Seven-time winner also named a best workplace for women for third year in a row

It’s official: the Great Place to Work® Institute Canada has named Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada (H+K) one of the Best Workplaces in Canada – for the seventh consecutive year. Listed alongside only 100 other companies – all announced in the Globe and Mail’s special national report today – the firm was also honoured with a Best Workplaces for Women Award for the third year running.

For the second year running, H+K is also one of only six organizations to win in the “Credibility” category, where an organization’s track record of integrity and consistent communication with staff are key criteria. It celebrates companies that ask for, respect and respond to employee feedback.

“We know, without question, that our people are the finest public relations and public affairs practitioners in the country. Creating an environment that makes people feel engaged, appreciated and motivated to perform has always been our top priority,” says Mike Coates, chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies. “This award is special because means that the culture we’ve created at H+K is one to which our people feel connected.”

Hill+Knowlton Strategies is well-known for its family-friendly, flexible commitment to work-life balance. In addition to employees’ eligibility to “buy” or “sell” up to one week of vacation per year, H+K also has a “gift of time” program that offers an extra half day off before nationwide long weekends; this results in an additional 3.5 days off each calendar year. Some offices even offer onsite massage therapy.

There are “H+Kers” who telecommute, allowing them to work from home, while others work part-time. It’s not unusual for employees to participate in school carpools or leave early to take elderly parents to doctor’s appointments since the company trusts that work will get done – even if it’s after 5 p.m.

The company also has a long history of subsidizing health-club memberships and, after listening to employees’ feedback about the program, updated the fitness-subsidy initiative: “Employees now have far more choice; they can use their annual subsidy to offset the cost of personal home-fitness equipment, cover the costs of team sports or even yoga and dance classes, or use it to join a health club of their choosing,” explains vice-president of human resources Paule Bellegarde, who spearheaded the adjustment.

“From national and international transfer opportunities – as far away as Dubai and Qatar – and modern work spaces to RRSP-matching, maternity leave top-ups and share options in parent company WPP, H+K is proud to continue offering benefits that are important to employees and their families,” adds Coates.

Company-funded social functions, Friday afternoon beer carts, one-and-a-half pro bono days per year for charity work and a new full-service employee assistance program – which can help employees searching for a nanny or elder care, and also offers unlimited access to short-term nutrition, psychological, marital and addiction counselling, among other things – round out some of the many perks of working at Hill+Knowlton Strategies.

“Great Place to Work® Institute would like to recognize and congratulate Hill+Knowlton Strategies for its success in creating a great workplace culture,” says Jose Tolovi Neto, managing partner at Great Place to Work Institute Canada. “Hill+Knowlton was ranked on our 2013 list because employees told us they trust management, have pride in their jobs and enjoy the people with whom they work. We are very proud that H+K is one of very few organizations that have been recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada seven years in a row.”

The competition process for “Best Workplaces in Canada” is based on two criteria: two-thirds of the total score comes from an in-depth survey completed by a minimum number of employees, along with their open-ended comments about the organization; the remaining one-third of the score comes from a review of the organization’s culture, including an evaluation of HR policies, procedures and benefits. This offers a rigorous representation of the organization from an employee perspective, and an overall portrait of the workplace culture.

About the Great Place to Work® Institute

Great Place to Work® Institute is a global research and management consultancy with expertise on workplace transformation and a presence in 48 countries worldwide. Our mission is to improve society by creating better workplaces. We are best-known for our global Best Workplaces Programme, which we produce in conjunction with prestigious media partners such as The Globe and Mail, The Financial Times and Fortune. With more than 5,500 organizations surveyed every year across the globe, the programme is the world’s largest of its kind. We believe passionately that any company or organization can become a great place to work. Our mission is to help you do it.