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The distinction, awarded by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project, marks a milestone in Manning Elliott's continuing commitment to being the best place to work in its industry - with the highest-quality service to clients.
It's a commitment that our partner group, under the stewardship and leadership of former managing partner, Mike Corney, who retired at the start of 2015, enthusiastically took on in order to achieve a number of key objectives, recalls Human Resources Manager Andrew Rasheed.
"It was the partnership's vision to transform Manning Elliott into a strong, dynamic corporate culture that attracted me to join the firm. The challenge they set for the human resources department was to create a culture that would turn Manning Elliott into a medium-sized, regional accounting firm capable of competing for the same talented and motivated individuals who normally gravitate to large, national firms."
The endeavour was long-term and demanding, Rasheed acknowledges. "We looked at all aspects of human resources in the firm. We studied best practices. We analysed and critiqued all aspects of how things were done. Then, together as a team, we determined how to make them work better for everyone, both employer and employee."
As an example of the system-wide improvements, Aumann cites "the building of criteria and processes for decision-making, as opposed to the ad-hoc ways we had before."
Another example is greater flexibility in working hours. "Our emphasis is on getting quality work done, rather than on what particular hours are involved in the work. Some of us like to work 9 am to 5 pm. Others find it suits their lives better to start at 6 am and leave earlier to beat traffic, or pick up kids from school."
As well, says Aumann, "we now encourage people to volunteer with community not-for-profit groups by letting them take a paid day off for the work. We believe this helps the people in our firm feel connected to, and part of, the community we work in."
The changes have made Manning Elliott a better place to work - less formal and structured, and more in keeping with modern trends and best practices, says Aumann.
Selection for this year's list of top employers was based on a detailed, multi-page questionnaire, plus independent research by Mediacorp Inc., originator of the award and publisher of employment-related periodicals such as Canada Employment Weekly, Who's Hiring and The Career Directory.
The criteria covered a wide-ranging set of qualities that go into creating a best-practices workplace. These include: encouraging and supporting education and mentoring, benefits programs, employee diversity, community involvement and even such considerations as proximity to public transit and amenities such as parks, gyms and shopping.
The award was presented to Manning Elliott and other organizations at the official Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers ceremony on March 10th at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
"It's great to be recognized as a top employer," says Aumann. "At Manning Elliott, we are proud to be working in a nurturing corporate culture - with people who care passionately about their firm."