This past year has been full of surprises for our team, as RLB has been recognized as a Platinum Level Best Small & Medium Employer for 2017 by Aon, and also for having one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for 2017 by the team over at Waterstone Human Capital. We are so excited and humbled to be acknowledged for these awards alongside many of the most innovative companies operating in Canada.

Fortunately for us, it hasn’t ended there; it was recently announced that RLB was listed as one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers (SME) for 2017!


What does winning the SME award mean?

The SME award is an editorial competition entering its 4th year, focused specifically on recognizing small and medium-sized Canadian organizations (with fewer than 500 employees) that remain competitive in their industries, due to their organization’s forward-thinking Human Resources policies. They have claimed that these small and medium-sized organizations are crucial to the nation, since they are responsible for over half of our GDP, make up almost 90% of the private-sector labour force, and are responsible for over three-quarters of new jobs that have been created in the past decade.

Want to know how RLB won this award? Our organization was evaluated under the following eight criteria:


Physical Workplace

We have 3 offices across Southwestern Ontario, located in Guelph, Fergus, and Kitchener. Our largest office is our Guelph location, where we have recently celebrated our 1st anniversary since moving in. It is an innovative, open-concept building, with lots of room to group our team. Inside we have our firm’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values displayed throughout the walls of the office to motivate and encourage our Team Members. In addition to the Guelph office’s features, our Kitchener office includes a state-of-the-art massage chair for our team to use throughout the work day, and our Fergus office has recently received a brand new reception area, among other recent renovations. All three of our locations feature many other amenities, including collaboration stations and stand-up work spaces that allow our Team Members to take a break from sitting at their desks throughout the day.


Work Atmosphere & Social

At RLB, we understand the importance of work-life balance. This flexibility for our team is engrained in our corporate culture, and has resulted in our firm leaders supporting initiatives aimed at continually improving engagement. A great example of this would be Partner level support to incorporate an on-site gym and lounge space into our new Guelph office. This allows our Team Members to work-out and relieve stress on their own schedule, whether it be before, during or after their work day. Alternatively, our lounge space provides a casual area for our Team Members to take periodic breaks throughout the day, where they can kick back and read a book, make a personal call, or even play a game of Mario Kart with their co-workers on our Wii U gaming console. Our Kitchener and Fergus offices also host the same work-life balance atmosphere, and engage in several team building, social and community initiatives on a regular basis.


Health, Financial & Family Benefits

In addition to our standard benefit allotments that we provide to our team, there are many other initiatives at the firm that support health and wellness throughout RLB, especially during tax season. During our busiest time of the year, we bring in dinner for those who stay late on Tuesdays and Thursdays, provide healthy snacks firm-wide on Wednesdays, offer yoga sessions and massages during the work day, and even bring a dental hygienist on-site to make it easier on the team. We also offer a percentage of reimbursement for any physical activity related cost that Team Members choose to participate in, such as sports team fees or gym memberships.

Our team and their families also have access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program, where services such as a Health Library, 12-week wellness program, smoking cessation program, various e-Courses, counselling and much more are provided. We choose to do a great deal for our team and their families, as we recognize how much our team does for RLB.


Vacation & Time Off

Something we do at RLB that is a little different from many other public accounting firms is offer paid overtime to all our Team Members, up and until the Manager level. This means that during our busiest season, our team is able to bank their overtime hours, and instead use them to cover the time they spend outside of the office when we are closed on Fridays in July and August. Yup, you read that correctly – our firm shuts down across all three locations for the warmest Fridays of the summer! Any additional overtime that our Team Members bank can be paid out at the end of the year, or taken as extra time off, in addition to personal and vacation allotments.

On top of having Fridays off during the less busy times of the year, we also allow our Team Members to work on flexible hours outside of Tax Season. This means that during the summer and fall, our Team Members are able to enjoy the freedom of creating their own work hours that fit their own unique lifestyles.


Employee Communications

In addition to standard office communication means, such as email or telephone, one highly utilized method of communication among the firm is called Slack. Slack is a cloud-based messaging tool for Team Members to use across all three of our offices. What’s unique about this program is the ability to create a variety of different “channels” (firm-wide threads) that can be accessed by all Team Members. This allows our whole team to communicate effectively, whether it be about upcoming community events, new health and wellness initiatives, or just sharing a funny article. However, our most popular channel by far is our “snack channel”, used to let the team know when there are treats around the office!


Performance Management

Each year at RLB, we administer a 360-degree feedback process firm-wide. This allows our team to anonymously provide constructive feedback to one another following the firm’s busiest time of the year. This feedback is provided to each Team Member by what we call the “People Leaders” of each team. This happens in one of four meetings that occur throughout the year, and allows our Team Members to incorporate the feedback into their goal setting for the following year. In addition to this firm-wide process, we are constantly encouraging our team to provide constructive and positive feedback to their peers on a daily basis. This culture of growth and open communication has been crucial to our success in building the firm’s future leaders!


Training & Skills Development

At RLB, we invest heavily in our people to ensure they have the resources they need to achieve their goals. We have a People Investment Officer (PIO) who is responsible, at the Partner level, for a number of the people initiatives we carry out. These include frequent re-recruiting meetings with professional staff, promotional training, and overseeing our Leadership Development Program (along-side our Director of Human Resources). In addition to our internal programs that we administer within the firm, we also provide all our Team Members with paid Professional Development days. This allows our Team Members to take courses that align well with their professional goals, while RLB covers all mileage and accommodation costs, and compensates the Team Member for the time they take to complete the course.


Community Involvement

One of the firm’s 6 Core Values is our commitment to community partnership and growth by enhancing the communities in which we live and work. We are proud of our deep community involvement and many partnerships with local groups and organizations. We invest in our community’s social fabric by supporting various local charitable organizations with both time and financial support. Some of these include the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Coldest Night of the Year, Movember and many more. We have participated in various Women in Leadership initiatives, Big Bike rides, Wellington Warrior Challenges and Global Corporate Challenges. We are members of Sustainable Waterloo, an organization focused on creating greener organizations, and we are also major sponsors for many of the local universities surrounding our three office locations.

Now that our Guelph office has moved to a larger physical office space, we have been able to open our doors to local not-for-profit organizations from around the region to use at no cost for events or seminars. We genuinely love giving back to the community in a big way, and this is what we believe makes us stand out as a public accounting firm in Southwestern Ontario!


We would like to thank our team, clients and community for allowing us to achieve this milestone; being recognized as one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers (SME) for 2017 is an absolute honour! Congratulations to all our Team Members and fellow SME winners… Cheers!