How Traction Became One of the Best Workplaces for Millennials
From the surface, Traction looks like many other tech companies that are trying to attract millennials.
- Dogs roam the hallways looking for attention and treats.
- Stray ping pong balls are a pressing threat around every corner.
- Board shorts and flip flops are a part of the dress code.
Yes, these work perks are amazing (and we’re fortunate to have them), but what truly attracts millennials to Traction isn’t visible on a quick tour of the office. Rather, it’s how we treat our employees and put them first. This means:
- Living by values that are re-evaluated each year to reflect Traction’s current population.
- Creating a career jungle gym to help Tractionites develop personally and professionally.
- Giving everyone a voice and the chance to be entrepreneurs.
Because we work so hard to create an environment for Tractionites to thrive, we are honoured to be named as one of the Best Workplaces for Millennials* by Great Place to Work Canada. This award recognizes 18 companies from across Canada that are going above and beyond to build workplaces that attract and retain top young talent.
In celebration of the award, we thought we’d share a few Traction initiatives that have contributed to a better workplace for everyone (millennials included).
Build Community. Create Opportunity. Embrace Knowledge.
These are three of Traction’s guiding values. Each Tractionite takes part in an annual exercise to set and refine our driving principles. While the values remain rooted to the original, adjustments are made every year to reflect how the company has evolved and the addition of new individuals.
In the past, our team sessions have included sticking Post-it notes on our company Airstream where we aligned similar values. This year, we took a tech-focused approach and leveraged Salesforce to capture all of the data and refine and build on in future. The results being refreshed values that resonate with all 310+ Tractionites.
Playing on the Career Jungle Gym
With an average age of 33, Traction gets employees playing on the career jungle gym early and often. As Tractionites gain a better understanding of where they’d like to take their career, they can move into jobs that help them gain experience.
Tractionites can follow a people and management path; learning how to lead teams, have difficult conversations and manage people. They could be team leads, providing support to a group of Tractionites in the same job function, or general managers, managing cross-functional teams of 20-30 Tractionites to deliver projects. Every team lead and general manager evolved into their position from elsewhere in the company and millennials account for 70 per cent of this group.
Employees can also take their careers down a technical path towards becoming a Subject Matter Expert (a Tractionite that exhibits the highest level of expertise in a specialized job, using knowledge and skill in extremely technical material, vocation and academic theory). They don’t have to manage people to progress in their careers.
Listening to the Data
At most companies, employees are measured by how much they work and their output. With Traction Pulse, we give employees the chance to tell us how work is going for them. Using descriptors like “Pretty Good” and “Brutal” on their timecards, Tractionites associate a sentiment with all the work they do. By analyzing the data, we find out what work each person enjoys, what they’d like to avoid and which projects we’re good at.
But it’s not enough to just collect the data. Leadership and general managers use the data as a leading indicator. They put the data to work by assigning resources to projects they’re likely to enjoy and starting conversations during particularly “brutal” projects or weeks.
Traction sets itself apart for millennials through the community it creates for employees to grow and develop in their careers. By taking an employee-first approach to everything we do, it’s an honour to be recognized as one of the Best Workplaces for Millennials.
Congratulations to all other organizations recognized as on the 2017 list of Best Workplaces for Millennials in Canada!
*Great Place to Work defines the millennial demographic as those born after 1980.
PS. The culture perks certainly help us attract millennials too! Check out some of the cool stuff we’ve done over the past year.