Kinaxis uses HR barbecue to boost staff awareness of services

With summer underway, Software company Kinaxis Inc. used a barbecue event last week as a way to introduce its growing human resources team to employees and explain the services they offer.

As the Ottawa-based company has grown, its human resources and facilities team has expanded as well, to 14 people today from four members about three years ago. The team’s functions include compensation and benefits, recruitment, training and development, performance management, succession planning, site renovations and maintenance and building efficiency.

“We wanted to basically give employees the opportunity to see how we’ve grown, what type of services we offer, how we can show our support and really introduce the team,” says Lori Johns, the company’s human resources manager.

Read: Manulife lays out all the options in award-winning benefits communication strategy

The team wore matching Kinaxis aprons, which also included details about the different areas of human resources each person looks after, such as North American benefits, succession planning and mentorship. “The idea was that they could come up to us and see what each of us was responsible for and identify the different services and support we could offer and ask any questions that they may have,” says Johns.

During the barbecue, the team served hotdogs, hamburgers and vegetarian burgers to almost 400 employees. “We put out picnic blankets and tables, and people hung around and chatted,” says Johns. “It was perfect weather for it — 25 degrees and sunny.”

Since Kinaxis also has a lot of remote employees, it created a postcard with photos of the human resources and facilities team, says Belinda Thomas-Dunphy, the company’s internal communications specialist. “So we’re sending that to all of our staff around the world, and we handed it out at the barbecue.”

Kinaxis also used the barbecue to promote its corporate giving policy, with a table set up to provide information on its three charitable partners — the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Interval House of Ottawa and QuickStart Autism — as well as donation jars for each organization.

“Historically, we’ve always worked with QuickStart Autism. We are continuing to do that, but as happens when employee population grows, there’s a lot of causes that people feel passionate about,” says Thomas-Dunphy.

“In addition, because we have a growing global base, we’re also matching any donations and people can take time off to volunteer for the charity of their choice.”

Read: Canadians want volunteering opportunities organized by employers: study

The new corporate giving policy includes one hour of paid time off per month for each employee to volunteer, as well as a $100 donation from the company for every 20 hours of volunteering. The company also provides a one-to-one donation match up to $200 per employee each year. In addition, it offers a dollar-to-dollar company match for any employee-hosted fundraising event.

During the barbecue, the human resources and facilities team also promoted the company’s new rewards and recognition program. In the past, Kinaxis had offered an informal peer-to-peer recognition program, but it took its efforts online this year, says Johns.

“Everyone is able to go in. You can recognize people and tie it to one of our core values. You actually assign a monetary amount to it and everything is tied back to Amazon, so everyone in our company is able to access it and get rewarded that way as well.”

Read: Apps, peer recognition among the trends in employee recognition programs