Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2023) and Montreal's Top Employers (2022):
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 (2022):
- 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 creates a culture of engagement
As the marketing specialist for the motion business at ABB Canada, Elan Ercolanese provides communication support for teams across Canada. So he was key in brainstorming ideas over the past year to keep employees engaged at the pioneering technology company. The challenge was in making communications fresh for everyone.
“We always need to maintain the rhythm and make sure business keeps on moving despite everything else grinding to a halt,” says Ercolanese. “So one of the first things we did was settle on a monthly town hall where we could talk with employees about health and safety, as well as share business-related results.
“To keep it light and fun, at the beginning of every meeting we let everyone have their microphones on and joke around. That turned it from a typical business presentation into a real social break. We had a fantastic response.”
As the engagement group collaborated further, they decided on trying a more personal approach for employees to get to know each other better while working apart. So Ercolanese started an internal video interview series with employees called “Under the Casing,” a play on words related to the casing or outside shell wrapped around the internal parts of motors and drives, related to the company’s products. Even though most Canadian employees in the office towers have been working remotely, ABB's offices have stayed open over the past year with stringent health and safety measures in place.
“I wanted to get to know our employees who don’t usually get to have the spotlight – both professionally about their job as well as about them personally,” says Ercolanese. “What are their hobbies? What’s going on in their life that people may not know about? It’s been a major success and people tune in every month to see the fantastic things our employees do.”
One featured employee is a triathlete who has participated in Ironman events all over the world while another is a comic book artist on the side. The series is an initiative that Ercolanese wants to continue post-pandemic, including with their international team.
“When I spoke to the triathlete, he had such a positive, healthy outlook on physical and mental well-being that it inspired me to start running,” says Ercolanese. “It’s been an inspiration to work with such amazing people.”
Sophie Langley, human resources business partner, motion business robotics and discrete automation, says keeping good communication channels open during this time has been critical, whether it’s a manager having casual chats with employees on a Friday afternoon or welcoming a new employee in person to make it a special day. Even though most Canadian employees in the office towers have been working remotely, ABB’s offices have stayed open over the past year with safety measures in place.
“There are many resources supporting employees through the pandemic from the family assistance program’s mental health web portal to virtual yoga sessions, but the most important one that keeps us connected is the feeling that our employer is focused on our personal well-being,” says Langley. “It’s not only that we have access to support services, but there’s a connection to our leaders on the personal side.
“If I’m not feeling well, I can call my manager and know that I will be supported. It’s our culture of caring that keeps us more engaged.”
That culture of caring extends into the community. More than 30 ABB Canada employees participated in vaccination hubs in Montréal in a cross-Canada collaboration between the government and the private sector to accelerate nationwide vaccination.
“I’m very proud of ABB Canada’s participation,” says Langley. “Over a five-month period, ABB volunteers took part in various administrative tasks from greeting and registering visitors, to data entry. On busy days, up to 800 doses were administered.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 17, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why ABB Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2022):
- 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 personnel, joint site visits and an 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
ABB Canada empowers its young talent to drive change
Driving into school in Montréal, Fatima Malik would regularly pass the ABB Canada campus – just off the Trans-Canada in the Technoparc Montréal – and wonder what they did. When she saw a job listing, she looked into it and realized how much the pioneering technology company aligned with her own values.
She joined as a corporate communications intern in 2019, while finishing her degree in international business and finance at Concordia University.
“You don’t need to be an engineer and understand our technology to know that we’re driving change or that we use our technology to improve the world and make it a better place,” says Malik. “The heart of what we do is our sustainability.”
Despite her recent graduation, Malik was encouraged by her own manager to try for a global position as a communications program manager in ABB’s electrification business – and got the job.
“My personal growth has gone at the speed of light,” says Malik. “It was a brand-new role, so that enabled me to build a vision of what I thought this role could be and pitch that. At ABB, we look at the person, what you’re capable of and how much you’re willing to learn and grow.”
What Malik appreciates most is the opportunity to try different ways of doing things to see what works or change things that didn’t. When she needs help, the resources are there with input from experienced people.
“You’re not just given the opportunity to do what you do well, but to thrive in the environment you’re in,” says Malik. “If you think there’s a new product, new project or idea that can improve how we work as an organization, chances are you’ll be empowered to execute on it. There’s always someone in your corner willing to support you.”
Niki Murphy, Canadian talent acquisition and talent advancement lead, says a lot of young people are attracted to ABB because of its focus on sustainability and sustainable energy.
“Many of the jobs new graduates want to do are in technology, and ABB’s mission fits with their values and ethics,” says Murphy. “The younger generation is aware of what’s happening globally and are trying to create a sustainable future, more so than their predecessors. The fact that ABB is trying to contribute to building a better world and that they can make a difference here is really important to young talent.”
Murphy says other things they ask about is whether they can work from home and what technologies are being used to create this flexibility.
“The younger generation is not looking for the nine-to-five, very rigid organization,” says Murphy. “In general, we have a lot of flexibility on that and on empowering our young talent to take charge and drive their own career forward.”
ABB has implemented an open job market policy, so there are no longer automatic nominations based on succession, Murphy explains. All jobs are posted, a candidate can apply for any role within the organization, and if they meet the minimum requirements, they must be considered and provided feedback.
“ABB is trying to teach that moving laterally and having a holistic profile with regards to your experience is just as important as moving vertically,” says Murphy. “People need to understand not just their own swim lane, but other people’s swim lanes as well. It makes for a really positive profile.
“Whether they’re successful or not, young people expect to be given feedback, which is great,” she says. “The whole feedback culture is very important. You need feedback to be able to progress.”
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.”