It’s 4 p.m. Friday and at Calgary-based Metso Automation SCADA Solutions Ltd., that means it’s time for employees to shut off their computers and head to the third-floor social club for a free brewskie or two. This particular Friday, the division hosting the weekly bash has chosen a MASH theme. Some staff are dressed up in army fatigues or doctors’ gowns and masks. Others have their heads wrapped in bandages smeared with fake blood. There’s even one project manager dressed in drag, à la Cpl. Klinger.
Welcome to Metso, the company fun
didn’t forget. In addition to the Friday socials, Metso, which develops information management systems, sponsors “team-building” exercises for the 300 Calgary employees of the Helsinki-based group. Bands of co-workers take off a weekday afternoon (or more) for activities such as snowboarding, whitewater rafting, caving or fly-fishing. The idea is to foster friendships and loyalty that will spill over into the workplace, and it seems to be doing just that. “I find I’m working with like-minded individuals and everyone pulls their weight,” says Web designer Shannon Panko, 38. “I’ve been at companies where that’s not the case and it creates stress and ill feelings.”
President Dave Jardine says the positive vibes are no accident. Metso puts a lot of effort into screening new recruits to make sure they will fit in with the corporate culture, and on finding managers who understand the importance of the human touch. “All of these things have to be genuine, they can’t just be processes,” says Jardine. “It has to come from the heart.”
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