Family Friendly Organization Profile: Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers
Ritchie Bros. outgrew its global head office in 2009 and relocated to a new 164,000‐ft2 (15,200+‐square‐meters) head office space in Burnaby, facing the Fraser River and situated near a waterfront park with trails ideal for biking, running and walking. The new office building was designed to LEED Gold standard and has won numerous awards for its architectural design and environmental ingenuity. Included in the design of the building was also a fully‐licensed child care centre, café and fitness facility—all requested by employees before the relocation.
Environmental and aesthetic elements were incorporated into the building’s design, creating an airy, open and pleasant environment for employees to work. Approximately 75 percent of workspaces in the building receive natural light and 90 percent of work spaces have exterior views. The building was also designed with natural elements of wood, concrete, and more than 71,500 ft2 (6,600 m2) of windows.
On each of the company’s three work floors, there are staff kitchens for employees to store and heat up lunches and make coffee or tea. Each kitchen comes equipped with filtered water as well as full recycling.
RB Childcare Centre
Before Ritchie Bros. built its new corporate headquarters in Burnaby, it surveyed employees to see what features in the new building would assist them in achieving a greater sense of work‐life balance. On the very top of the employee wish list was an on‐site child care centre. Ritchie Bros. listened and the end result was the development of a subsidized child care centre managed by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers ).
Keeping in line with the overall architectural design of LEED Gold‐certified facility, Ritchie Bros. hired Paul Dirks (architect of Vancouver’s Olympic Village) to design two large outside playground areas (one for toddlers and the other for older children) featuring ample green space, trees, plants and a garden for kids to grow things in.
The child care centre has grown to become an integral part of Ritchie Bros. unique family‐ friendly work culture. Licensed to provide care for a maximum of 45 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, first priority for childcare space is given to Ritchie Bros. employees. It consists of a large open windows, wood chairs, tables and toys. In total, the facility extends approximately 5,000 ft2 (465 m2) on the northern wing of the building. The child care centre’s education curriculum offers a mix of early childhood development programs and techniques including Montessori, Reggio Emilia and traditional early learning methods.
During summer holidays, the child care centre also operates a program with weekly themes geared towards school‐aged children. The largest benefit of an on‐site child care centre has been allowing parents the opportunity to spend time with their children during the work day.
For example, it is very common to see parents having lunch with their children in the cafeteria. The cafeteria is even equipped with high chairs. As well, mothers returning to work after a year‐long maternity leave, have the flexibility to breastfeed young infants in the child care centre during working hours.
With daily operating hours of 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, company management plans work meetings around child care centre hours to accommodate parents. As a company, Ritchie Bros. embraces the energy having young children on site brings. For example, the children’s artwork is often showcased in the company’s foyers and offices. Once a year, the children perform a multi‐lingual holiday concert for parents and staff. On rainy days, child care centre staff are often seen strolling infants in the foyer hallways.
Fitness Facility & Wellness Programs
At the Burnaby head office, employees have access to a 3,000 ft2 (275 m2) fitness facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The fitness facility contains modern, high‐quality equipment including 3 treadmills, 3 elliptical machines, 4 stationary bikes, 1 stair climber, 1 rowing machine, 2 universal gyms as well as benches and free weights. Many employees have also taken liberty to start their own workout crews in the gym at no cost.
For the more seriously fitness minded, Fitness Science, a BC‐based fitness company, offers both group fitness classes and personal consulting programs to Ritchie Bros. employees at its Burnaby head office and has been doing so since January 2010. Services range from educational seminars on sports nutrition and fitness tips, to user‐pay personal training and group training. Group training sessions started at 3 sessions a week during lunch hours and have grown to more than 12 workout sessions a week.
Effective April 1, 2013, Fitness Science also granted Ritchie Bros. employees a flat monthly rate of $50 for access to all weekly workout sessions. Enrollment of staff in Fitness Science programs has nearly tripled.
To inspire company‐wide employee wellness, Fitness Science has also assisted Ritchie Bros. in spearheading several Fitness Challenges. These challenges were incentive based with employees committing to certain fitness goals individually or as a team. Ritchie Bros. partnered with Fitness Science in providing bi‐weekly workouts and nutrition tips during challenge periods for employees to follow. Winning teams were awarded with a donation made by Ritchie Bros. on their behalf to a charity of their choice. Individuals were awarded with an array of prizes: iPads, bicycles, gym memberships, pieces of workout equipment, gift certificates and much more.
Another priority for employees in the construction of the new head office space was a place to get healthy meals during working hours. The Kelowna Café, a 3,500‐ft2 (325‐m2) café with large open windows and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, was built to accommodate this need.
Employees now enjoy a range of nutritionally‐balanced hot and cold breakfast and lunch menu items at relatively low prices. The menu is changed on a daily basis providing variety for staff.
The company also provides free coffee every day and free pastries on Fridays. Additionally, a trained barista is on staff at the Café and they offer subsidized mixed espresso drinks.
Flexible Work Options
Ritchie Bros. offers a casual, flexible work environment, fostering teamwork, accountability and fun. Flexible work arrangements are offered to provide employees with more time to devote to their families and personal lives. The company has a formal flex schedule program where employees can choose to work 80 hours over 9 days and receive a day off every alternate week or work 40 hours over 4 days and receive a day off each week. In addition, Ritchie Bros. is open to offering employees the options to telecommute from home on certain work days, work part‐time or job share on a case by case basis.
Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a complimentary benefit Ritchie Bros. provides to all full‐time employees and their immediate family members. The program is managed by Shepell∙fgi, a leading global EFAP provider. The EFAP provides employees access to counseling and a wide range of support services in a multi‐language platform. These support services include financial consulting, maintaining physical health, grieving the loss of a loved one, dealing with work and life stressors and more. Employees can take advantage of EFAP support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through a variety of platforms including email, in‐person appointments, by telephone or online. The overall goal of the program is really to help employees at Ritchie Bros. achieve a greater work‐life balance and deal with life’s challenges and conflicts as they arise.
Ritchie Bros. provides full‐time employees with a comprehensive health benefits package through Pacific Blue Cross paid for by the company. These benefits include dental, extended health coverage for prescription drugs, travel health insurance and vision care. Employees and their families are also covered for B.C. Medical and this cost is covered by Ritchie Bros. as well.
Since the company encourages employees to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, Ritchie Bros. will also reimburse employees up to $300 towards the cost of an annual physical exam, where the cost is neither covered by the government or private insurance plans.
Ritchie Bros. also offers employees coverage for short term, long‐term disability and life insurance.
Ritchie Bros. understands mitigating circumstances such as death, accident or injury or sickness of family members can interrupt an employee’s work schedule. As a result, the company supports and recognizes various leaves in order to ensure the well‐being of employees and their immediate family members (spouse, child, mother, father, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren).
Compassionate/Bereavement – In the event of death or imminent death, Ritchie Bros. provides employees with five days of paid leave. This period may be extended if the situation warrants with executive approval. Compassion leave may also be used for extenuating life circumstances such as the destruction and loss of personal property and housing through fire, earthquake or flood.
Sick Leave – Ritchie Bros. pays employees full time wages for days taken off for illness. Employees are granted a few weeks (with flexibility) a year for illness. Additional days may be granted with executive approval.
Family Illness – In cases where an immediate family member is ill (a child or dependent), Ritchie Bros. allows employees to use a certain number of their sick days to care for them. Additional days may be requested with executive approval.
Jury Duty – Ritchie Bros. supports employees to carry out their civic responsibilities. This includes jury or witness duty. Full‐time employees are paid 100 percent of wages if required to perform either of these duties.
Maternity/Parental Leave – Employees returning from maternity leave are often supported with a gradual return to work program. The company also accommodates mothers returning after a maternity leave to work part‐time on a case‐by‐case basis. Employees may also request extended maternity leave with manager/executive approval.
All employees are granted three weeks holiday from the start of their employment. Vacation days are then extended based on years of service in the company. Overtime‐eligible employees working overtime can also bank their hours and use these hours as additional time off or choose to be paid out for overtime worked.
Ritchie Bros. grants eligible full‐time employees worldwide the opportunity to earn a company contribution on their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). In Canada, the current plan provides a $1.00 company contribution for each $2.00 employee contribution made (with a $3,500 per year cap).
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
After one year of employment with Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, employees have the option to purchase company stock to a maximum of four percent of their base salary, excluding overtime, bonuses and benefits. The company also has a matching program to top off employee contributions.
Profit Sharing Program
Ritchie Bros. has a profit‐sharing program which was established to share a portion of the company’s profits with eligible employees.
Training & Skills Development
Ritchie Bros. encourages employees to continue with higher learning and education to increase their current skill levels and progress in their careers within the company. Managers provide feedback on employee performances through annual reviews. Employees can also initiate a career development plan with the support of their manager and the company’s Human Resources department. The manager and HR department then provide mentoring to the employee to help them meet their career objectives.
The company also offers employees tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions that are job related or part of a long‐term career plan. In addition, Ritchie Bros. pays employee’s professional organization membership fees and supports continued skill development through a range of in‐house and online training programs in leadership, personal development & communication, management, conflict resolution, sales and technical training.
Volunteerism, community involvement and corporate giving are very important to Ritchie Bros. On average, Ritchie Bros. conducts 15 – 20 major charitable auction events each year, raising several million dollars for hospitals, hospices, youth sports organizations and industry programs.
In September 2012, Ritchie Bros. hosted the third annual Corporate Kids Challenge, which raised CA$545,000 for KidSport BC, a community‐based sports funding program that provides grants for financially disadvantaged children ages 6 to 18 to participate in amateur sport and learn valuable life lessons and skills. The previous two years the Corporate Kids Challenge raised CA$530,000 (September 2011) and CA$270,000 (September 2010) for KidSport BC. The success of the annual event—the 2013 event will be held on September 14—is made possible by the work of employee volunteers, along with KidSport BC and corporate sponsorship.
Ritchie Bros. is an active supporter of Canuck Place—the company regularly participates in the Gift of Time Gala (holding a charity auction at the event).
The company also donates to various amateur athletics and leadership development programs in the communities in which it works.
In addition to corporate benefits programs, Ritchie Bros. employees have an opportunity to engage with one another by participating in various committees and events throughout the year. Some of these include:
- A social committee that helps organize employee parties and gatherings, including St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Halloween parties
- An annual employee golf tournament
- An annual employee holiday party at the end of each year
- An annual Children’s Christmas Party for children of Ritchie Bros. employees
- A monthly “Orange Day” — the first Friday of every month, when employees are encouraged to sport orange attire (the official Company colour) and gather for an office‐wide activity (a barbecue, a potluck or just a good “old fashioned” hot dog Friday)