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Campbell Company of Canada employees collaborating on a charitable team-building activity in their cafeteria.Provided

Four years ago, Kat Clifford began working with Campbell Company of Canada in sales. She took a one-year development assignment in the marketing department and received the award for Marketer of the Year.

“I loved it,” says Clifford, since promoted to marketing permanently as a brand manager. “This team has so much excitement and energy. No idea is too big or too small.”

“We do a lot of work on the employee value experience,” says Jim Gauthier, vice-president of sales and marketing, Canada foodservice. “Campbell’s pays attention to employees’ career paths, offering a lattice of opportunities – not just vertical, but also lateral assignments that may position them for a different role.”

Clifford’s new role gave her the opportunity to work with colleagues across departments to create a sponsored, experiential event at Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. The team came up with the idea to offer flights of Snyder’s of Hanover pretzel pieces to be paired with beer samplers.

“We had a tent with games and swag,” says Clifford. “Our general manager participated in a ceremonial keg tapping at the event. And colleagues from Toronto came out to support us.”

Clifford says her team always tries to bring the spirit of events back to employees. They offered desk drops of pretzel flights in the Mississauga office. And employees across Canada played Oktoberfest Bingo and received tie-dyed pretzel T-shirts as prizes.

One colleague came into the office wearing a tie-dyed pretzel tee under a blazer with cargo pants. “Everyone loved it,” says Clifford. “Our dress code since the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘dress for your day’ corporate casual.”

Since pandemic shutdowns kept people apart, Clifford finds that employees are coming to the office with intention. “People don’t eat at their desks as much. The cafeteria is full! There are events, and you can feel the energy in the office,” she says.

Gauthier sees other changes in the way employees work at Campbell. He says the company is improving inclusivity and diversity through collaboration. “At all meetings, the leads are expected to gain and consider everyone’s input,” Gauthier says. “This is how we collaborate.”

In addition, events organized by employee resource groups offer information on different cultures – and sometimes food. Members of the ‘Women Inclusion Network’ have organized mentor circles and speaker events. This year, Campbell observed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a day off, and an educational event was offered to employees in Toronto, led by Steve Tooshkenig of the Walpole Island First Nation.

The company also offers learning and development opportunities through a platform called Campbell University. “If you want to learn about financial analytics, or just improve your Excel skills, there is a module for that,” says Gauthier. This past year, Campbell offered training in negotiation across the United States and Canada. “Our different teams had the opportunity to work through it together,” says Gauthier.

The team concept permeates meetings, or huddles, as well. Gauthier says weekly cross-Canada huddles have a ‘shout out’ portion to recognize colleagues. There are also quarterly town halls, where employees are nominated for a ‘High Five Award,’ and a year-end awards ceremony.

Chosen to co-host the Canadian awards ceremony, Clifford believes that receiving acknowledgement is important. “People work hard,” she says. “Being recognized goes a long way and is part of what inspires me.”

Clifford was attracted to Campbell by her love of soup. “I had a soup club in university,” she says. And though she hasn’t yet worked on the soup brand, she says working at Campbell has exceeded her expectations. “Being a part of the team here is invigorating.”

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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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