Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 13, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why SilverChef Rentals Inc. was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2023):
- SilverChef Rentals encourages employees to save for the future with matching RSP contributions along with a deferred profit sharing plan and year-end bonus programs that are open to all employees
- SilverChef Rentals encourages employees to become recruiters for the company with generous new employee referral bonuses, to $1,000 for successful new hires
- 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
Values build culture for employees at SilverChef
As the Canadian arm of a business based in Australia, SilverChef Canada has found its Vancouver head office is the best place to communicate across an ocean’s worth of time zones. But for Blake Harte, an operations team lead at the company, there’s no better place to work.
“It’s just great to work in downtown Vancouver,” he says. “It’s beautiful. As a team and as a business in Canada, we are very active; everybody on the team is very outdoorsy and takes advantage of the beauties of B.C.”
SilverChef rents and leases equipment to the restaurant and hospitality trades, a very specialized business that Sandra Zalunardo, the company’s vice president of people and culture, says requires very specific skill sets.
A background in hospitality, whether it’s in a kitchen or waiting or bartending in college, helps, but Zalunardo says that “hospitality is great, but it’s a combination of hospitality and finance – we really want someone to understand the financial aspects more strongly than the hospitality.”
Harte adds that people skills are also very important. “I brought customer-facing experience to my role. I would say that you have to be really good with people, and the other skills can be taught. But you can’t teach how to be compassionate or understanding of people’s emotions.”
Team-building has always been a priority for the company, with 16 paid volunteer hours for each employee and a list of charities the company supports. Harte says he spent a lot of his hours at the food bank, which SilverChef supports along with charities like Plenty of Plates, a provider of meals for residents of the city’s disadvantaged Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.
“There’s so many charities out there that sometimes it’s hard to focus in on which ones we want to support,” Zalunardo says, “so we find it helpful to have a guideline around lifting people out of poverty, but it’s not exclusive to that. This is very much aligned to the corporate charity we support, Opportunity International, who provides micro-loans to people in third world countries to start their own business.”
Zalunardo says that SilverChef puts a lot of emphasis on core values in its workplace culture. “The core values of an organization are key to understanding what its culture is all about,” she says.
“At SilverChef it’s about inclusivity, it’s about authenticity. It’s about being courageous, integrity, teamwork, being respectful of different staff members. Once you have that, you have a road map to how we’re going to interact with each other.”
Promotion of those values is part of a program of rewards for employees across the company who exceed specific goals. There are five annual awards where employees can be nominated by leaders or other employees, including the Core Values Champion award, with a cash prize of $1,000. Zalunardo proudly points out that many employees are put forward, as there are so many examples of people living their core values.
And then there’s the SilverChef Champion, an employee of the year award with a prize of $5,000 that Harte won – the first Canadian to receive it.
“I was kind of shocked to get it, honestly,” he says. Beyond hitting sales targets by over 200 per cent, he’s sure that volunteer work as well as serving on company committees like its LGBTQ+ committee helped him get noticed. It was all about “pushing for what’s right” and “just having social responsibility,” he says.
“I feel like I won because I was just being myself and being a positive influence.”
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.”