With so many national and international head offices in or near Toronto, the 2011 winners of the fifth annual GTA's Top Employers contest faced fierce competition. Size didn't matter. Companies making this year's list range from Newmarket's XE.com Inc., in the Internet publishing and broadcasting sector, with a staff of 19, to Ontario Public Service, with 65,234 employees. Employers were compared with others in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.
The editors at Mediacorp Canada judged each employer's operations and human-resources practices according to the same eight criteria as the national competition of Canada's Top 100 Employers:
- physical workplace, which includes perks such as onsite gyms and lounges;
- work atmosphere and social, described as the overall culture, including organized events;
- health, financial and family benefits;
- vacation and time off;
- employee communications, which refer to the company's procedures to communicate and get feedback from employees;
- performance management, including performance reviews, recognition and rewards;
- training and skills development; and
- community involvement.
Richard Yerema, managing editor of Canada's Top 100 Employers, has observed an evolution in family-friendly policies, with virtually all employers offering maternity top-up payments now (from less than half a decade ago), as well as a variety of alternative working arrangements and increasingly generous vacation time - all making these companies exceptional places to work.