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What an incredible year we have had! Leaders were put to the test and what we found, while surprising to some, was not surprising to us. Leaders at the Best Workplaces in Canada were able to leverage the trust they had so carefully fostered over time, to act swiftly and boldly to make things better for their people and their communities. Independent of the numerous challenges faced by organizations of all industries, the voice of thousands of Canadians across the country says that for GREAT companies the pandemic actually had a positive impact on trust overall.


Leaders had to make some tough decisions to balance the needs of the business with the health and safety of their employees. Most organizations tightened their purse strings to brace for the unknown. Where layoffs were unavoidable, every effort was made to support employees with extended benefits coverage, job transition support or other forms of assistance.

Faced with massive challenges, great leaders stood out, enabling organizations to shift gears quickly, clearing the path for innovation and agility. Changes, that would have taken six months to implement prior, were successfully executed within the space of a week. While some companies already had an agile mindset, others had to develop it on the fly. Despite where we started, we all learned to be nimbler this past year.


Employees at the Best Workplaces report a significant increase in the frequency of direct communication from leaders who found new ways to drive messages out to an often-remote workforce. Over-communicating became the new norm, keeping employees up to date on rapidly changing situations and providing clarity around what was expected of employees and what they could expect from their employer.

Because everyone was in uncharted territory, the best way to navigate the pandemic wasn’t clear – the Best Workplaces, however, tuned in more closely to their employees. Many took advantage of our free COVID pulse survey to monitor employee sentiment. Others gathered employee feedback in a more frequent and systematic way and worked toward creating an authentic culture of listening.

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We know leaders are critical to setting direction and we know they are critical to enabling others to lead. Maximizing human potential has become the mantra of the Best Workplaces in Canada, and the urgency of recent challenges inspired employees from all levels of the organization to rise-up and do what needed to be done. We saw individual contributors volunteering in other departments where they were most needed, people leaders serving clients curbside because their employees had been sent home, CEOs delivering computer monitors to employees so they could work more comfortably from home, and employees and employers collaborating to fundraise for their communities. We heard of teams working together in entirely new ways, understanding that colleagues might be dealing with stressors in their personal lives and effectively redistributing the work to make it manageable for everyone.

While we would have expected camaraderie to suffer during the pan-demic, people found creative ways to stay connected and enjoy each other’s company. For essential workers on site, team lunches were replaced with brown bag lunches that could be en-joyed at a distance. For people work-ing remotely, the festivities moved online with virtual happy hours, comedy shows, photo challenges and more. While most of us long for the day when we can interact with our co-workers in person, the Best Workplaces have shown that genuine connection even at a distance is still possible.

There is no question we have been challenged this past year – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially – but we have also seen our humanity in the workplace through a different lens. The courage, humility and generosity displayed by our Best Workplaces in Canada has been so inspiring, and we are proud you have chosen to partner with us on your trust-building journey.

As we continue to navigate uncertain times, one thing is certain: we are better together.

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with Great Place To Work Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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