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Kevan Gorrie, president and CEO at Granite, at the New York Stock Exchange.Provided

When Flavia Murillo joined Granite in 2021 as a property accounting manager, she was looking for a chance to grow her career in a growing company. At that time, the Toronto-based real estate investment trust wanted to internalize its accounting function rather than outsource it, which was just the kind of challenge Murillo welcomed.

“It was a great opportunity for me to build my own team to do the property accounting function in-house,” says Murillo. “The individuals we attracted come from different levels of experience, but there’s a willingness and a desire to learn more. I have a wealth of knowledge in my field and like to teach, so mentoring is important. My focus is always to empower people to do the job they need to do.”

Within a year, Murillo was promoted to her current position as senior manager, global property accounting. What she appreciates most is the supportive culture with opportunities for learning and the ability to be promoted within the company.

“I feel very valued and that feeling of being valued goes a long way in making people more engaged,” says Murillo. “Granite has a great working environment where everybody takes ownership and pride in their work, at the same time, they’re open to sharing. If you have a question, they’re ready to help.”

A high level of engagement is the key to Granite’s success, according to president and CEO Kevan Gorrie, who feels the company has “a very special group of naturally engaged people” – something it has targeted in recruiting.

“Your clients feel a different energy when the employees are actually engaged and you can tell they care about what they do,” says Gorrie. “It’s important to nurture trust and care between employees to foster that engagement.”

One way the company has done that is through its annual retreat for all employees – most recently in the Greater Toronto Area – no easy feat with offices in Toronto, Dallas, Amsterdam and Vienna. It’s also important to listen to your people. After feedback from an engagement survey last year suggested employees wanted to know more about the business and customers, the leadership team followed up.

“When we hosted our retreat, the No. 1 priority was getting everyone together and encouraging communication,” says Gorrie. “We also make sure each year to give different employees the opportunity to talk about what they do within the company and to offer their perspectives.

“Additionally, we take everyone to tour some of our properties so people can literally feel and know what we’re doing – and that really helps. Another thing is to involve as many stakeholders as we practically can in planning and decision-making within the company.”

Coming out of COVID-19, the company adopted a hybrid work model with employees allowed to work remotely two days a week and in-person on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“One of the primary reasons we want people together in the office is collaboration,” says Gorrie. “It’s an open culture with a high level of communication, and very entrepreneurial. Our strength is in our ability to make decisions quickly and thoughtfully, and to be decisive and move forward.

“I also love that we’re not too big a company, so that I know everybody’s name and can interact with people.”

Murillo would agree that even though they were just as productive working from home during the pandemic, human interaction matters.

“Collaborating, bouncing back ideas, getting to know people at a little more personal level – all make the work easier,” she says. “It makes a difference for our mental health.”

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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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