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 Olympus Canada Inc. was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
- Olympus Canada focuses its charitable efforts on preventing illness, sickness and improving the quality of life -- the company provides two paid days off for employees to volunteer and matches employee donations to a maximum of $2,000 each year
- Olympus Canada encourages employees to invest in their skills with generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at external institutions (to $5,250 per year), as well as subsidies for professional accreditation
- Olympus Canada provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents, to 100 per cent of salary for 12 weeks
Medical support remains critical at Olympus Canada
When Olympus Canada closed its headquarters in Richmond Hill to nonessential workers on March 16, Bryan Milley wasn’t fazed.
“Our offices were already set up for people to work remotely,” says Milley, one of the company’s senior sales consultants for urology, gynecology & ENT products. “This just made it official.”
As one of 114 field workers with Olympus, Milley is based in the GTA and still drives once or twice a week to the office. “But now I drop off equipment for servicing and pick it up again at the receiving door. I don’t go inside.”
From specializing initially in microscopes more than a century ago, Olympus now predominantly focuses on medical technologies. The company continues its legacy in microscopes with applications in life sciences and also develops industrial solutions for testing, measuring, imaging, and analyzing equipment and materials. In these fields, service is critical, especially in the medical and surgical divisions, which provide instruments and scopes used in such specialties as bariatrics, thoracic surgery, gynecology, pulmonology and gastroenterology.
“We rely on service a lot,” says Milley. “Much of the equipment we sell is reusable. It’s cleaned and sterilized at the hospital every day. When it’s sent to Olympus it’s serviced within hours or days of receipt.”
Olympus employees appreciate the contribution that they make to patient health in the medical system. “They understand the criticality of the business,” says Sandy Saioud, executive director, medical/scientific and regulatory affairs.
While non-essential employees at Olympus currently work from home, 70 technicians in the service and warehouse group have been classified as essential workers and have continued throughout the pandemic to work in Richmond Hill.
To adapt its facilities to COVID-19 conditions, Olympus reconfigured its offices and organized essential employees into two teams. For five months, each team worked on a different schedule, either from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. or from 3:30 p.m. to 12 midnight. Between the two shifts, the facility was cleaned and disinfected.
“We did this,” says Saioud, “because if one person caught COVID-19, we’d have to shut down altogether, which would not only impact our employees but our customers in the medical community as well.”
To recognize their contribution, Olympus gave these employees two additional days off over the summer.
In September, when schools in the GTA re-opened, the two teams adopted a more conventional schedule. “It’s difficult to work till midnight if you have kids,” Saioud observes.
To maintain open communication among employees working remotely, Olympus adopted software and applications so that executives could conduct regular company-wide meetings and group managers could meet more frequently with their own teams.
“There’s been more activity than ever,” says Milley. “Now, instead of head office bowling nights with 100 people, we have virtual bingo with 200 people.”
Olympus depends on clear and concise communication in dealing daily with patient safety, says Saioud, who joined the company in 2001 after 20 years as a registered nurse. “I worked on an endoscopy unit at a community hospital and lived through SARs. I moved to Olympus because I saw the need for training and education and thought I could make a difference. If our customers don’t have endoscopes that are safe for use, for example, patients can’t undergo procedures.”
Milley shares Saioud’s appreciation for the impact of Olympus technology. Joining the company more than eight years ago as a product manager, he says, “I was blown away by the quality and uniqueness of the products. Getting our technology into a doctor’s hands is really satisfying. Never once have I woken up and thought, this is going to be a boring day.”