There was a moment last April that stood out for Marta Golden, senior learning architect at technology leader, ABB Canada, during an HR initiative and one-day event for employees known as Learn, Connect, Grow.
While Golden and her colleagues were speaking about their career experiences, a young man stood up and said, “I’m hearing all these stories of how you’ve been here 10, 15, 20 years. As a brand-new employee, I’m wondering what makes it so easy for people to stay?”
“I have shivers thinking about it,” says Golden. “That opened up the floodgates of people raising their hands to share how their careers had been shaped and developed. You could feel the heart in people telling their stories.”
Response to this global ABB event, involving 30 countries and 20,000 participants, was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and included events held at four sites across Canada.
“We’re committed to building a culture that recognizes that we all want to grow,” says Golden, who led the project. “We all need to learn in a changing world, and learning is best done collaboratively. Post COVID-19, people have been in this state of disconnect, so they really appreciated the opportunity to show up for live events.”
Niki Murphy, talent acquisition and talent advancement lead for Canada, says the day’s events tapped into ABB’s values of courage, care, curiosity and collaboration – such as learning through gamification and collaboration in challenges such as ABB’s spin on an ‘Amazing Race-style’ activity or designing a robot from play dough.
“The synergy was electric with everyone having so much fun while learning,” says Murphy. “It got people connecting in person and learning about career opportunities and the support we have for career development.”
ABB Canada has an open job-market policy that promotes internal mobility. No matter the level, employees can apply for any position at any time.
“All candidates who meet the requirements of the position must be seriously considered and given feedback,” explains Murphy. “Additionally, this policy is confidential for employees, so if you’re curious to find out if a position is the right fit, you can go through the entire interview process confidentially.”
ABB provides multiple learning and development tools, including the Harvard SPARK platform which encompasses anything from working on your emotional intelligence to getting certified in Lean Six Sigma. There are also leadership and global trainee programs, discovery programs for early talents, and tuition reimbursement for approved courses.
“We’re shifting our thought process towards hiring people, not just for their current skill set, but for their potential skill set,” says Murphy. “The culture at ABB is that we promote self-learning – we give you the time to invest in yourself. It keeps employees engaged and we retain their talent.”
That describes Golden’s career journey. She joined in 1996 as a computer programmer in research and development, then “had this wonderful, creative opportunity” to take a steep learning curve into HR that aligned with her passion for leadership learning. After 12 years in the field, she says she’s still having fun.
“ABB is a big playground, but it’s not only about changing roles,” says Golden. “It’s also about growing through special tasks and projects as well as through opportunities for stretch assignments.
“Why do I stay? I’ve had such a growth journey that’s walked hand in hand with my personal journey. Now the two have come together to where I’m truly living my mission and purpose – to empower people, to help them connect with each other and get them firing on all cylinders.”
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.