Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 10, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Visa Canada Corporation was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
- Visa Canada offers a full suite of financial benefits, from year-end bonuses to a share purchase plan -- and helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan and matching RSP contributions
- Visa Canada's foundation announced $10-million to provide immediate emergency relief to front-line community organizations (such as Food Banks Canada) and has focused on the longer term through a $200-million program to support the recovery and re-building of small businesses
- Visa Canada supports ongoing employee development through a variety of in-house and online training initiatives, as well as generous tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions (to $2,500)
Unplugged can mean connected at Visa Canada
Samantha Pang started her position as manager of product and strategy at Visa Canada in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when everyone was working at home and in-person onboarding was not possible. Luckily, the company had developed a program to help ease her into her role and familiarize her with the organization.
“I was really impressed with the resources I was offered, and how well organized it was,” Pang says. “I had a buddy who was my go-to person for any general questions, and my manager helped with specific info about my work. Plus I had several check-ins with the HR team, which had a checklist with all the training and administrative tasks I needed to do.”
Pang was also given access to Visa’s internal online platform where she could find company information and a glossary explaining its acronyms, and Visa University, where she could sign up for classes taught by professionals. “I’ve registered for courses on how to succeed at Visa as well as on cryptocurrency, presentation skills, diversity and inclusion – it’s great.”
The amount of attention given to making employees feel comfortable and supported is what sets Visa Canada apart, according to country manager and president Stacey Madge. “We have a unique, almost family-like culture that’s highly collaborative,” she says. “Our focus is on employee engagement, health and wellness, inclusion and diversity, and leadership development.”
During the pandemic, the company reimagined more than 50 events to keep home-bound employees healthy and connected, from bi-weekly chats with Madge to team lunches, fitness challenges and cooking classes, as well as cultural celebrations and discussions about diversity and inclusion.
“We also launched our Unplugged series, which has been extremely popular,” Madge says. “Once a quarter, at the end of the day, we’ll have a virtual wine or cheese or chocolate tasting, with a local small business owner talking about the products and opportunities for employees to chat in small groups. It’s a lot of fun.”
Visa employees also engage in community and charitable efforts, such as Volunteer Month activities, winter coat drives and the Weekend to Conquer Cancer walk, in which a third of the office participated this year.
Leadership development is another key focus. “We take it very seriously,” says Madge, adding that 15 per cent of Visa Canada’s employees were either promoted or made a lateral move within Visa last year.
“I meet with a number of people every quarter to focus on their development and support them in their new opportunities,” she says. “Sometimes they’re taking on an initiative with other teams; sometimes it’s a totally different role. We also started a quarterly series that brings our leaders together to talk about what we should be doing to support our people.”
The career and business support also extends to the wider community. In 2021, Visa Canada joined the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR), which supports diverse populations through mentorship opportunities and job training. It also launched the She’s Next grant program, which provides $10,000 grants and mentoring support to 10 women – expanding to 20 this year – to help their small businesses grow.
Volunteers in the Visa office are the ones who pick the winning candidates for the She’s Next program, providing yet another opportunity for employee engagement. Says Madge: “The fact that it’s a group of employees from our office doing the choosing rather than senior leaders really helps engage our people and makes it very rewarding for them.”