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LCBO builds a spirited culture through employee resource groups and tailoring engagement activities for each division.Provided

Archie Karanxha has worked for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) for almost as long as he’s lived in Canada. After immigrating in September 2000, Karanxha got a warehouse job with the LCBO through a temp agency and then was hired full-time. When he applied for a customer service role three years later, he was swiftly plucked off the floor by his general manager.

“He said, ‘Would you be interested in using some of your other skills? I read your resume and you have qualifications,’” says Karanxha, now the LCBO’s director of commercial services, who just celebrated 23 years with the organization. “I’d never experienced that kind of support before.”

That support was a through-line in Karanxha’s career as he took on progressively senior roles at the Toronto-based Crown corporation. “Our organization has cultivated a culture to make you a better human being. They make you believe in yourself,” he says. “To get ahead you need leadership support, you need your own talent and you need team support. If those three are balanced, there’s no limit, and I’ve been lucky to feel this balance at the LCBO for all these years.”

In addition to helping employees grow within the organization, the LCBO has a spirited company culture with divisions organizing regular events for their teams to gather, including step challenges and friendship potlucks. At the organizational level, LCBO and its employee resource groups organize events to recognize and celebrate important dates like International Women’s Day, Black History Month, International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Pride Month.

Cassandra Machado, a store manager in Aurora, says the LCBO ensures that front-line employees across the province feel connected to the company and their colleagues, efforts that have increased over the past few years with fireside chats, employee surveys and team huddles. “Even though you’re remote, communication and technology brings us all together,” she says.

During the pandemic, Machado says she never felt alone. “They were offering support, asking ‘Is there anything we can do? Here’s some information, here’s the latest bulletin, here are tools that we can get you,’” she says. “I got all this support, and if I needed assistance it was there.”

Machado joined the LCBO in 2010 and says the culture and wealth of opportunities have kept her at the organization. Working in retail management can often involve being moved around to different stores and facing long commutes and a variety of shift times, but Machado says the LCBO has given her a much better work-life balance.

“To put my hand up and say, ‘I need support, could you help me with this?’ and have them take action on it, that’s what everybody wants,” she says. “I’ve never felt like I didn’t matter.”

Machado is hoping to one day move into another facet of retail at the LCBO. She continues to build her skills with on-the-job opportunities by leading regional hiring and joining committees. “There are so many different opportunities and avenues for development here,” she says. “I’m looking forward to my future at the LCBO.”

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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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