What defines a company’s culture? Is it being allowed to bring your dog to work? Paid volunteer days? Social beer carts?
While all of these examples are benefits of working at Softchoice, a huge part of our award-winning corporate culture is our employee recognition programs. One of our biggest, Softchoice President’s Club, rewards the company’s best of the best every year with a week-long trip to an exciting destination. This year, the members of the President’s Club traveled to Paris, France.
But these trips are more than just a vacation – it’s also a fundamental way to empower our employees to be leaders. To dig deeper into the importance of P-Club, we sat down with Sandy Fallon, Softchoice’s Senior Vice President of People and Growth, to talk about what the trip means to our organization.
Can you tell me why the President’s Club trip was created?
“It comes back to our purpose: unleashing the potential of our people. President’s Club is our opportunity to recognize the extraordinary efforts of our employees. This is open not only to our sales organization, but to our whole company.”
What activities take place on the Presidents’ Club trip?
“There’s a few key elements to the trip. The first is to have a destination where our employees will be excited to go. Second, to spoil them with great venues, meals – things like that. Third, to provide great team activities for them to interact with our Senior Leadership Team. And lastly, in keeping with a key part of our culture, to have some way to give back to the local community. This year’s activity focused on driving greater awareness of homelessness in Paris and the challenges they face.”
What is the desired impact on employees upon return from the trip?
“There’s a couple benefits you clearly see. One is high engagement level: our employees feel proud to work for Softchoice because they feel the company has really shown an appreciation for their efforts. They come back from the trip and they’re pumped, and they tell their co-workers about their experience, which in turn inspires others to try to receive the same recognition next year. This excitement sparks a healthy level of competition amongst our employees that really builds a culture where everyone strives to perform their best. Another advantage is the winners tell their family and their friends about their experience on the trip, which really enforces our brand and helps draw the right kind of people into the organization.”
What is the benefit to the company for organizing this trip?
“The main benefit is that it sends a strong message to our employees that we value their contributions and that they’re important to us. Our people put so much dedication and personal commitment into the company to be successful that we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize them and do something special. You can list a lot of companies that used to do these types of things, and they’ve stopped them; maybe sales are soft or the market isn’t doing well. Something we should be proud of at Softchoice is that despite our overall market pressures, we still find a way to do something special for our employees through President’s Club. Another benefit is that we’re able to attract and retain top talent, which is really important to us.”
Why does Softchoice put such emphasis on leadership and development?
“We put an emphasis on leadership because our people are the most important thing to us. We are not going to be successful if we don’t have the best talent. Our employee demographics vary from millennials to baby boomers, but the majority of our population is made up of the younger generations – millennials, Gen Ys, Gen Xs. We routinely hear from these employees that the most important thing to them is career path and development, so we work to ensure they can see and feel career development here at Softchoice. We focus on providing as much opportunity as possible to move internally, looking at our talent, seeing what roles they’re best suited for, and developing them for their next roles within the company. Along with their personal successes, it really helps us as a company to be successful, too.”