Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 7, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why SilverChef Rentals Inc. was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2022):
- SilverChef Rentals helped employees stay connected over the past year with themed weekly challenges (Guess the Baby Picture, Guess the First Job, baking competitions), monthly happy hours, well-being Bingo, and holiday celebrations
- SilverChef Rentals encourages employees to save for the future with matching RSP contributions along with a deferred profit sharing plan that is open to employees
- SilverChef Rentals provides a health and lifestyle spending account which can be used for wide range of expenses, including fitness classes, golf green fees, ski passes, monthly parking and public transit, pet care and even tuition costs at academic institutions
Cooking up a supportive culture at SilverChef
Josh Stapelmann has advice for people starting a career at Vancouver’s SilverChef Rentals Inc.: work hard. “Everyone is so supportive,” says the market leader – west for SilverChef, which provides funding for commercial kitchen equipment. “Put your best effort in, and opportunities will come.” SilverChef was Stapelmann’s first job after completing his economics degree three years ago.
He started in credit solutions, working his way up to his current position, which he began about a year ago. “Throughout the organization there is a culture of recognition,” Stapelmann says. “Part of SilverChef’s focus is really on inclusion. Everyone feels involved, like family.”
Sandra Zalunardo, vice president, people and culture – Canada, agrees. “We need to take care of our employees. They are important to our business. We need to treat employees as being as important as customers.”
To achieve this, she says, representatives from each department meet biweekly to discuss all things culture – what’s working and changes that can be made.
When the pandemic forced people to work from home, Zalunardo says staff were provided with items from the office so they could continue to perform their tasks ergonomically. When she noticed staff were being impacted mentally by the pandemic, the company gave everyone a self-care day off with pay.
As a B Corp organization – a business that balances profit and purpose – “we try to make the world a better place, starting with employees,” she says.
Despite the hospitality industry being impacted by COVID-19, SilverChef didn’t lay off staff. The company held weekly “Connect Canada” meetings where employees met weekly to learn about business news, receive answers to questions asked anonymously through surveys, and play games.
“The games were a great way to keep connected and keep information flowing so no one felt in the dark,” Zalunardo says. “In fact, in a recent employee engagement survey, 86 per cent of employees said SilverChef did a great job of supporting them during the pandemic.”
SilverChef also came up with a Test Kitchen, where employees could submit ideas to improve business. Out of that came Customer Reconnect Day, where the sales team reached out to alumni customers with a promotion. “It was such a concentration of energy and focus with a specific purpose, which resulted in new business from previous customers for SilverChef,” Zalunardo says. “It was a great success.”
SilverChef also focused on learning development opportunities during the pandemic. Those currently in leadership roles, as well as those who showed an interest in growing into a leadership role, participated in a 12-week workshop.
Stapelmann says he learned how to build a team and receive feedback. Employees took part in sales, credit and finance training as well as career development.
It was a good mix of people who had leadership experience and those who did not, he says. “The takeaway is how supportive everyone in the company is. It was really a stepping stone strategy to give me confidence as a market leader.”
Stapelmann says the company acknowledged not everyone would stay at SilverChef, yet everyone participated by building plans that offered tools and resources they would need for success.
He points to more reasons why he loves working at SilverChef: the focus on employee development; benefits, including the RRSP match up to five per cent and a study leave for students working in the company; SilverChef’s commitment to helping Opportunity International, which provides loans to those living in poverty to grow their business; and how it helped its customers during COVID-19 by quickly rolling out a hardship program.
Employees are everything, Zalunardo says. “I am so proud of this team.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 4, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why SilverChef Rentals Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2022):
- SilverChef Rentals provides maternity leave top-up for new mothers (to 100 per cent of salary for up to 12 weeks) as well as a small top-up for fathers and adoptive parents (to 100 per cent of salary for up to two weeks)
- SilverChef Rentals encourages employees to become recruiters for the company with generous new employee referral bonuses when they successfully recruit a friend, up to $1,000 per successful hire
Balancing profit with core values at SilverChef
Right from his first interview with Vancouver-based SilverChef Rentals Inc., subject matter expert Travis Instone knew the hospitality equipment finance company was the place he wanted to work.
“They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable,” says Instone about his interview almost three years ago. “They asked tough questions but didn’t ask them in a way that that made me feel the answer was right or wrong.” Instead, Instone says, he felt respected and that his opinion mattered, something that still holds true today.
That feeling of being valued is one of the reasons Instone remains at the company. The other reason is his colleagues.
“This company and these people make me want to stay here,” he says. “Part of the culture is we all work for the common goal, which is to help people realize their dreams.”
As part of one of the industries negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Instone says he’s proud of how SilverChef pivoted to create a hardship program for its customers.
“Everyone remained so positive,” Instone says. “People came and worked really hard alongside each other. The people I work with is the reason for SilverChef’s success.”
Sandra Zalunardo, vice president, people and culture – Canada, can’t say enough about the SilverChef team and its resiliency.
“Our staff rose to the occasion,” she says. "It was a great learning experience. It reinforced our trust in our employees. I am so proud of this team.”
As a B Corp company since 2015, SilverChef goes beyond profit and looks at social and environmental issues. Staff benefit from this designation, and its core values – United, Courageous and Authentic – are applied every day, Zalunardo says.
“The B Corp designation complements our company’s philosophy,” she says. “We want to balance profit with employee satisfaction and create a great company culture. We live our values.”
When the pandemic hit, the company switched to a work-from-home model, hosting weekly check-ins to keep employees up to date; a team huddle, where team members who showcase the company’s values are called out for a job well done; and team-building activities. When staff appeared run down, SilverChef gave employees a day off with pay.
SilverChef also offers courses and promotes from within. Last year, nine employees were promoted, including Instone, who was hired as a customer service coordinator before being promoted in April.
Instone says he has taken a leadership management course and looks forward to participating in a credit and finance course later this year.
Another perk about working with SilverChef is the opportunity to live and work in other countries where the company has offices. Originally from New Zealand, Instone arrived in Canada after travelling. He was having trouble finding work when the opportunity at SilverChef came up and he applied for it. Once the pandemic is over, he, like other staff, has the ability to apply to work at another office – in Australia or perhaps, New Zealand.
But regardless of where he works, what he loves best is the ability to make a difference in the lives of others.
“We tell the truth and are transparent. We do the right thing no matter how hard it might be. We are generous. We are people who come in every day and do this amazing job. We work hard to help people achieve their dreams.”