Here are Ottawa’s Best Places to Work in 2022

As the organization went through a virtually uninterrupted three-year hiring spree, something extraordinary happened at Ottawa-based engineering firm Attain Group a few months ago.

A few employees have actually resigned.

In most companies, such an event would be greeted with a shrug. However, that is not the case with Attain, which was founded 18 years ago and oversees the installation of smart building infrastructure such as wireless communication networks, cybersecurity systems and other technologies in offices, shopping malls and other locations such as colleges and universities across several provinces.

“Up until about three months ago, we had a retention rate of almost 100 percent,” says President and CEO Derrick Hanson. “Nobody ever left.”

It’s a situation most employers can only dream of, and employee loyalty remains a hallmark of Attain’s work culture even as the company’s workforce has more than tripled from 12 to 37 in the past three years.

So it’s no surprise to Hanson that Attain won this year’s Best Places to Work Ottawa competition, an annual program organized by OBJ and the Ottawa Board of Trade.

Employer and employee surveys

Participants were ranked based on the results of employee and employer surveys and polls conducted by the US-based Workforce Research Group.

Employees were asked to rate their workplace’s performance in categories such as leadership and planning, organizational culture, job satisfaction, training, and pay and benefits. Employers, meanwhile, completed an extensive questionnaire that identified what types of benefits they provided to workers and rated how their workplaces addressed issues from work-life balance to diversity.

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According to OBJ editor Michael Curran, this year’s honorees are distinguished by their commitment to making the well-being and job satisfaction of their employees the number one priority every day.

“Employee engagement is getting a lot more complicated these days,” Curran said. “It’s like a perfect storm on the human resource front. The pandemic caused employees to reevaluate their personal and professional priorities, hybrid workplaces created all manner of workspace permutations, and now changing economic conditions are driving wage pressures.

valuable lessons

“In all this chaos, we found 10 companies that demonstrate outstanding engagement based on direct feedback from their employees. Kudos to them for finding that out. I think we can all learn from these companies.”

This year’s list includes some well-known names from the technology, construction and other sectors.

Attain led the way, thanks in part to employee perks like flextime over the Christmas holidays and regular social outings. But Hanson says the company prides itself on going the extra mile to ensure it’s doing everything it can to keep employees as happy and productive as possible.

In 2019, for example — almost a year before the pandemic triggered a widespread shift to remote working — Attain’s leadership team realized that working from home “could be a bonus for people,” says Hanson.

The company hired an occupational psychologist to assess employees’ attitudes toward remote work and what financial, technological, and human support they would need to make it viable.

Little did Hanson and his team realize how valuable this move would be just months later, when COVID-19 forced employers to close offices and switch to a new way of working practically overnight.

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“We’re literally from … OK, we probably should be doing this — it’s good for employee morale, flexibility, family, work-life balance and all that … up to the (flip) of the switch on the same day, without jumping a bit,” he says. “That was driven by our culture.”

Companies from across the region took part in the Best Places to Work survey. Eligible companies had to be in business for at least one year, maintain an office and have at least 15 employees in the National Capital Region.

This year’s 10 honorees will be recognized at a cocktail reception at the Westin Ottawa on Tuesday, October 4th. The winners of the Best Places to Work 2022 are:

  • Reach
  • Ottawa tourism
  • Noibu
  • fellow
  • Rossmann architecture
  • Knak
  • crucial group
  • Dilfo mechanical
  • Solink
  • Amsterdam design build

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