This week we welcome guest blogger Hannah Noble, Human Resources Assistant as she shares her experiences as a new grad and why she chose to work at Sigma Systems:

Being a new grad, I was very excited and a little anxious to start my career. With some work experience from my undergraduate co-op program under my belt, I knew I wanted to work for a fast-paced software company that really values their employees. This is when I came across Sigma Systems. At Sigma, they take great pride in their employees. The HR team works hard to provide the best employee experience possible, which is very evident on their career page and what attracted me to work here in the first place. On Sigma’s website, they proudly display their achievements for winning the 2015 Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers, and the Greater Toronto’s Top 2015 Employers awards. As I was interviewing, I had the opportunity to learn more. From employee engagement initiatives – like their annual summer event – to their core values that were created based on employee feedback, Sigma truly believes their employees hold very high value, which is why I chose to join the Sigma team!

In my first few days at Sigma, I took note of how useful the onboarding process is! From day one, I was matched up with a buddy through Sigma’s Mentorship Program. This program is in place to help new employees feel connected to the Sigma family right from the first day. My Buddy isn’t from the same team as me and this has provided me with the opportunity to interact with other employees I may not have had the chance to in my day to day job. On day one, I was also provided with a detailed schedule of my onboarding program which included meeting with each one of my team members individually to get to know them (some of whom are in the United Kingdom and India), and participating in a two-part product overview session. The onboarding program has given me a great foundation to help introduce me to the culture and better understand my role at Sigma. A bonus: the commute to Sigma is great. Being right across from Union makes coming to work so convenient!

Something I’ve learned over the past two months is that Sigma is very transparent with their employees. Employees are kept in the loop of important events and announcements and there is a strong emphasis on unity. This is one of the reasons why I love working here and why it is such a great place for new grads to start their careers!

Along with the awesome culture, Sigma also has a very large global community. This creates lots of opportunities to learn from different cultures around the world. I’m really looking forward to gaining a global perspective and taking part in the amazing opportunities here at Sigma to learn and develop!

In this week’s blog, we ask our Senior Human Resources, Business Partner, Lisa Hand to sit down with one of our employees, Rakesh Hirani to chat about career development at Sigma. Both Lisa and Rakesh work out of our Wales office in the United Kingdom. Here’s what they had to say:

Career development at Sigma is truly one of our main priorities. Our people are some of the most talented individuals in our industry and we want to ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential and career aspirations. Being a global organization, this opens up doors for our people to not only progress their career at a local level but also globally through travel and experiences of working with people from different cultures and countries.

We recently asked Rakesh Hirani to share his experiences at Sigma. Rakesh’s story is a great example of the opportunities available at Sigma. He has been with the company since 2012 and during that short time has already worked his way from a Technical Support Analyst to our EMEA Regional and Technical Support Manager managing a team of nine. He is responsible for managing the support team and function across the EMEA region and regularly gets the opportunity to both travel to customer sites as well as collaborate with his support colleagues across the globe. For example, in recent months he has had the opportunity to travel to Canada, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, India and Germany.

 

What do you love most about working at Sigma?

I love the work culture we have here. It’s heavily based around teamwork. I enjoy interacting with new team members across the ever-growing global team and overcoming challenges with both new and existing customers. It really does make each day different!

 

What’s the best career advice you have ever received?

Hard work and ambition is always rewarded, be patient and persistent and it will be recognized.

 

What’s the most impactful thing you have learned since joining Sigma?

Step back and visualize the bigger picture. This has made a huge difference to my work on a daily basis.

 

What’s the most important qualities you look for in a teammate?

Dedication, reliability, ambition, persistence and open mindedness

 

What’s the coolest project you have worked on since joining?

Proximus has to be the most interesting. I’ve learnt a lot from working with them and developed myself as a person. This was one of the first major customers I worked with and where we continue to face the most challenging situations. The main reason for it being my most interesting project is because it’s the one that really pushes me to deliver my best.

 

What has been your biggest achievement at Sigma?

Winning the 2014 Salute Success award which was voted for by the whole UK team.
Our focus on career development is one of the many reasons why employees love working at Sigma so much. It is also one of the reasons why we have been recognized as a top employer in our various locations around the world. Please take the time to review our current opportunities as this could be your chance to join our team and help us do things The Sigma Way!

A comment I hear again and again from both our long standing employees as well as our new team members is “There is always something to eat at Sigma!” It’s true. We do have a plentiful supply of snacks including daily fruit, juice, coffee, tea and pop offerings, Tim Horton’s breakfast Wednesdays, ice cream Thursdays and cake on your birthday. I also can’t forget the special event pizza parties, and spontaneous team lunches to celebrate wins.  This list varies depending on the office location, but regardless of work site, it still remains true that Sigma likes to eat!

That being said, I was a little weary when I pitched my idea for Healthy Eat Week at Sigma. Our VP, of Human Resources was all for the idea but how would the rest of the company react when we replaced their Tim’s breakfast with a super healthy substitute of baked apples, granola, and hummus, or encouraged the drinking of water flavoured with lemons and berries instead of pop, and in place of ice cream on Thursdays, we would offer up fruit platters with a hint of chocolate sauce instead (hey, there has to be balance!)?

Turns out, our employees embraced Healthy Eat Week with open arms. Even our die hard diet coke drinkers tried out the real fruit flavoured water and commented that it was much better than they thought it would be! What other activities did we run on Healthy Eat Week?

Our London and Wales office in the UK, added some healthy options to their usual supply of biscuits and pop including cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit and yogurt. These healthy choices flew off the shelves.

Additionally, in the Wales office, my amazing HR colleagues ran their first interactive lunch and learn session focusing on healthy lunch options to take to work. An instructor came in to share a healthy soup recipe to make from scratch in 15 minutes. Participants, even those who had never peeled a carrot before, were able to make their own versions, and enjoy it when it was cooked!

Back in the Toronto office, we also held a lunch and learn focusing on Healthy Eating on The Go. The instructor shared lots of tips and debunked some myths about eating at some of our favourite restaurants. We also stocked up on daily offerings of yogurt, granola, breakfast bars and trail mix and posters with healthy eating tips were displayed all over the office.

All in all, Healthy Eat Week was a success! Employees learned that small changes in their diet can make a big difference in how they feel on a day-to-day basis. It’s now a couple weeks later and employees are still commenting on how much they appreciated the little changes we incorporated. Special thanks to our HR team in the UK for all of their efforts.

 

It’s Summer! Not only does this time of year bring warmer days and mild evenings, but it also tends to spur an increase in events. Events like bbq’s, festivals, patio parties, and my favourite – company soirees, are on the rise in the summer months. Speaking of company events, Sigma knows how to throw a celebration to be remembered! Time and time again, I receive feedback from our employees about how fortunate they feel to work somewhere that truly understands the value of celebrating successes. In fact, one of our core company values is “Salute Success” which encourages the celebration of our wins, big and small. Therefore, great company events are a must. Past events have included holiday parties at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the CN tower, themed parties at the King Edward, summer picnics at Centre Island, electronic scavenger hunts in downtown Toronto and all day excursions at the Celtic Manor in Wales. Providing time for employees to socialize off site is an integral piece of our company culture.

Over the last couple of weeks, the HR team and social event committee has been spending time on planning our Annual Summer Event in both Toronto and Wales. I’m unable to reveal too much information, but our focus on health and wellness this year may contribute to what we have planned and being outside if the weather cooperates is inevitable.

Finally, as promised in my last blog, I wanted to provide an update on another event which took place a couple of weeks ago in Toronto – The Rat Race for United Way. Our team of 13 Sigma Systems Speed Demons ran our hearts out and everyone had a great time. We surpassed our fundraising goal and celebrated with dinner and drinks at a local pub after the race. Yay team!

The month of June is off to an exceptional start at Sigma Systems. Not only are our employees increasing their physical activity by participating in a little bit of healthy global competition (read more about this in my first blog), we also learned on Monday, June 1st that Birch Hill Equity Partners had made a significant investment in Sigma Systems to help fund our continued growth plans. Earlier this week, our employees all over the world were treated to a special edition of Town Hall. During the meeting, our CEO and Birch Hill partners shared the special news and provided everyone with detailed information around the investment. A chunk of time was set aside for our employees to ask any questions they had around the investment as it is very important to our leaders to ensure everyone felt well informed.  The Town Hall was closed with the words “Opportunity is Knocking. Buckle Your Seatbelts!” What a truly exciting time to be a member of the Sigma team.

What’s on the agenda for next week? Our company understands the importance of giving back and helping those in need. We have a strong partnership with Free the Children and have raised thousands to help support this organization’s initiatives over the years. We also think it is important to support programs to help our local community.  As this is the case, we have a team of employees in our Toronto office gearing up to participate in a charitable fun run, The Rat Race for United Way taking place in the downtown core. As Team Captain for the group, I am so proud of everyone who is taking part. Our group consists of both seasoned runners and some who have never ran before. I have had the pleasure of watching the experts share exercise tips with the newbies, and I am confident everyone will complete the race with a big smile on their face. I’m truly lucky to be working in an organization where team work (both in and outside the office) is highly valued and appreciated. Stay tuned for an update and pictures of the race in my next blog!