Monday, July 13, 2009

Rideau's Town Hall

I'm a big believer in reaching out and communicating to employees. In my opinion, you can never "over" communicate.

At Rideau, we hold regular, quarterly Employee Communication Town Halls.

My brother Stephen and I do about eight of these sessions over a two day period. They last about an hour with 30 - 35 employees attending each one. We conduct them in English and French.

The Town Halls are broken down into three sections:

1. Financial Health
2. Client's Health
3. Employee's Health

Isabelle Lavigne, our VP of People and Culture brought the model into the company with the thought that all three parts have to be healthy for Rideau to prosper.

In the financial segment, we detail where we stand from a sales and profit perspective against our original plan. We explain if there are any differences and try to give our employees a sense of where we'll end up by our fiscal year end.

In the client segment, we let our employees know about recent wins, losses, threats and opportunities. We talk about what keeps Stephen and me up at night.

The employee segment discusses a wide variety of topics. In our last sessions we talked about the results of our Employee Opinion Survey and our resulting action plan. We talked about Rideau's recent ISO 9001 certification and our Continuous Improvement Plan. We detailed the projects we completed under the plan and spoke of those in progress and those to come. We also talked about our educational and career development programs.

During the Town Hall, we take the opportunity to highlight above and beyond accomplishments of a number of our colleagues.

Corporate social responsibility is a huge issue at Rideau and we always end each Town Hall speaking about initiatives which are making us a better company.

This quarter's theme focused on water. Here's some information we provided our employees:

- Globally, one in six people do not have fresh drinking water.
- A child dies every eight seconds because they do not have fresh drinking water.
- The average North American uses 575 liters of water a day. In Mozambique the average is 10 liters a day.
- By 2025, half of the world's population will not have enough water.

I'm proud to say that all of the above tied into an effort to rid Rideau of all disposable water bottles which we did in the last quarter.

At the end of each Town Hall, we provide all employees with a small gift. This time it was a reusable water bottle.

Rideau Town Halls are critical to having knowledgeable engaged Rideau employees.