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Why these GTA employers earned 'Best in class'

J.P. Moczulski/J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail


Molson Coors Canada

Operates six breweries across the country, producing popular beer brands including Molson Canadian, Molson Export, Rickard's and Creemore.

Why perks matter:

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The employees at Molson Coors are rewarded with tickets to major sporting and entertainment events around the country.

"Beer is a very social business and Molson Coors has strong partnerships with key sports and entertainment properties, including all the major hockey franchises across the country, and the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto" says Ferg Devins, chief public affairs officer with Molson Coors.

"This often allows us access to tickets and we use some of these for rewards and recognition of our people."

Employees also receive discounts on company products, including beer vouchers for one 12-pack case of beer per week. Other perks include subsidized home Internet access and auto insurance. "We believe in connecting with Canadians through our employees," says Mr. Devins. "The beer allotment allows our employees to sample (our product) with neighbours, friends and family."

Physical environment perks include: a lounge with video games, pool table, foosball, dart boards, an outdoor patio with shuffleboard and an on-site fitness facility.

Number of GTA employees: 1,000

Main HR location: 33 Carlingview Drive, Toronto, ON M9W 5E4;

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Office and amenities:

Bayer Inc.

Bayer Inc., the Canadian subsidiary of Bayer AG, is a research-based company with core businesses in health care and crop science.

Why amenities matter: "Much of what we offer here are ideas that came from the employees on how to make a better life at work," says Gord Johnston, vice president, human resources. "We spend a lot of time here and at the same time we wanted to make it convenient for people by providing such facilities as an on site gym."

Employees can work out in the on site fitness facility that includes instructor-led classes in kickboxing and yoga, and a dedicated massage room and shower facilities.

When the weather co-operates, employees can burn off calories on the outdoor multi-purpose court, or on a walking trail called the Outback. They can also work on their golf game on the company putting green or by driving balls into nets.

There's an employee lounge featuring a Nintendo Wii and an on site cafeteria that offers healthy and special diet menus, subsidized meals, Starbucks coffee and fruit smoothies.

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The company has a 4 per cent or less turnover rate compared to the industry average of 7 to 8 per cent.

"I'd be hard put to say that [what the company offers]is a reason why people join the company but I can tell you for sure that it's a reason why people may not leave," Mr. Johnston says. "I've had senior managers say that it would be difficult to go to another company that didn't have what we offer."

Number of GTA employees: 400

Main HR location: 77 Belfield Road, Toronto, ON M9W 1G6;

Training and leadership development:

Bank of Montreal

Bank of Montreal is Canada's oldest bank.

Why training and leadership development matter:

Last year, BMO invested nearly $69 million in training and development for its employees. The bank supports ongoing skills development and helps employees advance their careers by covering tuition fees for courses at outside institutions (with no annual maximum), awarding up to $1,000 bonuses for course completions, providing hundreds of courses at its Institute for Learning in Toronto, and through its formal mentoring program, career planning workshops and other in-house and online training options.

Number of GTA employees: 15,000

Main HR location: 1 First Canadian Place, P.O. Box 150, Toronto, ON M5X 1H3;

Work/life balance:

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. It operates through three primary hospital sites - the main Bayview Campus, the Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre, and the Women & Babies Program at the Women's College Hospital.

Why work/life balance matters: "Our staff, as you can imagine, work in a very stressful environment, not only caring for very ill or injured people but coping with their families experiencing grief and shock," says Marilyn Reddick, vice pesident of human resources and organizational development at Sunnybrook.

The hospital tries to build and sustain employees with benefits, such as flexible working hours, telecommuting and a shortened work week with fewer hours and less pay.

With baby boomers beginning to retire, the hospital is also offering a variety of work arrangements to let employees ease their way into retirement.

Other benefits include: parental leave top-up for new fathers (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks); parental leave top-up for adoptive parents (to 93 per cent of salary for 10 weeks); and an onsite daycare centre; with 70 spaces and 21 childcare workers.

Number of GTA staff, physicians, volunteers and students: 10,000

Main HR location: 2075 Bayview Ave., Toronto, ON M4N 3M5;

Career networking:

EllisDon Corporation

EllisDon Corporation is one of Canada's largest general contracting, construction and project management firms.

Why career networking matters:

For those wanting to build international contacts, the company has offices in the United States, the West Indies and the United Arab Emirates.

There's also the opportunity to make connections outside of the construction industry, as EllisDon also provides clients with related services in the areas of: equity financing, information technology and consulting services.

"It's kind of a funny thing, that employees build up these networking opportunities and it helps us recruit and retain them but in a way most never utilize those networks [to leave]for other jobs," says Rishma Mangat, director of marketing and communications at EllisDon.

Number of GTA employees: Approximately 432 (including field and head office staff).

Main HR location: 89 Queensway Ave W, Suite 800, Mississauga, ON L5B 2V2;

Special to The Globe and Mail

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