engineering graduates, she knew that was exactly what she wanted. The 24-year-old had previously completed three internships with the Montréalbased company while studying electrical engineering at McGill University, so it already felt aligned with the company’s values around sustainability and using technology to do good in the world.
“It’s the perfect way to kickstart a career because the program offers you the possibility of exploring different functions and departments within the company,” says Chiu. “They want you to see what you like and dislike so you can find your place and define what you want before further committing yourself. I feel privileged to be in the program.”
ABB offers internships as well as two programs specifically for young talent. The global early talent programs include rotations, mentorships or soft skills training within its finance or information systems functions. ABB Discovery is its business-driven rotational program of 18-24 months, divided into three or four rotations. Participants can explore different teams and roles in sales, management, operations, lean manufacturing, supply chain and more.
“It’s like a red carpet they roll out in front of you, where they present you with all these opportunities,” says Chiu. “You get to try out a variety of roles, meet different managers and have mentorships with different people. I feel valued at the company, even though I’m just an entry-level engineer.”
Chiu is currently working for the railway segment at ABB, which is exactly what she wanted for her first rotation, and will move on to her choice of digital for her second. It’s only been six months, but she feels it’s a good fit with the best yet to come.
“Like all my generation, I want to bring change to the world – and ABB does that,” says Chiu. “If you look at the technology we’re developing, it’s innovative and cutting edge. I feel like I can do meaningful work here that gives me purpose. I can have a role in changing the world.”
Guillaume Girard, manager, production engineering, process automation measurement & analytics, says what young people coming in want is to work on real projects. What they don’t want is anything clerical or repetitive.
“They want something physical they can touch or tangible where they can see the data and get good results,” says Girard. “People like working for a purpose, where they feel they can have a real impact. I think that’s what makes people want to continue with us.”
When interviewing to hire interns, Girard says attitude comes first.
“I focus a lot on whether the person has a great attitude towards working in teams and being open to other people’s ideas,” says Girard. “Okay, so that’s your diploma, but what are your successes, how did you do it and what do you want to achieve during the program? Sometimes it’s just a good fit between the skill set and the needs of the team, but more often it’s that this person has a good team spirit that will work well with the project.”
After internships, Girard says the early talent and ABB Discovery programs are powerful in helping young people grow and develop.
“These programs are more based on mentorship and that mentorship will help them develop both soft and hard skills, and to be able to evaluate themselves in terms of competencies and requirements,” says Girard.
“If you have really talented people, they can bloom in the ABB environment. It’s a unique program for the next generation of leaders.”