Upstream Works Software, Ltd.

Upstream Works Software, Ltd.

Concord, ON Canada 

www.upstreamworks.com

Grade: A

SummaryProfessional development courses, monthly CEO town hall, mandatory time away from office. Excellent medical benefits, financial assistance for parking and transportation. Employee run committees:

  • Careers
  • Social
  • Communications
  • Health and Safety
  • Employee empowerment and annual hackathon

Intro: We provide a collaborative work environment that fosters learning and professional development. Our solutions are innovative and complex, providing significant opportunities to think creatively and solve problems. We have a team based culture and an agile development environment, all working towards creating and delivering great, innovative products to meet our business goals and objectives.

Impact statements:

  • We actively look for opportunities to foster learning and growth, and to this end, have developed a Careers Committee that is completely run by volunteers.
  • We provide a collaborative work environment that fosters learning and professional development.
  • For existing team members, we offer tuition subsidies for Professional Development courses related to an employee’s current position with an annual max at $2,500, as well as subsidies for professional association memberships.
  • Upstream Works provides our employees a comprehensive benefits plan that covers medical, dental and vision. We pay for 100% of the premiums with the exception of Long Term Disability (LTD).
  • Work Life Balance is a major focus for our organization. Our environment is supportive and recognizes the need for flexibility with start/end times and occasional work from home arrangements or adjusted hours.
  • We encourage our team members to refer new employees with a referral bonus of $5,000. This fosters great culture and teamwork.
  • Upstream Works encourages all of our employees to be a driver for change.
  • Employees are required to take a minimum number of vacation days per year to ensure they have the time away from work. In addition, we offer time off in lieu for employees that have worked additional hours over weekends/evenings.
  • Our CEO hosts a town hall every month providing corporate updates on both our vision and results. We all gather together in an open forum and our remote offices call in.

Advancement Opportunities:

We actively look for opportunities to foster learning and growth, and to this end, have developed a Careers Committee that is completely run by volunteers. The committee creates and runs programs like Job Shadowing, Lunch & Learns, and a Professional Development Course Library.

In addition to the Careers Committee programs, the company also offers the opportunity to participate in international conferences and work cross functionally to broaden knowledge and skill sets.

Medical benefits:

Upstream Works provides our employees a comprehensive benefits plan that covers medical, dental and vision. We pay for 100% of the premiums with the exception of Long Term Disability (LTD).

We also offer a complimentary and confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that allows employees and their families to seek support for mental well-being as well as support for items such as finding care for elderly parents/children and legal/financial advice.

Community service/charitable causes:

We believe in giving back to the community, and we have fun doing it. Some examples are:

Toy Drive – Donate to a charity via committee

Support Toronto Youth Development in association with MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Measuring satisfaction:

We have an outside consultant conduct employee surveys every twelve months. We also have the Careers Committee sending out surveys to all staff for comments and ideas on how to make Upstream Works a better place to work. We conduct exit interviews with departing employees.

Our offices are open and casual. We have ergonomic workstations that allow for easy collaboration. Our development team will rotate workstations at the start of new projects, fostering team bonding. We have a self-serve lunchroom, complete with pinball machine and a foosball table close by. We are positioned close to a variety of restaurants, a major shopping mall, fitness clubs and daycare centers. Our head office location is centrally located near the major highways and public transit is nearby. We offer free onsite parking.

Creative meeting places:

Ski Resort

Movie Theater

Dance Studio

Farm/Bubble Soccer

Axe-Throwing

Escape Room

Sporting Events

Trampoline Park

Perks:

We offer financial support for gym memberships

We offer free coffee/tea, juice and soft drinks

Pizza days are provided at the end of every month

We take time to celebrate birthdays with cake and fruit platters

Fun:

Our Social Committee is very active engaging team members across the organization with a variety of activities including:

Axe throwing

Archery tag

Poker night

Online gaming competitions

Mystery room

Capture the flag

Movie nights

Trampoline dodgeball

Hack-a-thon

We like to keep it fun – and celebrate and get in costume for a variety of occasions, whether it’s jersey day or Halloween. We have a summer picnic and a holiday party for all staff and their families.

How corporate vision is communicated:

Our CEO hosts a town hall every month providing corporate updates on both our vision and results. We all gather together in an open forum and our remote offices call in.

Empowering employees:

Upstream Works encourages all of our employees to be a driver for change. This is accomplished through committees and our Agile environment.

Our Development team is encouraged to share their feedback through design meetings with our Product team to ensure their voices are always heard. Our Professional Services team hosts retrospective meetings every two weeks to allow the opportunity to reflect and adjust.

We look to hire employees with diverse experience to encourage different perspectives within our teams.

Our annual Hackathon is another opportunity to encourage employees to be creative and think outside of box when it comes to our product and processes. The Hackathon helps propel feature enhancements and improve business processes.

Internally: Town halls, e-mails and programs such as Jive and 7Geese where we encourage peer to peer recognition.

Externally: social channels including Facebook.

Employees are encouraged to take ownership of their roles. Our managers provide support and guidance to their reports through our 1-on-1 process. We have a culture that supports movement within the organization based on continuous development and open communication. Employees who demonstrate leadership in their day to day activities are offered leadership roles.

We gauge our company’s success on satisfied customers, not just on profits. Our employees are motivated and encouraged to go the extra mile to ensure we accomplish this.

Ensuring well-being:

We offer a culture that supports the need for flexibility. Our start and finish work hours can vary, with standard hours for all being between the hours of 10am to 4pm. Some members on our team like to start early and some like to finish late. Long weekends start early at Upstream Works. Whenever we have a long weekend, we close our offices on Friday at 3pm.

The environment is supportive and flexible, recognizing the need for occasional work from home arrangements or adjusted hours. In addition, our benefits program includes Comprehensive Paramedical Coverage i.e. Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, Naturopathy etc., a Health Care Spending Account, Employee Assistance Program, discounted Gym Memberships, Short-Term & Long Term Disability Programs, and a joint health & safety committee.

Longevity:

Executive team members – some have been with Upstream Works since the company started in 2000 and some joined this past year – providing a great balance of experience and fresh perspective.

We are growing and adding new functions. Our marketing team has expanded and we recently added Customer Success as a new functional area.

Position

Average Years

Management

5

Engineering

2.5

Professional Services

5

Sales

2.5

Closing company statements: We are thought leaders in a fast-paced industry, and as such we are nimble, creative, innovative, and collaborative. The expectation is that every team member contributes excellence and is accountable for what they do. In return, they are provided with unlimited opportunities for growth, fun, and are rewarded for company success.

Back to the entire list of TMCnet 2016 Tech Culture Award winners.

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