Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 14, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why Lowe's Canada was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2022):
- Lowe's Canada supports a number of charitable organizations each year and announced a philanthropic investment of $1-million as part of its response to the pandemic and has since followed up with an additional $800,000, which was allocated to local organizations through its network of stores
- Lowe's Canada encourages employees to become recruiters for the company though a new employee referral bonus program, from $100 to $3,000 depending on the position
- Lowe's Canada invests in ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, and provides a variety of in-house and online training options
Lowe’s Canada promotes a supportive workplace
T wo of the core behaviours every Lowe’s Canada employee knows are “show courage” and “take action.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, those behaviours took on added resonance.
“We had to show courage and act by making decisions in real time with the data we had,” says Marc Macdonald, senior vice president, human resources, for the Boucherville-based home improvement retail chain. “Where there was uncertainty, we always erred on the side of protecting the health and safety of our employees and customers.”
During the pandemic, recalls Macdonald, the retailer had to significantly reduce the opening hours in one of its Québec-based stores, sending the entire staff on paid quarantine leave out of an abundance of caution regarding the potential spread of COVID-19. In hindsight, he adds, this level of precaution was likely unnecessary given the health and safety measures Lowe’s Canada instituted across its national network of more than 450 multi-format stores.
“We lost sales when we did that and we paid all our associates who missed shifts at that store,” he says. “But we remain proud of that decision because we were acting responsibly on the best information we had at the time.”
In response to the pandemic, Lowe’s Canada significantly expanded mental health coverage for all employees, allowing up to $3,000 per year in individual stand-alone benefits for psychological and other counselling services.
Lowe’s Canada also increased the flexibility of work hours for store associates and office staff alike.
“The pandemic really caused us to innovate and accelerate trends that were already underway in our organization,” says Macdonald.
“The changes fit perfectly into our DNA and we are going to lean into them even more going forward.”
Since joining Lowe’s Canada four years ago, Macdonald says he has never felt more at home in a workplace.
“I can really be my true self here,” he says. “I can be vulnerable and open with my boss and my colleagues and ask for help without the fear of being judged. That’s something we work to instil across our workplace – the idea that it’s okay to ask for help and to expect your leaders to listen to any concerns or issues you may have.”
That kind of supportive environment is one that certainly appeals to Youmanet Drame, assistant store manager, Réno-Dépôt Marché-Central.
Since joining Lowe’s Canada 17 years ago as a cashier, Drame has held several increasingly senior positions with one long-term goal in mind – to be a store manager.
“Being able to help customers is what I enjoy most,” says Drame. “We just want them to leave the store happy and satisfied.”
The in-store work environment is very friendly, she adds, and begins each day with a “rally” in which managers huddle with small groups of employees for about 15 minutes before customers arrive.
“We keep them up-to-date on the latest store results, upcoming events and training opportunities,” says Drame. “We also encourage their input and suggestions about how we can all work together more effectively.”
Drame credits Lowe’s Canada with helping her progress towards her management goal through continuous learning, on-the-job training and leadership development courses.
She also appreciates the opportunity to give back to the community through employee-driven fundraising programs like Lowe’s Canada’s Heroes as well as partnerships with the Children’s Miracle Network.
“These past 17 years I’ve never even thought of looking for another job,” says Drame. “Every day, it’s pleasant to wake up and go to work.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 19, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why Lowe's Canada was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2022):
- Lowe's Canada retails over 5,000 ECO branded products under the Lowe's, RONA and Reno-Depot banners -- these products have been reviewed to ensure they have lower environmental impacts than other same products in their categories
- Lowe's Canada has extensive waste management programs at all of its store locations, capturing a wide range of store and customer waste, including cardboard and paper, plastic wrapping, construction waste, metal, plastic bottles, mixed recyclables, hazardous wastes, organics, electronics, unused paint, batteries, lightbulbs and styrofoam
- Lowe's Canada recently adopted a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent below its 2016 levels by 2030 -- the company is investing $24-million in energy efficiency initiatives at its distribution centres and corporate stores across the country as a first step
Lowe's Canada reduces waste and promotes sustainability
In 2018, Lowe’s Canada became the first major home improvement retailer in Canada to charge customers a fee for plastic bags. In only three years, this resulted in a 62 per cent reduction in store-wide usage — representing the elimination of 34 million plastic bags.
Starting in June 2022, Lowe’s Canada will build on this achievement by progressively withdrawing these bags from its stores altogether – the company is the first in its industry to commit to stop using plastic bags entirely.
“Like all of our sustainability initiatives, what’s so rewarding about this undertaking is that it has a real and tangible impact,” says Jean-Sébastien Lamoureux, Lowe’s Canada senior vice president, RONA affiliates, wholesale, and public affairs. “Everything we do is one more step in contributing to a better environment and society.”
Lowe’s Canada’s sustainability initiatives are focused in three key areas – reducing the environmental footprint of the company’s operations; helping customers reduce their own environmental footprint; and supporting and engaging employees and communities where Lowe’s Canada operates.
The company has embraced an ambitious goal of reducing its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2025, compared to a 2016 baseline. By 2030, the goal is to achieve an overall 60 per cent reduction.
Improving energy efficiency is key to reaching these goals. Since 2019, Lowe’s Canada has invested nearly $30 million in energy efficiency measures. This includes installing business management systems in 173 corporate stores to allow for improved management of lighting needs and temperature fluctuations. It also includes retrofitting 193 corporate stores with LED lighting systems.
Lowe’s Canada encourages recycling by making it easier for customers to drop off products that need careful handling when no longer useful. The items are then safely disposed of or given new life.
In 2021, this program collected 125 tons of household batteries, 1,861 tons of paint and 95 tons of bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
Another major initiative is the ECO pictogram that appears on over 5,000 products identified by Lowe’s Canada as environmentally-friendly alternatives for home improvement or construction projects.
Marie-Ève Charest is a Lowe’s Canada merchandising manager who oversees the selection of products in the lawn and garden area and is committed to bringing in more ECO products to help customers reduce their environmental impact. When she looks at potential ECO products, Charest considers two key questions: does it meet a customer need and does it work? Whenever possible, preference is also given to Canadian-made products.
One product introduced in stores across the country last year that proved particularly popular was a plant fertilizer made with chicken manure. Another recent innovation: offering clover as a substitute or supplement for grass seed, since clover requires less water and tending.
For Charest, finding and distributing these products is a personal as well as professional passion.
“I try out all the products myself,” she says. “My yard and driveway are like a lab.”
She also enjoys visiting stores and talking with associates about promoting eco-friendly products.
“We have many millennials among our staff and a lot of them are just as passionate as I am about this stuff.”
In fact, Lamoureux finds that one of the biggest values Lowe’s Canada derives from its focus on sustainability is employee engagement.
“More than ever, people want to work for a company that connects with their values,” says Lamoureux. “This is something all of our 26,000 associates can take ownership of and feel they are making a positive difference.”