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Burr Smith, CEO, making opening remarks at the 20th anniversary event at Broadsign.Provided

From the very first contact Anne Bouthot had with Montréal-based Broadsign, she knew it was a special company. “It wasn’t like a normal interview,” says the product manager. “It felt more like they were looking for a culture fit. They’re careful to make sure that the people who are being hired align with the company values and they know you’re going to be an asset to the team.”

CEO Burr Smith concedes that there’s a special feeling among the employees at the out-of-home advertising technology company. “There’s some magic about Broadsign because of the group of people and the way we interact with each other,” he says. “The way we communicate is somehow different than at other places.”

In Bouthot’s early days with Broadsign, the focus was on making sure she was comfortable and that she had everything she needed. “Having worked at other tech companies, the expectation is often that you’re up and running and delivering right away with minimal help and minimal resources,” she says. “A really big strength is that Broadsign focuses so much on making sure that the environment is inviting, that you’re comfortable to ask questions and that you have every single tool possible to succeed.”

Contributing to the community feeling at Broadsign are monthly “Montréal Weeks,” during which many of the company’s executives travel in to work out of head office. “We’re all encouraged to socialize and that’s where I might end up having a conversation with the chief technology officer – and that’s normal,” says Bouthot. “We’re one big company all working towards the same goal. There really are no questions that you can’t ask.”

Smith doesn’t believe in micromanaging any of his executive committee members. “We want smart people to be able to do what they know they need to do within our values and our corporate direction,” he says. “So that’s the tone we aim for. If you treat people with respect, they normally respond in a good way.”

Those values drive Broadsign’s relationships with its customers as well. “We have an advantage with clients because they’ve heard about our reputation and they know that we’re going to be predictable, we’re going to be transparent, we’re going to do what we say we’re going to do and we’re going to try to do the right thing,” says Burr. “It gives us an advantage when we’re doing business. People inside the company understand that we’re serious about that too. And it draws the community together better.”

Bouthot appreciates the changes that the company is trying to make. For one thing, Broadsign is committed to being carbon neutral by the end of 2024 – an initiative that is unanimously encouraged, Burr says. To that end, each month the company assesses its carbon footprint and determines the steps needed to reduce it over time.

Burr would also like to see more female engineers at the company. Bouthot is part of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee and says the push for more women in technical roles is real. “They’re really trying to be as inclusive and diverse as possible,” she says, “which is commendable, especially in a sphere like tech, where it’s still a very male-dominated industry.”

Broadsign’s values and its determination to always get better may be a good part of the reason why there is such a high rate of employees who have been there for five years and more – uncommon in the tech industry. “It’s not just about salary,” says Bouthot. “The fact that people are staying for as long as they do is because of the community that’s formed.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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