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Crown Property Management makes coaching mandatory for managers to help guide the career paths of their teams.Provided

In 2019, Rainu Singh read a job posting for a human resources generalist at Toronto-based Crown Property Management Inc. that described the human resources department as a “blank canvas.” That appealed to her. “I knew the role would provide growth opportunities and allow me to develop new programs to engage employees,” she says.

When Singh joined the company, which acquires, leases, manages, and redevelops commercial real estate assets across Ontario, she had only four years of experience managing human resources and payroll. “I thought I was too junior for the position, but I felt supported right from the interview process,” she says. “Because of that, I’ve been able to find my voice and trust that my ideas matter.”

Mentorship was integral to her progression to director of people and culture in 2022, in particular from managing partners. Singh has benefited from weekly meetings with her boss and managing partner, and she and other women in the organization have been mentored by other senior leaders who are role models for strong women rising through the ranks. In fact, 64 per cent of senior management at Crown are women.

“Our CEO is very involved with human resources, but I have autonomy,” says Singh. “Elsewhere, HR doesn’t always have a seat at decision-making tables, but that isn’t the case here. And I’ve had great mentorship conversations on how to speak up and have my voice heard.”

Last year, notes Les Miller, managing partner and CEO, coaching was added as a mandatory requirement for all managers to help guide their teams’ career paths. Now managers are formally mentoring their teams, through an agenda set by staff, to share successes and challenges in a safe environment. “We’ve chosen external trainers with different techniques to coach our managers, because we know that not everyone learns the same way, and we hope this helps build culture,” says Miller.

A culture of caring is key, both within the company and the community. The environmental, social and governance committee supports charities in local communities, and the Toronto and Ottawa teams have direct involvement with food banks. A new community service program credits up to 16 hours of volunteer time at a charity in return for the equivalent time off work.

To help welcome new employees, Miller takes them to breakfast for some face-to-face time and career planning. Celebrating wins is also important – annual recognition awards have moved to quarterly, and team leads have special budgets allocated to celebrating employees’ successes.

Diversity is also a focus. “We haven’t figured it all out because we’re still learning, but we’re committed to building wherever we need to build,” says Miller. “We do know that the more diverse input we get from our people, the better the results.”

Singh points to diversity, equity and inclusion surveys that are showing who their employees are and where more representation is needed. “I’m a young brown woman, and it’s nice to look around the room and see others who look like me,” she says. “Diversity is valued here, both in people’s backgrounds and their ideas.”

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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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