Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 11, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Rogers Communications Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
- 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
- Rogers employees enjoy discounted home internet and television services along with a full suite of long-range financial benefits, including a defined contribution pension plan and a share purchase plan
- Rogers' unique and thoughtfully designed workplaces feature quiet zones, interactive spaces, and access to the latest technology -- the company also manages an impressive work-from-home program with more than 90 per cent of employees moving to work from home during the pandemic, including 7,000 call centre staff -- the transition was supported by weekly online forums
Rogers is investing in the next generation
Suchitra Maria Saha joined Rogers Communications Inc. in June 2021 shortly after graduating from Ryerson University with a bachelor of commerce degree in business technology management. But for her first six months, Saha never set foot in an office. Nor did she meet any of her new colleagues face-to-face.
And it didn’t bother her in the least. “My mentors and my business unit champion at Rogers have been very supportive,” says Saha. “The company is very aware of what their team members want and need when it comes to COVID-19. They’re very diligent in their support and responsibilities.”
Rogers has had to be both diligent and responsible, given that upwards of 20,000 of its employees have been working remotely since the spring of 2020. In addition, the company has hired some 3,000 people since then, all of whom have come onboard virtually, which is no small feat.
“When you step into a crisis like this, there’s no playbook,” says Jim Reid, chief human resources officer. “You manage decision by decision. Our people are the heart of our success and our top priority has always been to keep our teams safe.”
To that end, Rogers has held weekly question and answer sessions for its team members since the start of the pandemic. CEO Joe Natale and chief medical officer Dr. David Satok have addressed top employee concerns ranging from vaccinations to return to work protocols. As many as 6,000 employees have dialed in weekly.
Rogers also increased the benefits available to support both physical and mental health. The company offered virtual healthcare consultations with doctors and nurses. Employees could also access an app called Headspace that offered tools and resources for mindfulness and well-being. Another app called HELM Life provided educational resources to support employees with young children while working from home.
Reid notes that Rogers has a youthful workforce with an average age of 40. As well, millennials and Gen Zs – people born after 1997 – currently comprise 57 per cent of the workforce. Within three years, that figure is expected to reach 75 per cent.
“Competition for young talent has intensified,” says Reid. “We’re looking for people who want to be part of a growing, innovative company with a great team – there are endless possibilities to grow your career here.”
The New Grad program is one of the initiatives developed to recruit top-flight young talent. In 2021, Rogers hired 150 new grads, up from 50 three years ago. “We hire a diverse slate of candidates from across the country, and right now we’re keen to go after STEM grads to build the strongest team,” says Reid, referring to science, technology, engineering and math.
Saha has become an enthusiastic advocate for the program. As she explains, new grads spend their first year doing four-month rotations through three different roles before making a decision about where they want to start their career at Rogers.
“My experience has been amazing,” says Saha. “I’ve participated in multiple information sessions with different universities and shared my story. All the projects I’ve worked on have been meaningful. You’re not just stuck at a desk doing paperwork, you’re truly making an impact.”
Return to work is the next challenge in the ever-evolving pandemic. Reid says flexibility will be key to the Rogers approach. “Flexibility is here to stay,” he says. “Be at the office for team meetings and collaborative work. And for heads down, productive work, people can do that from home or wherever works best for them.”
Rogers commits to career growth for young leaders
Nick Chin-A-Loy started with Rogers Communications Inc. as a sales rep at a retail store in the Toronto suburb of Whitby. He was still a student, working toward a business degree, but he had his eye on a future with the company.
“I reached out to my manager and expressed an interest in growing my career in the company,” says Chin-a-Loy. “The response I got was positive and supportive so I worked on a development plan to prepare myself for my growth opportunity.”
In June 2021, after completing his degree, Chin-A-Loy won a coveted spot in the Rogers New Grad program and, along with it, a position as a technical operations analyst on the Connected Home team.
“It’s such a valuable program,” says Chin-A-Loy. “Rogers is helping students make the transition into the corporate world. It really shows their dedication to developing new talent and grooming future leaders of the company.”
Rogers hired 150 recent graduates this year for the program. Currently, millennials and Gen Zs – people born after 1997 – make up some 57 per cent of the company’s workforce. Those two groups are projected to represent 75 per cent within three years, says Jim Reid, chief human resources officer.
The company is also committed to developing team members across the company. Reid notes that growth and development is the number one driver of engagement at Rogers, and there are endless opportunities.
In February and March each year, employees are encouraged to set goals and objectives for the year. They can take advantage of a whole suite of online seminars to develop and enhance a variety of skills, and help carve a path for new career opportunities.
As well, all employees can apply to be matched up with a mentor.
“Leadership development is a top priority,” says Reid. “Coaching is at the heart of it. It’s one of the things that threads through our career development programs.”
Career opportunities within Rogers have expanded greatly in the last five years. “We really encourage promoting from within,” Reid says. “Almost 60 per cent of our roles today are filled internally. It’s a really important part of our culture.”
Throughout the pandemic, new hires have been brought onboard virtually and have worked from home for the most part, and the company coached managers to ensure everyone was set up for success. “We did a lot of short, intense sessions to help our leaders lead remotely,” says Reid. “One of the key elements was about empathy and care, including the importance of starting meetings by checking in to see how people are doing, how their family is.”
For his part, Chin-A-Loy felt well supported from Day 1, although he hasn’t set foot in the office or met his colleagues face to face. “You feel trusted and supported right off the bat, even while working remotely,” he says. “The culture is really engaging and inclusive.”
Most Rogers employees will continue to work remotely part-time and be in the office for team meetings and collaborative work. Flexibility is key – a welcome innovation for many living in the Greater Toronto Area and dealing with sometimes long, trying commutes.
“Rogers corporate employees have started the shift to a hybrid way of working, where teams will come into the office to collaborate and make connections,” says Reid. “Employees are saying they’re not productive when they’re commuting, so flexibility will be key to our approach.”
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.”