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Chris Preston, director of customer experience, connects with his colleagues in informal gathering spaces at Mattamy Homes.Provided

On his commute to and from work, Chris Preston passes by a few of the communities that his employer, Mattamy Homes Limited, has constructed, and it’s like a walk down memory lane.

As director of customer experience, Preston may not have been swinging a hammer, but he knows the homes inside out. “It’s almost like a collage of our previous work,” he says. “There is a kind of special feeling; we’re all contributing to this enduring structure and significant product for our customers.”

Preston has been with Mattamy for almost 12 years, during which time he has worn many hats. Six years ago, the company moved him from the customer care team into a new, corporate role. “Mattamy invested in my career trajectory by carving a new path, allowing my professional development to continue,” he says. “Employees are always invested in and they’re able to pursue work that’s fulfilling for them. It’s a very dynamic workplace.”

For CEO Brad Carr, it’s a no-brainer. “I often say the biggest risk we have with top talent is not letting them spread their wings. They’re looking for opportunity, and we focus on creating that for them at Mattamy.” The company does its best to create opportunities for people like Preston to try something new, he says. “They can have all sorts of new experiences and build a career within the organization.”

Mattamy invests in its talent in other ways, too, Carr explains. During the pandemic, the company “doubled down on our real estate,” he says, building brand-new offices for its low-rise and urban divisions.

“We started with the notion that we wanted to create cultural magnets,” Carr says. “We wanted to create spaces that drew people back to the office as opposed to obligating them to come back. We wanted people to feel a little bit of FOMO [fear of missing out] if they weren’t there – a little bit of pull instead of push.”

The renovations included multiple collaboration spaces and, in the low-rise office, a second chair in those spaces for every chair at a desk. Mattamy also included several informal gathering places for staff to hang out together. In the low-rise office, that includes a central park with casual seating and trees, skylights and coffee bars. “While the pandemic put us behind screens, we really longed to be with people,” Carr says. “We’ve tried to create offices that really encourage that.”

For employees like Preston, those changes speak volumes. “There are games rooms and multiple kitchens, the park, a wellness room, even a nutritionist on call, and you walk around and very quickly get a sense of how much we are valued,” he says.

Mattamy founder Peter Gilgan’s philosophy was that the company gets the best out of its employees if each employee gets the most out of their colleagues. Carr shares his belief that encouraging each employee to care for their colleagues makes everyone feel cared for by the company.

“The culture is created by the team, not by leadership,” he says. “And so we’re very open to listening to what they’re saying. We create a lot of opportunities for them to tell us how they’re feeling about things. We do a lot of very intentional survey work and also a lot of just anecdotal listening.”

For Carr, it’s the secret sauce in Mattamy’s success. “There’s no doubt in my mind that a strong culture and top talent are the biggest competitive advantages any company can have.”

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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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