I am very pleased to learn that H+K Canada has just been awarded Excellence Canada’s highest award for business quality—the Canada Order of Excellence for Quality. This marks the second time that Hill+Knowlton has received this award, which affirms that ours is a culture where, in the words of one of my colleagues, “employees are heard, valued and supported to do the best job possible for clients. Quality is a priority and it makes us all better.”

Excellence Canada, formerly called the National Quality Institute, was established in 1982 in partnership with Industry Canada. At that time, the pace of globalization was accelerating and there was a growing concern that North American companies were losing out in the battle for product quality, primarily to Japan. As a result, both the Canadian and United States governments, through the Malcolm-Baldrige Awards, designed programs to:

  • Identify and recognize role-model businesses
  • Establish criteria for evaluating improvement efforts
  • Disseminate and share best practices

Sadly, the Canadian awards have never achieved the same level of visibility as the Baldrige awards. This might be due, in part, to the circumstances surrounding the creation of the Baldrige awards. The Malcolm-Baldrige National Quality Improvement Actwas passed after then-Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige died in a freak rodeo accident in 1987. Baldrige was an advocate of quality management, considering it key to U.S. prosperity and sustainability, and Congress passed this Act after his death in recognition of his contribution to the quality movement.

Perhaps the relatively low visibility of the Canadian awards is also due to “traditional” Canadian humility. We don’t tend to brag about our successes, and awards are hardly newsworthy events. This is a shame because the men and women who make up this company, and others like it, deserve the widespread recognition of their industry peers and clients.

That said, the significance of the Canada Order of Excellence for Quality award is not lost on me.

Hill+Knowlton is one of only two Canadian institutions that have received not one, but two Canada Order of Excellence for Quality awards in succession.

In the review panel’s findings, it noted that our company’s “best teams” matrix structure ensured quality of client service and efficient operation of business. It also stated that collaboration was embedded across the agency with a strong focus on transparent values.  Named one of Canada’s Best Workplaces for the past eight years, the panel observed that Hill+Knowlton “more than satisfied the requirements of the Order of Excellence.”

It’s no wonder that I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the administrative and operations staff as well as our consultants, whose contributions are “behind the scenes” but who consistently go above and beyond to deliver the quality service and support that is pivotal to our success.

At the risk of appearing to brag, I will sign off by saying congratulations and thank you to the entire H+K team for showing me every day why dedication to quality separates the very best from everyone else.