Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 12, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2021):
- Rogers' unique and thoughtfully designed workplaces feature quiet zones, interactive spaces, and access to the latest technology -- the company has also implemented a massive work-from-home program over the past year with more than 90 per cent of employees moving to work from home, including 7,000 call-centre staff -- the transition has also been supported by weekly online forums that include question and answer sessions with the company's CEO
- Rogers supports employees who are new mothers and fathers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments and recently introduced a phased return-to-work program for new parents, allowing them to work on a modified schedule for the first five weeks of their return while receiving 100 per cent of their salary
- As part of Rogers' extensive charitable program, Rogers has undertaken a number of enlightened initiatives in direct response to the impacts of the pandemic over the past year on the most vulnerable members of society, from providing support to food banks and women's shelters, to providing free mobile service to vulnerable youth (in partnership with Samsung) and providing low-cost internet access to over 250,000 households
Rogers helps Canadians and team members amid COVID-19
Putting its people first and giving back to the community have always been core values at Rogers Communications. So early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when Rogers received its first call for support – from a women’s shelter in Nova Scotia – it soon launched one of several initiatives to help Canada’s most vulnerable during the crisis.
“They said women were now in isolation with partners who had a history of domestic violence,” recalls Kaitlyn LeFeaver, the company’s manager of corporate social responsibility. “The risk of abuse was rising because of COVID-19, so we reached out to Women’s Shelters of Canada to see how we could help. We started airing Women’s Shelter Canada’s website – Sheltersafe.ca – across our Rogers Sports & Media digital assets, and we provided hundreds of free smartphones with six months of free service to more than 60 women’s shelters across Canada.”
In another major COVID-related project, notes LeFeaver, Rogers partnered with Food Banks Canada and its Jays Care Foundation, and committed to assembling food hampers to provide eight million meals for Canadians who needed it most. Because Rogers owns the Blue Jays and their home, the Rogers Centre, it had – amid the pandemic shutdown – an ideal staging area for the hamper program, which it called Step Up to the Plate. And it promoted the initiative through its media and to Rogers customers.
Jim Reid, chief human resources officer, says employee volunteers were critical in making this program a success. In just 90 days, Rogers team members donated 20,000 volunteer hours and packed 390,000 food hampers – the most food hampers ever packed for Food Banks Canada in one campaign.
Rogers team members are supporting other community initiatives too. “From our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, to our FIDO brand’s partnership with Pflag, and more, the way our team has come together during this unprecedented time to help our people, customers and communities is second to none,” says Reid.
Another key aspect of the company’s culture is its commitment to “building one of the best places to work in the country,” says Reid. That has been reflected in its measures to help its employees weather the pandemic. Rogers introduced a National Wellness Fund to help team members and their families cope, offering increased benefits for mental health, access to virtual healthcare and free access to activities for parents working at home with children.
Additionally, “we introduced new communications vehicles to keep our team informed and engaged,” says Reid. This includes weekly Q&A sessions with Rogers CEO Joe Natale, weekly COVID-19 information sessions with health and well-being experts including the company’s Chief Medical Officer, and a weekly communication from Reid to all of employees about the status of COVID-19.
“Our people are the heart of our success,” says Reid, “and as a result of many of these things, our employee engagement score went up to 87 per cent in August, a two per cent increase year-over-year, and our corporate social responsibility score reached 90 per cent, five percentage points above last year, and up from 66 per cent in 2015. These are pretty sizeable moves in the middle of a pandemic.”
For LeFeaver, Rogers’ commitment to creating the best possible employee experience and its strong tradition of giving back has made her especially grateful she joined the company seven years ago. “In our 60th year,” she says, “we are doubling down on supporting our people, customers and communities when it’s never been more important.”
Celebrating 60 years, Rogers’ team is prouder than ever
When Andrew Vella joined Rogers Communications one year ago, he discovered a new kind of work experience. In previous jobs, he always felt like he was “a number, not an employee.”
But at Rogers, says Vella, an inbound telesales consultant, “I’m treated like part of the Rogers family. They invest so much time in you, and they offer so many amazing programs to help get you where you truly want to be in your career.”
Vella, who works at the nationwide communication and media company’s Brampton campus and is among about 15,600 Rogers team members in the GTA, says he has benefited from some of the LinkedIn Learning courses the company offers. And he cites the company’s Walk a Mile job-shadowing program, which he hopes to pursue post-COVID-19.
Jim Reid, Rogers’ chief human resources officer, says such employee experiences reflect the company’s goal to be “one of the best places to work in Canada, with our strong culture as our guiding path. Creating the best employee experience possible is more critical than ever, and we’re incredibly proud of the significant progress we’ve made. That strong culture, guided by our values, has allowed us to do incredible things for our people, customers and communities in the GTA and beyond, and our top priority is to continue to make it even stronger.”
Vella felt compelled to give back to the GTA community by volunteering for Rogers’ Step Up to the Plate initiative. Earlier this year, the company partnered with Food Banks Canada and the Jays Care Foundation (the company owns the Blue Jays baseball team and their home, the Rogers Centre) to assist with assembling food hampers, providing eight million meals for Canadians who needed it most during COVID-19. In just 90 days, Rogers team members donated 20,000 volunteer hours and helped pack 390,000 food hampers – the most ever packed for Food Banks Canada in one campaign.
“Our values have come to life in new ways across our company and our teams have never been prouder to work at Rogers,” says Reid. “We’re proud of our strong culture of giving back, and this year, our 60th, we want to help Canadians get back to better than normal, so our team is doubling down on supporting those who need it most by volunteering 60,000 hours in the next year.”
Vella, who began working at home when the pandemic struck in March, volunteered for six shifts of packing food hampers in a warehouse in nearby Mississauga. “By the second day, you’re really connecting with fellow Rogers volunteers,” he says. “It was a meaningful experience to help underprivileged families during such a critical time. It makes you realize that in life you shouldn’t complain about the little things, and that through initiatives like this available to Rogers employees, everyone can make an impact.”
Vella also appreciated how Rogers’ amplified its communications through COVID-19, from the leadership team and from in-house and external medical and well-being experts. He also noted the launch of Rogers’ National Wellness Fund to help team members cope during COVID-19, which includes increased benefits for mental health and access to virtual health care.
“Rogers gave us these great tools to keep us safe and informed when there was so much unknown with the virus,” he says. “That allowed us to stay updated on COVID-19 and on changes to our policies so we could better support our customers.”
During COVID-19, Vella notes, Rogers launched several initiatives so customers didn’t have to worry about staying connected to the information and technology they need, and to the people they love most – at a time when it’s never been more important.
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
By Kristina Leung, Stephanie Leung, and Jing Wang, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 18, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
- Rogers manages a New Grad Leadership Program, providing participants with rotations across diverse areas of the organization, a monthly learning curriculum (with resources to develop both their personal and professional skills), in addition to matching participants with a coach and meet and greet sessions with senior leadership at the company
- Rogers invites all new grad hires to attend a two-week campus onboarding program, which includes a two-day national onboarding for all new employees, with the remainder spent bringing new grads together to connect with peers and participate in a series of workshops before they begin work with their teams -- the sessions cover community, customer experience, a case competition, inclusion and diversity, a meet and greet with managers and a new grad alumni panel
Rogers invests in the next generation
In 2020, Cerolia Kim was one of 136 young people chosen from more than 10,000 applicants to join the New Grad Leadership Development Program at Rogers Communications. And she was thrilled by the confidence the company placed in her from the start.
Kim, 24, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and started the program in July, was assigned last fall to manage one of the digital marketing team’s biggest annual projects, the “Wrapped in Red“ event, which offers customers Black Friday and holiday season deals.
“The most notable thing for me when I started at Rogers was that you’re not treated like you’re in an entry-level position – you’re treated like so much more than that, like a professional, valued employee,” she says.
“From Day 1, Rogers gives you so many meaningful projects. To see our annual ‘Wrapped in Red’ event come to life has been exciting for me, and I’m sure other new grads would say the same: at Rogers they trust you from the get-go and you get to contribute real work and develop key skills.”
“Another reason I joined the new grad program was because of Rogers culture,” she continues. “There are so many opportunities to make a real difference here, from supporting our community initiatives to the impactful work we get to do everyday.”
New grads can also join one of five employee resource groups to get support as self-identifying, equity-seeking team members and to learn more as allies as Rogers continues to build a more inclusive culture.
Rogers rotates candidates in the new grad program through three lines of business to experience different roles firsthand and discover their strengths. From the start, each participant is a full-time Rogers employee and continues to be once their 12- to 18-month program is up.
The new grad program is available to people who graduated from post-secondary institutions within a year of the application deadline, and it also accepts people who are already working in Rogers frontline positions, such as at call centres or retail stores.
“Growing and developing our people is at the heart of Rogers,” says Akanksha Malik, the company’s senior director of talent acquisition. “It’s our biggest driver of engagement, and a top priority. We want to make sure our people continue to grow and build their careers with us – when they start as new grads, it’s just the start.”
The new grad program, she continues is a notable example of Rogers’ commitment to developing future leaders and driving innovation. “Rogers has a long history of investing in the next generation, and we’re committed to making it the top destination for people to start their careers in Canada. It’s so important to have young voices at the table and bring in new perspectives.”
One of the ways Rogers grooms its new grads is holding workshops on topics such as how to communicate effectively and how to navigate stress and build resilience, she notes. More important, there are regular (now virtual) meetings hosted by senior leaders, including CEO Joe Natale, and with managers and coaches.
“Everything the new grad program offers has been so helpful,” says Kim, “I’ve received wisdom from so many leaders, even virtually. They’re so supportive, and I always feel like they’re listening and value my perspective.”
Kim is already speaking with her managers about her long-term goals. “I’m learning how to leverage my strengths to showcase leadership even if I’m in an entry-level position. At Rogers, there’s so much support to help get me to where I want to be in five or 10 years, and I’m excited for that.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2021):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2021):
- In the past year, Rogers' launched Safe Talk and Safe Talking and Listening sessions to create space for self-identifying Black employees and allies to engage in conversation on anti-racism and dialogue on constructive ways to be an ally to the Black community
- Rogers conducted an internal research study to identify barriers for women and patterns of system bias through the employee lifecycle, including recruitment, development planning, performance ratings, and overall employee experience -- along with six other Canadian broadcasters, Rogers also set gender parity goals for 2025 as well as action plans to support gender equality in the industry
- Rogers recently launched a Guide to Inclusive Customer Interactions series to help frontline teams introduce inclusive principles when interacting with customers (series starts with a focus on gender identity and expression)
Building a more inclusive culture at Rogers
Rogers Communications is on a journey to build a more inclusive culture. The company has made significant progress over the years, and critical work lies ahead. In 2020, Rogers implemented a new five-year inclusion and diversity strategy that will accelerate progress even further and drive meaningful changes for its people, customers and communities.
Last year, Rogers was quick to address the discussions about systemic anti-Black racism that were unleashed in the wake of the death of George Floyd. The company shared resources and hosted events on anti-racism and allyship, signed the BlackNorth Initiative CEO Pledge, and partnered with the Black Professionals in Tech Network.
Members of the team also formed a Black Leadership Council so executives and the company’s Inclusion and Diversity Council could consult with Black employees about racism or bias they experience on the job.
Kim Charles, director of billing, who identifies as a Black woman, was quick to get involved. “We’re making sure that Black employees are heard no matter their role,” she says. “Rogers is dedicated to building a more inclusive culture, and we have a strong commitment from our leaders to listen, learn and act to make meaningful progress for Black employees, and all equity-seeking employees.”
Charles has long supported inclusion and diversity initiatives at Rogers, including with Mosaic, one of the company’s five employee resource groups that aim to celebrate diversity and build a culture of allyship. Mosaic supports people of colour, while the other four groups are focused on the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and women.
Overall, Charles adds, her sense from talking to Black friends at other organizations is that Rogers has taken on anti-Black racism in a singularly committed way. That includes hosting 77 virtual “Safe Talk Listening Sessions” where employees and leaders can learn about the experience of their Black colleagues and those who identify with other equity-seeking groups.
During those discussions, Charles shared her concerns while raising her son, now 23, about things like being stopped by police, and what it’s like to be Black in Canada.
“I think some of my non-Black colleagues had eye-opening moments in these sessions. They’ve asked, ‘Can I share your story with my wife or children?’ To me, this is what it’s about – these important and challenging conversations we’re having are translating beyond Rogers. That’s impactful.”
For Marcin Zerek, brand manager of sponsorships for Fido, his work has been such an exciting intersection of his personal and professional aspirations that, he says, “I have to pinch myself sometimes.”
Zerek leads the Fido brand’s Pride sponsorship. “I bring together insight from the LGBTQ+ community and create our campaigns for Pride,” he says. “It’s really important for us as a company to be consistent and authentic through the whole year, not just during Pride month.”
Zerek, 35, came out as a gay man a decade ago, shortly after he started at Rogers. “I felt so welcome at work, and that I could be my authentic self. I’ve marched in several Pride parades in Toronto and Montréal, and in 2019, having our CEO and some of our other executives walking alongside us was such an empowering and beautiful moment for me both personally and professionally.”
In 2020, Zerek says, it was particularly moving when a Rogers employee invited her teenage lesbian daughter to join the company’s digital celebration for her first Pride experience. “She quickly became an active participant, asking questions and sharing her story. My boyfriend and I were tearing up. It was so amazing how far our efforts at Rogers have extended – into the homes of our colleagues and beyond.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Chantel Watkins, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 18, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2021):
- Rogers encourages employees to consider two-wheeled commuting with secure bicycle parking and offers work-from-home options, as well as state-of-the-art telepresence rooms to help reduce unnecessary travel
- Rogers created a unique waste management program aptly named "Get Up and Get Green" to help employees sort their waste properly at centralized waste stations (the company's goal is a 70 per cent waste diversion rate) -- also hosts an annual Waste Reduction Week to raise employee awareness and to encourage suppliers and contractors to adopt sustainable strategies through a formal supplier code of conduct
- Rogers' environmental compliance committee is comprised of employees from across the company's many lines of business who meet quarterly to review ongoing progress of the company's corporate environmental program -- employees also spearhead many local initiatives through informal employee-led green teams across the company
Rogers is committed to a more sustainable future
Rogers Communications is on a journey to create a more sustainable future, and the company has made significant progress in delivering on its environmental social governance (ESG) strategy. According to Tony Basson, director of energy and sustainability, “Our commitment to the environment is embedded in our culture and company values – and at the heart of our green strategy is our people.”
“We have environmental committees and local green teams who support our initiatives,” Basson continues. “Many of our programs rely on the incredible enthusiasm, commitment and efforts from our 23,500 employees.”
One of those employees is Mandy Bairos, a customer solutions specialist for the Rogers management office in Kitchener, Ont. Bairos is passionate about the environment, and in 2016 she launched a “green team” for her building.
Her first order of business was to create a recycling system at her call centre in accordance with the Get Up & Get Green recycling initiative that had been introduced at Rogers’ head office in Toronto. Back then, “every desk in her building had a tiny little black trash can for all kinds of garbage,” she says.
So Bairos went to local hardware stores and put together a makeshift “triple-stream” waste unit with separate receptacles for cans and bottles, paper and trash, testing it on one floor of the building. By 2019, every floor had the official triple-streams.
Response to these recycling units on Rogers’ in-house communication plat- form, Yammer, was enthusiastic. “I was getting high-fives from people across the company,” Bairos says. “People were over the moon about this small but impactful initiative.”
This is one of many green initiatives Bairos has supported. “It’s employee commitment like this that helps build environmental awareness at Rogers,” says Basson.
“Our Get Up & Get Green program was initiated by employee feedback – they told us they wanted to reduce our waste and improve recycling. We listen to our employees and respond with programs that help create a more sustainable future.”
The Get Up & Get Green program now includes about 1,000 central waste stations across the country, and some Rogers sites have recycling as high as 70 to 90 per cent.
Basson notes that Rogers leadership is committed to instilling environmental responsibility in the company’s culture. “Our leaders consistently talk to our teams about how one of our top priorities is to be a strong, socially and environmentally responsible leader in our communities.”
That commitment dovetails with Rogers’ policy of giving every employee a day off each year to volunteer, and many take part in green activities. In 2019, before COVID-19, team members contributed 20,000 hours to 80 events across the country, including World Wildlife Fund Canada’s annual shoreline cleanup.
“They cleaned 30 km of shoreline, picking up 1,400 kg of debris. And through Forest Recovery Canada’s tree-planting event, we planted over 3,000 trees.”
Rogers has several other green initiatives. In less than a decade, the company has reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by 21 per cent and installed electric vehicle charging stations at its Toronto and Brampton offices. To deliver even further on its ESG strategy, Rogers is evaluating innovative options to reduce its carbon footprint and adopting Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) frameworks.
And local green committees continue to advocate for sustainability. Bairos organizes at least one green event a month for her team. In March, it was a recycling-at-home contest where the winner won a donation to an environmental charity. “It’s just a small way,” she says, “to drive awareness of how we can all help the environment.”