Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 3, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why Hershey Canada Inc. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
- Through a dedicated MYWELLBEING committee, Hershey Canada organizes events to help employees prioritize their physical and mental health such as nutritional guest speakers, a holistic therapist for mindfulness, weekly exercise challenges and extracurricular fitness activities
- Hershey Canada encourages volunteerism with two paid days off to volunteer and also matches charitable donations made by employees, to a maximum of $5,000 USD
- Hershey Canada invests in the ongoing education of current and future generations with tuition subsidies for job-related courses (up to $6,000) and academic scholarships for children of employees (to $3,000 per child per year)
The founder’s legacy still shapes Hershey Canada
When head office employees at Hershey Canada were advised in March to start working from home due to COVID-19, most were able to adapt quickly. After all, they had had a head start. “A few years ago, we started to encourage employees to work from home one to two days a week,” says Hilori Kaloti, the company’s human resources leader for Canada.
“We invested a ton in the right tools, the right technology and the right resources to support our employees and make them feel almost like they’re working in the office,” Kaloti says. “We have software that allows team members to see each other all the time through video conference calls.”
Hershey also invests heavily, in terms of time and effort, in developing employees and helping them grow professionally.
“We have quarterly talent development discussions, which is quite frequent,” says senior marketing manager Zehra Raza. “It’s how we strengthen people internally.”
A key element of the corporate culture holds that personal growth leads to business growth. “We’re a huge believer in making sure that every single employee has a development plan,” says Kaloti. “It can go vertical or horizontal, whatever makes sense for the individual.”
The company also has a generous tuition reimbursement program. “We see a lot of utilization of it every single year,” says Kaloti. “Almost anything is eligible as long as it aligns with your development plan and your manager is supportive.”
Giving back to communities is another core component of the culture. It reflects the legacy of Milton Hershey, who founded the company 125 years ago in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name. He and his wife were unable to have children, so they founded a Milton Hershey School for underprivileged children. Milton Hershey left his entire fortune to the school, which continues to operate and supports as many as 2,000 orphan and underprivileged students per year.
“We give our employees paid time off every year to spend time on volunteer efforts,” says Kaloti. “For the last several years we’ve really focused on supporting children in need, reducing our environmental impact and improving life in the communities in which we live.”
Last year alone, the company donated $3.5 million in products to various organizations and gave $150,000 to a range of charities. “Our employee-run corporate social responsibility committee raises funds through company auctions, barbecues and raffles,” says Raza.
Hershey has made considerable effort to help employees with young families manage the inevitable stresses and anxieties caused by the pandemic. For one thing, the company has had in place for some time a program called Smart-Flex that allows employees to adjust hours of work to accommodate family pressures.
As well, Hershey has a Quality Through Engagement committee, which in a normal year holds 10 to 12 social events, ranging from Halloween and holiday parties at Christmas to shorter events held at lunch hour or end of day.
This year, online has replaced in-person – with some innovative twists. Raza says the committee has organized a summer baking competition, trivia contests and a Halloween costume contest open to employees and their families.