Employees’ Choice Awards: Chipworks employees see senior managers as peers

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Good relationships are built on trust and communication. At local reverse engineering and patent infringement analysis firm Chipworks, that’s the type of relationship the company tries to build with its staff.

Chipworks has won its fifth Employees' Choice Award.

By Jacob Serebrin

“We really promote innovation and communication among our employees,” says Tom Cox, the company’s marketing director.

Communication is one of the ways Chipworks keeps its employees happy. The company has weekly meetings during which staff discuss the company’s vision and strategy along with what’s going well and what’s going wrong. When it comes to the business, nothing is off the table.

“Trust is absolutely paramount,” says Jennifer Rantz, Chipworks’s vice-president of human resources. “It has to be here in order to succeed.”

The idea is promote a sense of ownership, Mr. Cox says. To support that goal, the company works to create an environment where everyone sees each other as peers. That means everyone – even the president, CEO and vice-presidents – work out of the same type of cubicle.

The company also has an internal award program for employees who live up to its corporate values, which emphasize innovation, teamwork and service. Employees make the nominations and vote on the winners.

Trusting staff doesn’t just apply to business at Chipworks. It’s part of how the company supports work-life balance. If a worker needs to “duck out” for personal reasons, that’s allowed. The company also lets employees work from home.

A happy, productive workforce makes for a successful company. Jennifer Rantz, vice-president of human resources, Chipworks

“We trust that they have the ability to make their own decisions,” says Ms. Rantz.

A happy staff leads to a “more profitable, more successful company,” she adds. “They care about the customers.”

That’s another reason the company promotes communication so strongly, notes Ms. Rantz. Because the company’s staff frequently works on projects as teams, bouncing ideas off each other is an important part of “making sure nothing is missed and doing the best work for our customers.”

Ms. Rantz acknowledges that the culture of communication is one of her favourite parts of the job.

“I’ve been here seven years,” she says. “I know what keeps me here.”

Chipworks

Founded: 1992

Employees: 100+

No. of ECAs: 5

What they’re doing right:

Open-door policy

Strong internal communications

Policies to help employees balance personal and professional lives

Organizations: Chipworks

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