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Employees at Labatt Breweries of Canada can collaborate and learn new skills in its recently built training room.Provided

In March of 2022, Victoria Mubarack began working at Labatt Breweries of Canada. As operations and facilities manager, she was tasked with reopening the head office in Toronto that had been closed for two years due to the pandemic.

“We celebrated the reopening over coffee and breakfast, and everyone was excited,” Mubarack, now rewards manager, says. “But after that, I wondered how we could encourage people to leave home and come back to work at the office and collaborate with their teams.”

Mubarack says she finds that people are easy to approach at Labatt, so she asked to meet with Beatriz Grubesic, vice-president, people. They had a dialogue, and Mubarack was given the go-ahead to start a committee to come up with engagement strategies. Announced at a town hall meeting called a Stein Session, the Engagement Committee soon attracted eight volunteer members from across several departments, and the group planned 20 events from June to the end of the year.

Employees attended in-house yoga classes and used the office pool table for a pool championship. They celebrated International Beer Day that August with an event at the on-site pub. “People came back to the office to work and play collaboratively,” says Mubarack. “Whether we’re working on my target area or that of my colleague, we want to achieve everything together.”

And that collaboration inspired a head-office renovation. “It always starts with rethinking ways of working,” says Grubesic. “We want a space that really invites collaboration, creativity and innovation – one that encourages meaningful interactions through one-to-one meetings, team gatherings, town halls or engagement activities.”

Labatt made significant upgrades to bring more light into the office, created a new training room where employees could come together to learn new skills, and updated the pub, the social heart of the office. “We want our employees to thrive and our clients to have a good experience when they visit,” says Grubesic.

Mubarack and her facilities team oversaw the work. Although it was her first time being responsible for a renovation, Mubarack found she had the support she needed from her experienced team and her managers. “It was a challenge for the team,” she says. “But when Labatt employees take on a shared goal, we harness our collective force. We call it, ‘The Power of You x The Power of Us.’ When we saw the impact the new space has on how we work, we were glad this project had come to us!”

Working and volunteering on multiple projects helped Mubarack make a career change. During the renovation she found that her first love is working with people. She has moved to a new department and is enjoying the challenge of her position as rewards manager.

“Labatt offers employees broad experience – through rotating terms in different departments for our interns and through interdepartmental collaboration – so that people can make cross-functional moves,” says Grubesic. “We may create a path they hadn’t thought about.”

And Labatt not only helps people to connect internally, but employees can also connect and give back to the community. The company creates opportunities for them to volunteer. They do beach cleanups under the Corona beer brand. They auction off sports tickets and memorabilia to raise money for local charities. And they have participated in the Terry Fox run for the past 10 years.

“The core goal of my job is to keep up with employees,” says Grubesic. “Labatt wanted to be ahead of the curve in connecting with employees and offering perks after COVID. We aim to create a future with more cheers.”

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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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