Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 11, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Penguin Random House Canada Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
- Penguin Random House Canada's wellness benefit (originally established to encourage physical activity and fitness) was expanded during the pandemic to allow for the purchase of desks, office equipment and even heaters and air conditioners or whatever equipment was needed to to help employees build a comfortable home office
- Penguin Random House Canada helps employees plan securely for the future with matching RSP contributions and a defined benefit pension plan, and also extends health benefits to retirees (with no age limit and 100 per cent premium coverage)
- Penguin Random House Canada offers three weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving to four weeks after their first year on the job -- additionally, employees can take advantage of five paid days off during the winter holidays and paid personal days off, which can be scheduled at employees' discretion
Penguin Random House Canada supports diverse voices
Last year, Kristin Cochrane, CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, packed and labelled a mountain of boxes in Toronto’s cavernous Rogers Centre, shipping books to underserved communities as part of the Read On Canada! campaign. In the social, event-based business of publishing, she loved being hands-on again.
“Sending off those boxes to our partnership groups across the country brings it to life more than just signing a cheque – although that matters too,” says Cochrane. “The books that kids are getting through this program may be the only ones they personally own, books they don’t have to return to the library. The pride of ownership and layers of understanding that come through reading a book over and over are critical for children.
“Extending into communities where there’s limited access to books is incredibly meaningful for us, as a book publisher and for our authors.”
Toronto-based Penguin Random House Canada actively supports local and national organizations and educational institutions aligned with its mission to make the literary world a more open and accessible place. To that end, in 2020 the company donated funds and books worth over $1.4 million.
For instance, in partnership with First Book Canada, the publisher launched the annual Raptors 905 Summer Reading Challenge in 2020, donating 1,000 copies of five books by Black authors, about Black characters, to 200 Grade 5 students in the basketball team’s home area.
“There’s a long overdue, ongoing racial reckoning happening in North America,” says Cochrane. “One of the things we talked about this year is to be explicit about it, not to be quiet. Given our status in the market and cultural responsibility as a publisher in Canada, we’ve learned the importance of leading and being visible as leaders.
“Having a shared conversation and creating the space for those conversations is important. This is just the beginning of what we will continue, whether with Indigenous authors, in Black literature or with writers from the LGBTQ+ community. We want to engage more directly with our writers to better understand the world, the better for all of us to learn and grow through one another’s stories.”
What happened to George Floyd was a real catalyst to action, says Anyka Davis, district sales manager, Québec and Atlantic Canada, and a member of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee.
“Management told us not to miss the moment, to do whatever we needed to do,” says Davis. “That kick-started and sped up initiatives that were already in progress, including a forum for our racialized colleagues to come together. They may be the only racialized person on their team, so there was that feeling of isolation.”
The committee also created a special session for Asian colleagues to grieve after the Atlanta spa shootings last March and launched an anonymous channel for questions and concerns.
“Internally, some of our processes have changed at work,” says Davis. “We are focusing more on books that have been traditionally underserved by the entire publishing industry, such as books by racialized authors. There’s been a shift in how we think about the books we publish and how we market those books.”
The company has also engaged consultants to partner with it on a range of anti-racism training sessions.
“It was great to have an expert walk us through it,” says Davis. “There’s really no wrong way of doing this work. It just has to get done. You can’t let fear keep you from doing the work that needs to be done.
“Diversity is not a trend or a fad. The company has made it clear we’re committed to working on projects going into the future.”