B.C.’s Top Ten Companies
Vancouver | Manufacturing, construction and distribution
Kryton, a manufacturer of concrete waterproofing products, works around the globe and prides itself on bringing that international perspective to the workplace. “We embrace diversity and respect for the individual,” notes one employee. “Some of the best days to work here are when people have got their permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship; the whole office celebrates.”
Company: Kryton International Inc.
Title: Operations supervisor
In current position: Five years
Total time at company: 11 years
Kevin Grant was only planning to work a summer at Kryton when he joined the company in 1999. However, trained as a carpenter, Grant had potential that was recognized and channelled by Kryton president and CEO Kari Yuers on a track that’s seen him become operations supervisor at the company’s Vancouver plant. “She knew my skills in carpentry, and that’s where I wanted to head,” says Grant. “But she pulled me aside one day and said, ‘There’s tons of room for you to grow with this company.’”
This year’s Best Companies survey offers the most extensive snapshot of best practices among B.C. employers to date, with more than 100 businesses taking part. The overall winner will be familiar to BCBusiness readers, with Strangeloop Networks Inc. topping the list for the third year in a row, but there are also a number of surprises in this year’s results.
In addition to our overall ranking, we’ve introduced a friendly rivalry by breaking down results within industry sectors. Rather than having restaurants compete against banks and biotechs, for example, players within each sector are competing against each other.
We’ve identified 10 broad industry sectors, with a separate category for small businesses with between 25 and 50 employees.
One of the interesting findings is that while life sciences and health services companies accounted for only six per cent of participating companies this year, they collectively outscored other sectors in all four measurement categories: talent systems, employee engagement, leadership dynamics and organizational culture. Analyzing the results, our partners at MindField RPO Group Inc. suggest this may be because companies in the health sector typically focus on human interaction, and their emotional commitment may result in increased employee engagement and a clearly defined organizational culture.
Results also suggest a potential lesson about lines of communication: executive ranks tended to rate their companies the highest across all four categories of assessment, while the admin support and clerical ranks gave their companies the lowest scores. MindField analysts suggest this is because those at the top are closer to the vision and direction of their organization, while those at the bottom of the pay scale often feel disconnected from the big picture. The lesson: those companies that do their best to break down the communication gap from top to bottom will see results in employee engagement and organizational culture.
Another surprise: one in five employees participating in the survey has been with their company for less than one year. While this could indicate high turnover, generally high scores across the board suggest workforces are growing, rather than just churning.
One last finding that may go against the grain: despite all we’ve heard about disaffected youth, the happiest demographic are the under-25s. They represent about 18 per cent of survey participants, and they were more likely than any other age group to give their employers high scores.
So if you’re looking for ways to ensure your company shows up on future Best Companies lists, you might do well to heed lessons from this year’s survey: look for ways to get your employees emotionally invested in their work, ensure the company’s direction and vision are communicated clearly from top executives to front-line workers, and constantly refresh your workforce with new hires in the under-25 crowd.