Employees’ Choice Awards: Giant Tiger engages employees through ownership

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Mark Brownlee
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Giant Tiger’s corporate headquarters are not in an ideal location to attract top talent.

Greg Farrell is the president of Giant Tiger.

It’s competing with the region’s largest employer, the federal government, to offer well-paying jobs with good salaries and benefits plans. Most of its retail competitors are headquartered in Toronto, meaning it often needs to convince those who work in the field to switch cities.

One of the ways that managers set the company apart is through a profit sharing and ownership program for employees, says Greg Farrell, Giant Tiger’s president and chief operating officer.

This helps create the sort of environment where, according to Mr. Farrell, people feel accountable to their fellow employees.

“People will stay longer just to not let down their teammates,” he says.

“No one’s telling you you have to work longer, but you don’t want to be the one that’s going to disappoint or slow a project down or slow an initiative down because you didn’t deliver or somebody was waiting for you to do your part.”

It also means that if you’re not in by 7:15 a.m., you don’t get a parking spot in the lot that’s closest to the office.

Mr. Farrell says retail companies don’t generally offer great benefits packages, but he’s confident Giant Tiger’s are competitive. Employees can take advantage of initiatives such as subsidized gym memberships.

It sets a really good environment for people looking after the company as a whole as opposed to just their own role and position.

The company also tries to identify and mentor future leadership candidates, he says. It gives those employees every opportunity to take over management positions in the company by making any vacancies available to them before they are posted to the general public.

Employees also regularly take time off of work to get to know each other and help out in the community. The company hosts weekly barbecues and works with its employees to support local food drives.

GIANT TIGER

FOUNDED: 1961

Employees (corporate head office only): 260

No. of ECAs: 1

What they’re doing right:

Weekly barbecues

Deferred profit-sharing and ownership programs

Subsidized gym memberships

Organizations: Giant Tiger

Geographic location: Toronto

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