Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 5, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Redbrick Technologies Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2021):
- As part of their health benefits plan, Redbrick employees can access an EAP that offers in-person, video, chat, and phone counselling services, online mental health resources as well as online parenting courses, financial consultation and even career planning services
- A leading SME, Redbrick raises the proverbial bar by offering new moms maternity and parental leave top-up payments to 75 per cent of salary for up to 52 weeks
- Redbrick helps employees save for the future with a matching RSP program and offers referral bonuses for employees who successfully refer a friend (up to $2,000)
Redbrick thrives when staff connect – and disconnect
Tobyn Sowden, CEO of Redbrick Technologies Inc., is an ardent practitioner and promoter of work-life balance. But while working from home is often touted as conducive to achieving a healthy balance, that hasn’t been the philosophy at the Victoria-based tech company.
As Sowden sees it, an essential element of work-life balance is maintaining clear boundaries between the two. But at home, he says, it’s not always easy to keep them separate. This is especially true, he adds, for those who can’t ignore their digital devices.
“There shouldn’t be an expectation that people will be available 24/7,” says Sowden, who disconnects from work outside of clearly defined office hours to safeguard quality family time. Redbrick’s leadership and employees heed his example and encouragement.
Redbrick is the parent organization to a growing portfolio of digital companies. Currently, the portfolio is made up of four digital companies across North America. Each has its own CEO, product offerings, and customers while Redbrick provides strategic leadership and shared services such as HR and finance.
“We have created an environment that encourages idea-sharing,” Sowden says. “Anyone can pitch in, ideas start to snowball and that’s when something exciting happens.”
That’s the reason he’s not a fan of the virtual workplace – it can be difficult to be spontaneous. But face-to-face, the creative self-starters who are drawn to Redbrick’s culture of entrepreneurial innovation can brainstorm whenever they want.
Even so, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread disruptions, Redbrick took a no- holds-barred approach to ensuring its employees had the resources and support they needed to work safely and effectively from home. In fact, Nash Cook, senior content manager for Redbrick’s digital publishing company Assembly, says the company began tracking the pandemic early on and by the time it arrived in Canada he and his colleagues were already teleworking.
“Whatever we needed to make our workspace viable, Redbrick let us know they’d make it available,” he adds. The company also introduced measures to support employee well-being and Cook has been following such recommendations as practising yoga daily and taking frequent breaks outdoors, much to the delight of his 10-year-old dog.
Cook and his wife had moved to Victoria from Austin, Texas, in early 2017 to be near her family. Thanks to previous visits with them, he was familiar with the B.C. capital region and all it has to offer. This includes a booming tech sector and Cook, whose resumé includes stints with top U.S. tech giants, was confident he’d find work.
The search effectively ended at his first job interview – with Sowden – and Cook hasn’t looked back. “Every year, there’s a new challenge,” he says, pleased his responsibilities with Assembly have kept growing. “They care about our careers.”
In 2020, the digital publisher added two new titles to its roster for a total of six in-house publications. Assembly also inked its first partnership with a traditional, print-based publisher to remake its web properties and help grow its audience.
There were significant developments elsewhere within Redbrick as well. In March 2020 it acquired its fourth digital business, Leadpages, a Minneapolis-based, no-code website and landing page builder that helps entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses online.
As for Sowden, he says he has a new perspective on telework. Staff in Victoria largely adapted well to their new working conditions while Leadpages’ employees were already successfully dividing their workdays between the office and home.
He even suggests Redbrick may adopt the hybrid model when the pandemic abates to the point people can return to the office. “The pandemic has reminded us all about the importance of flexibility.”