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 Keurig Dr Pepper Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2023) and Montreal's Top Employers (2023):
- Keurig Dr Pepper Canada's flexible health benefits plan includes three coverage options and allows employees to increase coverage with flex dollars -- unused dollars can be applied to group RRSP, health or wellness spending accounts
- Keurig Dr Pepper Canada supports new mothers (including adoptive moms) with maternity leave top-up payments to 95 per cent of salary for 18 weeks, and lets employees extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence as well as take advantage of phased-in work options when they are ready to return to work
- Keurig Dr Pepper Canada worked to keep employees in touch with themed lunches and virtual gatherings during the pandemic and celebrated the return to office through the "Forward Together" event that featured fun activities each week, along with gifts for all employees -- and has introduced a hybrid model that lets employees flex between working from the office and working from home
Coffee, beverages and careers at Keurig Dr Pepper Canada
Marc-André Vézina has been working for Montréal-based Keurig Canada Inc., doing business as Keurig Dr Pepper Canada (KDP Canada), for nearly 10 years, but most days he feels like he’s only getting started.
“The company keeps innovating and growing,” says Vézina, general manager of the Van Houtte Coffee Services subsidiary. “I’ve had so many opportunities to evolve and improve myself, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been with the same organization.”
Almost everyone in Canada is familiar with the name Keurig, the brand of countertop appliances known for producing quality coffee one cup at a time. In fact, KDP Canada is the third-largest player in the beverage industry and offers a wide variety of hot and cold products, marketed under more than 60 leading brands, such as Canada Dry, Mott’s Clamato, Van Houtte and Timothy’s.
Hence the ample opportunities for professional growth and development. Vézina, for his part, started as a project manager with no managerial responsibilities. These days, he leads the company’s commercial division, Van Houtte Coffee Services, which has 420 employees working in 30 locations across the country and serves 27,000 business customers.
Amélie Lavoie, senior director of human resources for KDP Canada, joined the organization five years ago after a career spent in human resources and operations. “It’s been such an amazing adventure since I joined KDP Canada. I like to say I have the most interesting job in Montréal,” says Lavoie.
Professional development and career planning are key components of the talent and engagement strategy at KDP Canada. The company helps employees to advance through what it calls the ‘rock wall’ approach. “When you go climbing, you don’t always go straight up,” says Vézina. “Your next professional move is not always your boss’s job. It could be a lateral move. It could be with another team.”
The company also uses the 70-20-10 per cent rule to developing talent, where new knowledge and skills acquired come mostly from being provided with varied and challenging work opportunities. In a company as diverse as KDP Canada, employees can explore new skills through projects, move from one team to another or be given stretch assignments.
“We’ll provide you with the tools and coaching you need,” says Lavoie “so you can test yourself, learn and develop the required skills with a project or assignment.”
Although KDP Canada believes you develop most of your skills by doing the work, it still invests in coaching and mentoring, and traditional training. The company also supports employees who want to further their knowledge through a tuition reimbursement program.
“We take a holistic approach to learning,” says Lavoie. “It allows us to tap into different aspects of our workforce. We’ve had a variety of coaching sessions offered to our teams, from diversity & inclusion and leadership to negotiation skills and mental health training. KDP Canada cares not only about growing high-quality talent but also the well-being of the person behind the work.”
Indeed, Lavoie is particularly proud of how the company handled the pandemic. “All the teams across Canada worked together to ensure that we maintained a sense of community within the company and kept everyone motivated,” she says.
“We couldn’t change what was happening in the world, but we did everything in our power to safeguard the health and safety of our employees as our top priority and ensure our teams felt supported and cared for during those challenging times.”
Keurig Dr Pepper Canada promotes a learning culture
After a career spent in the financial and public sector, Martin Vermette joined Keurig Dr Pepper Canada (KDP Canada) in mid-2021, and he’s enjoyed every minute since then.
“I didn’t know anything about the consumer-packaged goods industry or what KDP Canada was about other than being a coffee and soft drink company,” says Vermette, a senior manager in human resources responsible for the commercial division, IT departments and talent development. “I am most excited about the strong culture of innovation and human values.
“My colleagues are incredible, the opportunities for growth are endless and my time here has gone by so quickly that it feels like I started yesterday.”
And there’s plenty to be excited about at KDP Canada. The company may be widely known for its coffee business through the brand Keurig, but it is, in fact, the third-largest player in the beverage industry. KDP Canada offers a wide variety of hot and cold products, marketed under more than 60 leading brands, such as Canada Dry, Schweppes, Mott’s Clamato, Van Houtte, Timothy’s, Bai and the recently acquired Québec brand of non-alcoholic cocktails called Atypique.
Lê-Ngoc Chiem spent most of her career in consumer-packaged goods manufacturing companies before joining KDP Canada eight years ago. “I was attracted by KDP Canada’s reputation for sustainability, its involvement in local communities and its caring attitude toward maintaining the quality of life of its employees,” says Chiem, director of financial planning and analysis. “Because KDP Canada has been experiencing tremendous growth, the company focuses on talent development and provides many opportunities for employees to learn and explore new skills.”
Even as a seasoned professional, Chiem has had many opportunities to grow during her KDP Canada tenure. She started as a commercial finance manager supporting sales and marketing strategy. Then she moved to the financial planning team and was promoted from senior manager to director.
“I’ve been very lucky to benefit from our mentoring program,” she says. “I’ve had mentors from the strategy and treasury teams.”
Keurig Dr Pepper Canada uses the 70-20-10 rule to develop talent where new knowledge and skills acquired mostly come from varied and challenging work opportunities. “In a company as diverse as KDP Canada, employees can explore new skills through projects, move from one team to another or be given stretch assignments, in addition to have access to mentoring and traditional training,” says Vermette.
KDP Canada goes to great lengths to mentor the 15 to 25 students it recruits in summer, fall and winter under its ‘LEAP’ and co-op programs. “Every employee can volunteer to be a mentor,” says Vermette. “They meet regularly with their mentees to discuss career options, problem-solving and networking opportunities, among other things.”
The company also involves the co-op students in various projects that give them real exposure to the business. “We work with every business unit within KDP Canada to identify areas where they can bring value and learn from their experience,” he says. “At the end of their co-op, they present their projects’ outcomes to the senior leadership team.”
KDP Canada offers full-time employees tuition reimbursement for professional accreditation as well as external degree programs relevant to their positions. The company also has a suite of internal training programs and certifications that are tailored to employee development and the work they do.
“One of the most important aspects of KDP Canada is our culture and creating an environment that allows employees to grow,” says Vermette. “It’s something you feel and breathe on a day-to-day basis.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 15, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Keurig Dr Pepper Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
- Through the company's LEAP program, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada offers internships for undergraduate students completing their second or third year in a variety of fields including marketing, supply chain, finance, IT and business intelligence
- The internship features a half-day orientation (with "Coffee 101" training), lunch with the vice-president of HR, a networking lunch with former interns, and the opportunity to present completed projects to managers and the leadership team
Growth creates opportunity at Keurig Dr Pepper Canada
Katherine Lamarche got an inside look at Keurig Dr Pepper Canada (KDP Canada) as a student intern and she knew it was where she wanted to launch her career after earning a marketing degree at the Université de Montréal’s Haute études commerciales.
“The career opportunities we have at KDP Canada are truly exceptional and are what really makes me stay here and why I love it so much,” says Lamarche, manager, key accounts. “It’s a business in full effervescence that focuses on innovation and the growth of its portfolio, which makes it very exciting.”
Besides a wide range of coffee products and Keurig brewers, KDP Canada boasts multiple divisions and manages a portfolio of over 60 brands of hot and cold beverages, some owned outright, others sold under licence or through partnerships or commercial alliances. Along with such well-known names as Schweppes, Dr Pepper, Crush, Canada Dry and Bai, the company has also recently acquired a Québec brand of non-alcoholic cocktails called Atypique.
“We’ve welcomed a lot of new people over the past three to five years to sustain our growth,” says Olivier Lemire, president. “We have a dynamic and energetic workforce that brings new ideas to the table and is not afraid of challenging the status quo.”
That is due, in no small part, to the company’s robust internship and co-op programs. With Canadian corporate offices in Montréal and Mississauga, Ont., KDP Canada recruits 15 to 25 second-year students, mainly from universities in Montréal and Toronto, for summer and winter co-ops. The company also runs a summer internship program for production, logistics and supply chain positions at its Montréal-based coffee roasting and production facility.
“We give them real experience,” says Lemire. “They’re not going to be sorting through files or organizing paper. They are going to help create value in the company’s projects and operations.”
Lemire makes time to meet the students and they get introduced to all the vice-presidents. The company also supports them through lunch and learns as well as other learning experiences.
“At the end of each cohort we sit down with the students and ask them what they liked, what we could do differently and what we could improve,” Lemire adds.
KDP Canada also has a well-structured onboarding program. Lemire and his senior director of human resources meet all new hires, generally within their first couple of months. The company assigns a buddy to mentor newcomers and provide career advice.
“We spend a lot of time making sure that people who join our organization feel good and valued from day one,” he says. “It’s a huge part of retention.”
KDP Canada gives employees time off to contribute to their communities through volunteer work. The company supports a variety of organizations in the areas of its Canadian offices including Mississauga Food Bank, Moisson Montréal and Mission Old Brewery and participates in many charitable events such as the Make-a-Wish 48-hour bike ride and the Charles Bruneau Foundation hockey tournament.
Lamarche, for one, has been an active participant. “We have a team of six to 12 that participates in a lot of outside activities like a 24-hour skiing event at Mont-Tremblant every December,” she says. “It’s one of the many charity events that KDP Canada supports and encourages its employees to attend and volunteer their time for a good cause.”
Lemire adds that such endeavours make employees better people and make KDP Canada a great place to work. “We promote health and well-being,” he says. “We promote networking and making connections. Younger people want to join an organization that’s on the move and looking forward.”