Written by Michael Beckerman on May 6, 2015
in Awards, Organizational Design

At Ariad, we see our culture being our single biggest asset. We have worked hard to build an engaging and inspiring culture. Our culture has enabled Ariad to attract the best and the brightest in the industry. We are a people-based industry, we don’t have factories or retail outlets – our people are the key to any success.

It’s our people that produce the beautiful thinking that helps our clients. And the foundation of that beautiful thinking is our culture. We take great pride in bringing in people with diverse backgrounds, deep subject matter expertise and, most importantly, a shared set of values. It is these shared values that let us bring out the best in each other. We have put programs in place that work. But culture isn’t just about the programs, it’s about having everyone in the organization own the culture and determine the type of organization they want to build.

I am so proud of my colleagues for building a culture that has been recognized as one of Canada’s best places to work for the fifth consecutive year.

So, how did we do it? There is no real secret – there are some smart programs, of course, but it starts with everyone in the organization owning and valuing their own culture.

Here are just a few of the programs we put in place:

Rewarding and recognizing achievements: People should be recognized for their contribution and also feel part of a team. We take pride in recognizing and supporting every Ariadite’s hard work through our open town hall meetings, peer-to-peer company-wide shout-outs, off-site team building, Ariad lunches and holidays, talent referral rewards, Ariad work anniversaries and performance-based bonuses to motivate our people to do their best work for our clients. We also believe in integrating our new employees into the Ariad culture through an employee buddy system, an employee welcome kit, company-wide introductions and recognition at our town hall meetings, one-on-one training and orientation sessions with team members, and regular meet-ups with senior Ariad leadership.

Continued learning to be a subject matter expert: The best and the brightest want to continue to learn, be challenged, be inspired and be supported. We can only create beautiful thinking if we`re constantly learning, and we believe that every Ariadite should have access to our training and learning opportunities. Our internal training program – we call it Ariad U – offers seminars and courses taught by Ariad subject matter experts and guest speakers to foster professional development and refine the quality of our creative output and client service. We also offer the opportunity for any employee to contribute to our blog and social media channels, and have an open call for town hall presentations for employees to share the work and ideas that inspire them.

Training and Tools to be a high performer: Everyone wants to do well in their role. They want to best support their colleague and their clients. In addition to Ariad U, we give our employees a variety of career coaching and leadership mentoring opportunities through one-on-one meetings with senior managers. The ability to attend industry conferences and webinars offer training and professional development to hone employee skills and boost productivity. We also often rely on the knowledge of third-party experts, and share that expertise with our employees. For example, our partnership with Forrester Research Group gives employees access to research reports and partner-only webinars that help them hone their skills and keep abreast of the latest trends and developments.

Making the local and global community a better place: A culture should reflect the values of an organization. One value all Ariadites share is the importance of giving back. From staff volunteer days to financial and pro bono support of several charitable organizations, meaningful philanthropic work is a vital part of the Ariad culture. In 2014, Ariad donated $25,000 to 10 different local charities – each one selected and facilitated through employee teams. We also offer yearly We to Me trips to our employees with both financial support and free vacation days for those who choose to embark on the experience. Last year we sent a team of Ariadites down to Ecuador, and we’re currently gearing up for our next trip to Kenya.

While we aren’t big on bragging, we are big on recognizing the contributions of every Ariadite that helped us earn this year’s recognition from the Great Place to Work® Institute. Here’s to another great year!

Michael Beckerman is the President of Ariad Communications.

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