10 reasons why Softchoice has been a ‘Great Place to Work’ for 10 years

SC PeopleThe Great Place to Work Institute just named Softchoice to its list of “Best Workplaces in Canada” for the 10th year in a row! We are just one of four organizations to make the list all 10 years it has been in Canada. To celebrate a decade of recognition as one of Canada’s top corporate cultures, here are 10 reasons why our people love working at Softchoice:

1. Meaningful work that drives professional development

Every year Softchoice sets Wildly Important Goals (or WIGs) to clearly define the company’s strategic focus and the means by which we will measure success. These WIGs are cascaded down to every department and every employee in the company so that each individual has a clear view of how their efforts contribute to the big picture.

Every employee also creates their own Individual Development Plan to complete within the year, in which they choose a skillset they would like to acquire or enhance to advance their career. All managers are responsible for ensuring every employee’s business and individual development goals are achieved.

2. Ability to enter and grow within the technology industry

A great thing about Softchoice is we provide a wide range of end-to-end agnostic IT solutions. What that means is employees gain exposure and first rate knowledge in all facets of the IT world from the cloud and data center, to client hardware and software, to managed services and IT consulting.

Our people also get great experience around the latest services and offerings from major vendor partners like Microsoft, Cisco, VMware, Dell and IBM to dozens of SaaS developers and other innovative companies taking share in the cloud.

3. Being a part of a winning, high performance team

In addition to being named a Best Workplace, a Most Engaged Workplace and a Most Admired Corporate Culture, Softchoice and its people are regularly recognized with annual awards and recognition from groups in the technology industry and our vendor partners.

4. Every employee gets two paid volunteer days per year

Every employee in the company is given the option of taking two paid volunteer days a year to give back to a non-profit organization of their choosing. Some elect to take these days alone to support a worthy cause, but often others will volunteer as a team, to not only do some good but do some bonding over a group activity.

5. We serve large and mid-sized clients from a variety of industries

Employees can get a first rate education in the differences in how technology is being applied to organizations in every sector and industry from government and finance, to professional sports and innovative tech companies. Every business we work with brings new challenges and new opportunities to unleash their potential through technology.

6. We’ve raised over $1.5 million through Softchoice Cares

Our company has a grassroots, employee-led philanthropic initiative called Softchoice Cares. Its mission is to provide access to technology for those less fortunate in our own communities and around the world. It’s led by an all-employee board and it’s the catalyst for charitable events and giving across the company.

Through our Power to the People program, for example, any employee can elect a local charity that is near and dear to their hearts (and that has a technology need) and raise money to support it. Softchoice Cares matches the funds raised, and awards additional donations to top fundraisers.

7. Employees have access to a green commute subsidy

Softchoice encourages its employees to take a cleaner, greener commute and help reduce gridlock by subsidizing the cost of taking public transit to work. We also encourage employees, for those who are able, to lead healthy lifestyles by walking or taking their bike to work, too.

8. Our annual company-wide Launch event

At the start of every year, Softchoice brings the whole company together under the same roof for our annual Launch event. We do it to get aligned on goals and strategy for the year ahead, to recognize employees of all departments who went above and beyond in the previous year, and to encourage camaraderie and teambuilding across the company. This is the event where we hand out our one-of-a-kind awards like the coveted Tie Jacket, the White Fedora and the Orange Cape!

9. Open and transparent communication

Softchoice continually looks for new and modern ways to maintain open and transparent communication on the performance, strategy and direction of the company.

Our flagship communications vehicle is an hour-long, webcast talk show called Orange Nation Live that is hosted by Dave MacDonald, our President and CEO, and viewed live by the entire corporation. The monthly show features guest appearances from leaders across the company to review business results, talk strategy, give employee recognition, and provide all employees the opportunity to ask questions to the CEO live and in real time.

10. Our monthly Beer Cart and dog-friendly office!

At Softchoice, we welcome our employees to bring their four-legged friends to the office. Bringing your dog to work has well-documented benefits for both the dog and owner, as well as the people around them. If you’ve never experienced the simple stress relief from petting or playing with a pup at the office, you’re missing out!

And, no matter where you’re located across the company, Softchoice hosts a monthly Beer Cart on the first Friday of every month to bring colleagues together to connect, network and unwind over a cold one. No dogs allowed! Cheers!

Softchoice is a “Great Place” to develop a long-term career in the fast paced and always evolving world of technology solutions. Visit our Careers page to search all current open positions or to submit your resume.

Must Have Checklist for Planning an International Charitable Mission

KenyaBuildEmployee-led volunteer missions are an integral part of our corporate giving program at Softchoice.

They’re an incredible way to develop leadership skills, and they provide a life-changing experience that individuals can share with the company, and their friends and family upon their return. I’ve personally been on two such missions, most recently to Maai Mahiu, Kenya this past September.

Over the years, Softchoice Cares members have learned some valuable lessons for planning and executing overseas charity work. Based on our experience, here’s a must-have list for any corporation planning an international charitable mission. [Read more…]

Kenya 2013: Perspectives from the Ground

Keyna_StudentsSoftchoice sends employees on international charitable missions for a number of reasons, among them are to develop leadership skills, experience the impact of giving first hand, and to help bridge the digital divide – providing computers and technology know-how to help children and adults develop new skills and break the cycle of poverty.

Some wonder if it would be better to save the cost of flights and accommodation for 14 employees and just donate the money and technology instead. We don’t think so. [Read more…]

Kenya 2013: The Difference Between Giving Aid and Aiding in Development

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It would be easier to just stay home and send a donation.

The thought has crossed the mind of any employee, from any organization, who is planning a charitable international mission. And it’s true. It would be easier. But there are limitations to simply sending aid – and to accomplish what’s simple is never the goal of Softchoice Cares.

Tomorrow, 13 of my colleagues and I journey to Maai Mahiu, Kenya for the 2013 Softchoice Cares International Mission. Our goal is not to offer aid but to aid in development – to leverage our passion for the potential that technology provides and to help bridge the so-called digital divide.

Earlier this year, our employee-driven Softchoice Cares board spent weeks scrutinizing over the various worldwide locations and local charities we could help serve. In the end, we selected Maai Mahiu because we felt our impact would be the greatest there, and the project we would assist in developing matched our core values as a company.

Our goal is not to offer aid but to aid in development – to leverage our passion for the potential that technology provides and to help bridge the so-called digital divide.

We will be working with Comfort the Children (CTC), a non-profit organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty by building and managing local infrastructure necessary to meet the challenges of everyday life – and improve local education, the economy, the environment and health care. We will help set up the Knowledge and Resource Center, which will serve as the very first library and computer lab in Maai Mahiu and the surrounding 50 kilometers.

The Center will provide essential support to all of CTC’s educational programs: adult literacy, after school peer-to-peer tutoring, computer classes, youth health education, and environmental education. It is our hope, and the hope of CTC, that access to the library and new technology will create opportunities that were absent before to further education and build job skills.

The support from our friends, family and colleagues for this mission has been incredible, from the donations of toys, medical supplies, clothing and school supplies, right through to our vendors and partners who have generously donated product to help bring this mission to life. We are fortunate to have partners like Lenovo, which donated laptops to teach both children and adults literacy and computer skills; C2G, which donated all of our network cabling for the new center; HP ESSN, which donated two servers and networking switches; and Sophos, which provided both server and endpoint security to help keep these systems healthy and intrusion free.

The Softchoice Cares board feels incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to lend a hand in such a beautiful part of the world. It would have been much easier to cut a check, but we felt our presence, our passion for technology, and our desire to make a difference were more valuable in helping to create lasting development.

I encourage you to like our Facebook page for updates from the ground during our mission to Maai Mahiu, Kenya.

Maximizing Potential through Strengths-Based Development

Do you remember a time when you were fulfilled at work? Where you felt like you were “in the zone” and time flew by because you were working on something that fully leveraged your skills and strengths? If you haven’t experienced this in a while (or ever), then it’s a good time to dig deep and examine what you’re great at!

Not having a clear idea of what your core strengths are or even how to best leverage them can make it impossible to effectively build and develop them throughout your career. In fact, the book The Happiness Hypothesis asserts, “Understanding your strengths and weaknesses can really help improve the fit between your strengths and your job. It also provides insight into why some parts of a job are enjoyable while others may fill you with dread.”

At Softchoice helping employees better understand and develop their strengths is a core element in leadership development. In fact, Morepheus – one of Softchoice’s employee development programs for high-potential employees – has a particular component that helps them better understand their strengths and weakness so that they can further develop themselves and their leadership skills!

Program graduate Kara Ferdoussi shares what the program is all about and why learning more about herself is helping her in her role as HR Supervisor. [Read more…]

Growing Employees from Within: How to win in the war for talent

Savvy organizations know that investing in talent management is essential to a company’s future success. In the war for talent, a great amount of research shows that employee development programs are becoming an increasingly vital weapon to improve employee commitment, business performance and retention.

In a recent study conducted by assessment and development consultancy Cubiks, 93 percent of respondents said they would stay longer with an organization that invested in their development and 97 percent of respondents agreed it was important to develop people who could lead the company in the future.

[Read more…]