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Dentsu Canada encourages employees to get to know each other during team-building activities where they can showcase their personal passion projects.Provided

For Dentsu Canada Inc. CEO Stephen Kiely, doing good business also has a lot to do with doing good in the world. “We believe in using modern creativity and marketing practices in ways that add to our culture, improve society and can lead to inventing a better future,” says Kiely.

A good example, he adds, is the recent work the Toronto-based creative and marketing development company did with Dyslexia Canada to raise awareness about a condition that afflicts up to 20 per cent of the population.

Dentsu created “the world’s hardest-to-read website,” to give internet users a sense of what it’s like to live with dyslexia. Launched on Family Literacy Day, the website was ultimately viewed by more than 700,000 Canadians.

“Dyslexia is a learning disability that gets far too little attention,” observes Kiely. “So we’re very proud of that campaign and that we’ve helped Dyslexia Canada’s concerns be recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.”

Other examples cited by Kiely include the company’s work with Skip the Dishes to create a dynamic online tool that’s helping Canadian families navigate inflated retail food prices as well as the support Dentsu provided to Subway Canada to increase awareness around Subway’s Never Miss Lunch program, which provides nutritious meals to children in need during summer school breaks.

Kiely says this kind of work is highly motivating for Dentsu’s 1,100+ employees across Canada (the company also has offices in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver).

“Human beings are looking for purpose in their work,” says Kiely. “And that’s why we recruit, and attract, people who want to be a force for good.”

One of those people is Belinda Bonsu, who joined Dentsu in 2020, attracted in part by the company’s progressive stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, and is now human resources director.

“I’m not on the creative or media side, but when I see our finished products, I know I played a part in them,” says Bonsu. “That’s really inspiring and gives us all a big energy boost.”

Dentsu employees directly give back through volunteering, including taking part in the global company’s annual One Day for Change, which sees employees volunteer in their communities for causes that typically have a strong focus on sustainability and social inequities.

Dentsu also hosts a wide range of employee-driven business resource groups, many of which focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. These include groups supporting Black and LGBTQ+ employees, as well as recent immigrants to Canada.

A unique team-building exercise is known as the Dentsu marketplace. This brings together employees who have personal passions such as jewelry-making, fashion design or creating children’s books on a quarterly basis.

“It gives them an opportunity to showcase and sell their works,” says Bonsu, “and gives all of us a chance to know each other better.”

Employee wellness is another key priority. Over the past year, Dentsu introduced new parental leave top-up aimed at both female and male employees. In addition to already robust vacation provisions, the company also introduced paid annual wellness days that can be taken at an employee’s discretion.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we recognized that people sometimes just need a break to recharge,” says Kiely. “These wellness days are part of a larger effort to alleviate workload or personal pressures people may be experiencing. If that’s the case, we just ask them to put up their hands; we’re here to catch them and work through it.”

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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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