2016 National HR Awards

2016 National HR Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 National HR Awards, presented by Canadian HR Reporter and Thomson Reuters and made possible by our sponsors: Venngo, Queen's University IRC and Canadian Lawyer.

We had a record number of nominations this year and we uncovered some fascinating and inspiring stories in workplace across the country. Without further ado, here are the winners.

 

Venngo healthy workplaces award

Winner: Fidelity Investments Canada

Big-picture thinking is the driving force behind Fidelity Investment Canada's dedication to health and wellness — which is one of the reasons the 876-employee company won the Venngo Healthy Workplaces Award.

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QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY IRC PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AWARD

Winner: PotashCorp

Every major company has some type of training program for workers and managers, but PotashCorp wanted one that would stay with participants, long after the classroom door closed.

"Lots of companies know what good looks like, but actually making it stick, that transfer of learning (is difficult)," says Candace Laing, senior director of organization and talent development at PotashCorp in Saskatoon. "You can give people a good dip into a one-day course but then how do you sustain it?"

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EMPLOYMENT LAWYER OF THE YEAR, SPONSORED BY CANADIAN LAWYER



Winner: James LeNoury, LeNoury Law

When James LeNoury took over Joseph Wilson's case five years ago from a colleague, he thought it seemed pretty clear cut.

"His allegations were that he had been unjustly dismissed as a result of his having complained about improper procurement practices... I thought it was a fairly straightforward unjust dismissal complaint," says LeNoury, principal of Lenoury Law in Toronto, who was given the Employment Lawyer of the Year Award.

Fast-forward to July when the case was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in Wilson's favour. This came after a labour arbitrator had also ruled in favour of Wilson, only to have that decision overturned by the Federal Court. 

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HR CHALLENGE AWARD




Winner: Horizon North Logistics

The images were vivid and unreal, showing Fort McMurray, Alta., residents and workers escaping a massive wildfire tearing through the community in May. 

For Horizon North Logistics, which operates remote workforce accommodation facilities, the event presented unique challenges that it handily overcame, making the company the winner of the HR Challenge Award.

On May 3, 2016, the company received confirmation of changing wind patterns that were pushing the fire directly towards Fort McMurray, triggering a full evacuation of the roughly 80,000 residents. That's when Horizon North stepped up, offering displaced residents, along with their pets, and emergency personnel a place to stay at its Blacksand Executive Lodge. 

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HR PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR




Winner: Naomi Titleman, American Express Canada

In 2014, Naomi Titleman spearheaded the Women at Amex Initiative to support the development and advancement of women in the workplace. 

Women at Amex identifies high-potential female employees at the manager, director or vice-president level and helps them gain exposure to senior leaders and prepares them for the next step in their career. A key component is to give women access to successful role models, male or female.

"It's a topic that I am personally very passionate about," says Titleman, vice-president of human resources at American Express in Toronto. "It's not through a typical training program but through really candid conversations with real people who are doing really well in their careers... that's really, really powerful." 

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BEST RECOGNITION PROGRAM



Winner: CAA South Central Ontario

CAA South Central Ontario has seen impressive gains — with decreased costs and increased recognition — through the launch of an online recognition program, which is why the Canadian Automobile Association was given the Best Recognition Program Award. 

The company offers a wide range of recognition programs, and with good reason — it is determined to reinforce a philosophy of pay for performance and support a culture of shared success.

The reward programs are meant to recognize the achievement and performance of employees and to value and support the success of fellow employees. CAA SCO works to create a workplace culture that is collaborative and cohesive so people achieve common goals. 

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BEST RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN



Winner: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

Recruitment is never an easy task but Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has seen considerable success with its on-campus recruitment — which includes six weeks of intensive training for successful hires. 

Over the past five years, the 3,253-employee IT consulting company has partnered with universities across Canada — in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta — to hold career fairs and meet students.

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BEST CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM



Winner: Fidelity Investments Canada

When people feel aligned with the company they work for, good things tend to happen for both the employee and employer. That sensibility is at the root of Fidelity Investment Canada's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. 

"Today, employees expect more of their employers," says Nancy Lupi, senior vice-president of HR at Fidelity in Toronto. "Good employers understand this and act on it."

Employees want to work with employers who share their values, she says.

"What we are most proud of, though, is how fiercely committed our employees are to supporting their communities. Their efforts have turned a grassroots campaign into a corporate mandate and huge success."

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TECHNOLOGY/INNOVATION AWARD



Winner: Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)'s recent recruitment initiative has seen impressive results, which was a big reason why the 2,240-employee institution — owned by the federal government to support more than 42,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises across the country — was a winner of the Technology/Innovation Award. 

The bank planned to hire 1,000 employees over three years with the addition of 26 business centre locations, so recruitment was key.

"It was important for the bank, given its mission," says Eric Gagnon, director of employee experience at BDC in Montreal. "For us, it was really important to put in place all the sytems and practices that would help us recruit the talent we need to support entrepreneurs, and the employee experience was really at the heart of this project, to support the business."

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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AWARD




Winner: Fidelity Investments Canada

There's a virtuous cycle at work at Fidelity Investments Canada when it comes to engagement, according to Nancy Lupi, senior vice-president of human resources. 

"At Fidelity, corporate success positively impacts employee engagement, which leaders to greater corporate success and employee engagement."

This cycle is exactly why listening is a key element of its culture, she says.

"Whether we collect employee feedback through surveys or word-of-mouth, we appreciate every opportunity to give employees reasons to stay."

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BEST DIVERSITY PROGRAM




Winner: Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)

Being the public transit organization for one of the most diverse cities in the world should mean it's a no brainer the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) embraces diversity as a core value. 

In 2015, the TTC begain a two-year plan to centralize diversity and inclusion functions into one department, promoting Karen Kuzmowich and Valerie Albanese to run the newly renamed diversity and human rights department. The program is also part of a five-year modernization plan implemented by CEO Andy Byford in 2013.

"The intent of the plan was to centralize and provide a framework to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives in a more co-ordinated manner," says Albanese, head of diversity and human rights at the TTC. "We are early in our journey."

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BEST TEAMBUILDING PROGRAM




Winner: Hyundai

Collaboration is a big part of what makes Hyundai successful, so the 204-employee company regular plans activities that encourage teamwork and relationship-building. That's a big reason why the auomotive company was given the Best Teambuilding Program Award this year. 

"We're in culture change mode," says Kirk Merrett, Hyundai's national HR manager in Markham, Ont. "We've had a pretty conservative culture and we're moving it along the progressive continuum; we're not fully there yet but that's what we're pushing along there. We have new leadership in the company at all levels, but most importantly at the top level, and there's progressive thinking that allows us to do more of these kinds of activities."

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