Randstad Canada HR Blog

Indigo: an employee experience of storytelling and culture

Posted by James Rubec on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 @ 08:42 AM

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Indigo: an employee experience of storytelling and culture

Walk into any Indigo and speak with the employees on the floor. They are smart, knowledgeable, inter-connected and above all helpful and Canadians have noticed.

For the last four years Indigo has placed within the Top 20 most attractive Canadian employer brands. What that means is that when asked during Randstad Canada’s employer branding survey, the Randstad Award, an overwhelming number of Canadians have said they want to work for Indigo.  Indigo has achieved this through storytelling.

“We think of Indigo as a cultural department store … and at its heart it is all about storytelling.”

Laura Dunne, Indigo’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources knows the brand its product line and people. With over 6,500 employees working out of 91 superstores under the brand names Chapters, Indigo and the World’s Biggest Bookstore and 130 small format stores, under Coles, Indigo, Indigospirit, SmithBooks, and The Book Company,  selling everything from books, ear buds, sheep skin throws and premium children’s toys –  that’s a lot.

That story is found in the products Indigo sells and the people they employ. Whether it is wellness, technology or housewares, Indigo shifts with the culture around it, adapting the product line and team to suit the needs of their customers.  To do this Indigo taps its national network of employees and their experiences.

Digital community connecting national teams

“We’ve built a virtual community called Galileo that allows our employees to engage with each other and our brand, overtime we increased its functionality to include a section called Galileo Ideas,” said Dunne, who found that the platform was being used to share best practices on employee experience, financial performance and other innovations “This is the grassroots for change. We have thousands of participants sharing ideas for improvements in store and in every area.”

Indigo’s brand has been closely tied to creativity and innovation and this platform grew to be an embodiment of that value.

That change and adaption has given Indigo’s talent team the opportunity to reimagine the employee experience which allows them to bring exciting partnerships into the brand and the in-store day to day.

“We partner with brands that share our values, we try to preserve their mystic as they grow with us, and we want them to be complimentary,” said Dunne.

If you go into any Indigo you experience multiple brands at the same time. You can go to a Starbucks, or into an iStore where you can buy headphones or iPads and you can shop for children’s toys like the American Girl line which Indigo recently brought to Canada. Each is catered to its own audience and each requires its own specialized team.

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“American Girl is a brand of toys, dolls and dolls accessories,” Dunne explained. “We needed to build a customer experience that was engaging for children and their parents so we launched a recruitment campaign asking people to apply for an ‘audition’ to represent the brand.”

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn

Indigo didn’t just post a few job ads with a catchy title, in the spring and fall of 2014 they launched a full social recruitment campaign with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

“We received thousands of applications and the quality of these candidates was amazing,” said Dunne explaining that the auditions were held in groups of carefully selected candidates to amplify the experience for everyone involved. “We were able to put some people in Indigo Tech, or Home in on- site sales.”

American Girl’s brand builds the self-esteem of young girls, helping them find their passions and to embrace diversity. They also have a particular service model that Indigo needed to replicate in the employee and customer experience.

One brand thousands of stories

“You need to bring that story to life. We flew down to the States and learned directly from their teams, we brought the training methodology back and rebuilt it,” said Dunne.

With an Indigo-ready training program the teams went to work and launched internally and externally. The buzz around the launch was enormous, on October 10, 2014, parents and their daughters in the thousands lined up outside waiting to get their hands on the dolls and Dunne’s new teams of American Girl representatives were ready.

And their story continues, this year Indigo has again been voted one of Canada’s leading employer brands by over 9,500 Canadians.

To find out where Indigo placed in the 2015 Randstad Award stay tuned for April 22, when we announce this year’s winners and other exciting results and insights.

What employer brand do you think will win? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter by tweeting @RandstadCanada with #RandstadAward


Find out more on www.randstadaward.ca.

What is the Randstad Award?

The Randstad Award is presented each year to the most attractive employer in various countries throughout the globe.It’s not just another prize for the trophy cabinet because the winner is based on the outcome of the world’s largest survey into employer branding. And unlike other best employer awards, it is ‘the people’s choice’, based on the views of a representative sample of employees and job-seekers in each of the participating countries. 9,500 respondents per country between the ages of 18 and 65 are asked for their views on a country’s 150 largest companies through an online questionnaire.The companies are selected through national statistics agencies. This means they cannot request or subscribe to be included in the survey. The winners are selected solely based on the appeal of their employer brand. Such careful measures ensure that the survey remains completely objective.

Tags: Canadian Business, IT recruitment, Employer branding, Training, Talent management

Women Shaping Business: Toronto Panel Discussion

Posted by James Rubec on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:26 PM

Women Shaping Business: Toronto Panel Discussion


The 2014, Women Shaping Business program brought together some amazing leaders to discuss mentorship, gender equity and the advances that organizations have made in building stronger leadership teams through diversity.

In the second event held this year on November 12, 2014, Randstad Canada welcomed over 200 business leaders from across Toronto to join in a discussion featuring an exciting and diverse panel of business leaders.

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The panel featured five great speakers including Spencer Saunders the President of Art & Science Digital Experience Design, Katherine Dimopoulos the Head of Marketing and Brand Experience at SCENE, Fawn Annan President & Group Publisher IT World Canada & Chair, Canadian Channel Chiefs Council, Ingrid Macintosh the Vice President of Portfolio Advice and Investment Research, TD Bank Group and Michael Kyritsis the VP of People and Values, Bond Brand Loyalty and was moderated by Linda Galipeau, the CEO of Randstad North America.

In this recording, which is introduced by Faith Tull, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Randstad Canada, you will hear an in-depth discussion on a number of facets of gender equity, current research on workplace diversity and new insights into the balance that our lives at work and home need to take.

Highlights include discussions on worklife harmony, the importance of verbiage surrounding adaption over accommodation and the importance of finding role models and mentors for anyone seeking to advance their career. 

Introduction Time Signatures:

00:03: Faith Tull, begins her introduction of the panel to the audience at 1 King West, in Toronto, Ontario on November 12, 2014.
4:15: – Faith Tull, introduces the panelists.
5:55: Linda Galipeau, begins her moderation of the panel.
9:00: Q1: Why do we want more diversity in the boardroom – discussion started by Katerhine Dimopoulos.
9:55: Followed up by Ingrid Macintosh.
10:33: Michael Kyritsis speaking about the importance of diversity at the table.
11:25: Q2: Does it matter what role that women take? Very few women in the roles, COO, CIO, CEO, executive women, does it matter? 
13:15: Katherine Dimopolous shares her thoughts on women helping women advance.
14:15: Linda Galipeau introduces research conducted by HP about the “confidence gap”.
16:15: Fawn Annan, speaks on how women and men network differently.
17:05: Ingrid Macintosh speaking on self-selection and the generational shift of women having their own mothers as professional role models.
19:45: Spencer Saunders shares how he has changed his shop culture to be more inclusive.
25:15: Q3: How do men and women network different and how can women network more effectively?
26:00 Fawn Annan, discusses the value of awards and recognition programs for women and organization that spur on diversity.

Join the Women Shaping Business Linkedin Group, and keep the conversation going all year around. Register with the button below.

Join the Women Shaping  Business Linkedin Group

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Tags: Womenshapingbiz, gender equity, Women in Tech, Canadian Business