hands stacked together with warm light behind it

Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation Announces 2020 Grant Recipients

Waving in front of a house in Peru

2019 Ian Martin Meaningful Volunteer Program Highlights

Last May, we announced the two winners of Ian Martin’s annual Meaningful Work Volunteer Program, Jessica Meaney and Chris Kennett. Both Jessica and Chris are back from their trips and have some exciting highlights to share!

Ian Martin’s Meaningful Work Volunteer Program offers up to $10,000 for Ian Martin contractors to take an international volunteer trip of their choice to make the world a better place. In 2019 we awarded two contractor volunteer trips, both of which took place this past October. Jessica Meaney headed to Cambodia to participate in a Habitat for Humanity Global Village project, and Chris Kennett headed to Peru with Calgary-based Light Up The World to provide solar photovoltaic systems in rural communities without access to electricity.

Here’s a closer look at these life-changing projects.

Jessica Meaney – Habitat For Humanity – Cambodia

Jessica was in Cambodia for one week supporting the Global Village project, which helps urban populations in Cambodia construct disaster resilient and appropriate housing and sanitation solutions.

Jessica worked on a team of 13 Canadian nationals alongside local Cambodian masons. Their efforts helped build two homes for two families; these homes are specifically built to sustain environmental challenges affecting these communities, such as frequent flooding.

Meaningful work means working for something beyond yourself and providing benefit for others. By helping to build this home, we were literally building the foundation for these families to experience meaningful work themselves – they are now able to have a safe home, enabling them to have better opportunities to help their families and their communities.

– Jessica Meaney

For Jessica, the trip enforced her desire to have a positive impact in her local community. Working on a team as part of a large project, she learned that each individual task has incredible importance and impact on helping people and their families thrive.

Chris Kennett – Light Up The World – Peru

In Latin America, 30 million people are without access to electricity. Chris travelled to the Peruvian Andes to install a solarphotaic power system at a rural school that was nearly an hour’s drive away from any power grids.

Light Up The World does a lot of due diligence making sure the systems are set up properly and are sustainable for the communities to run long-term. This allows these communities to transition away from using fuel-based lighting and spending a significant amount of their income on batteries.

The most meaningful part for me was the fit for purpose of the installation. The solarphotaic system is designed to last 15 years or more. When we were done and you see that every room had lighting and the school was able to bring in laptops and projectors for education, it was really a fit for their needs. I’m happy that the children will get so many years of benefit from our work.

– Chris Kennett

For Chris, the trip reinforced just how much people can thrive when their basic needs are met. Thanks to his efforts, the children at the school he was working at will have access to better education, and will go on to help their families and communities in the years to come.


We’re so proud of both Jessica and Chris for using their talents towards these life-changing projects and for joining us in our mission to connect more people in meaningful work. To read more about our Meaningful Work Volunteer program (and, if you are a current Ian Martin contractor, to apply), click here. To see our past winner Sam Cheng’s story, click here.


hands stacked together with warm light behind it

Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation Announces 2019 Grant Recipients

The summer is heating up, and so are Ian Martin’s stewardship efforts! Our company mission is to connect people in meaningful work—but we understand that there are real barriers to employment that people face. Through the Meaningful Work Foundation, we’re funding community organizations in North America and India that explicitly work towards breaking down barriers to employment. This life-saving work provides the foundation for personal growth so more people can come into an experience of meaningful employment and self-fulfillment.

In fiscal 2019, the Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation has donated a total of $85,000 across six organizations. We are beyond delighted to introduce our 2019 grant recipients: Plan International Canada, LiveWorkPlay, and Cornerstone Housing for Women. From equitable access to education, housing, and employment opportunities, these organizations are transforming their communities in immensely impactful ways.


Plan International Canada

Children, especially girls, are among the world’s most vulnerable populations. Plan International Canada works around the world to advance children’s rights and equality for girls, and creates lasting impact in the lives of children and their communities.

The Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation has donated $15,000 towards a 5-year pledge totaling in $75,000, which focuses on the Rajdhani region of India and includes the following objectives:

  • Providing children under the age of 3 with early childhood care, nutritional support & education services to build community platforms and networks;
  • Hold trainings with the theme of children’s rights, child protection, and International Day of the Girl;
  • Promote immunization amongst children;
  • Promote birth delivery in hospitals;
  • Collaborate with the government to reach more children & provide quality services for children;
  • Encourage parents to take interest in the school system & training of the school management committees, and;
  • Continue to focus on women and girl’s safety issues in the project location and surrounding areas.

The first step towards meaningful work on a global scale is ensuring the basic needs of our world’s children are met, so we’re excited to be working alongside Plan International Canada to advocate for children’s rights in India.

For more information, visit https://plancanada.ca/


LiveWorkPlay – Ottawa, Canada

People with intellectual disabilities are among the least privileged people in our society and are particularly vulnerable to exclusion and poverty. LiveWorkPlay helps the community welcome and include people with intellectual disabilities, autistic people, and individuals with a dual diagnosis to live, work, and play as valued citizens. They work directly with about 200 people with disabilities each year with a variety of supports focused on inclusive outcomes in housing, employment, and social lives.

LiveWorkPlay’s work is focused on individuals with intellectual disabilities having homes of their own (with the supports they need to succeed), real work for real pay, and engagement in recreation, arts, sports, citizenship, and friendships throughout the community with individuals and organizations from all walks of life.

The Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation has donated $15,000 towards their LiveWorkPlay Employment Task Force and Federal Employment Strategy Group, which will support 50 new hires for people with intellectual disabilities, autistic persons, and individuals with a dual diagnosis.


For more information, visit www.liveworkplay.ca.


Cornerstone Housing for Women – Ottawa, Canada

It’s a well-researched fact that affordable housing saves lives and is directly linked to increased employment rates. And after experiencing homelessness, women, and especially Indigenous women, face unique barriers to success. The reasons why women become homeless are varied, but the main reason is lack of affordable housing, followed by mental health challenges and hospital stays, partner violence and relationship breakdowns, addictions due to chronic trauma and abuse and immigration/newcomer challenges. Cornerstone Housing for Women is an emergency shelter that also provides safe and affordable housing for women in Ottawa.

The Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation has donated $15,000 towards the Life-Long Learning Centre, which helps to remove barriers to employment by offering skills training, educational bursary support and opportunities for personal growth and development. The Centre provides women with opportunities to try new skills in a supportive environment and gain positive experiences so they can build on that momentum towards job readiness. For this project, Cornerstone is also providing Indigenous women’s support services—such as cultural education and support by local Elders—to welcome the women and set them up for success.

For more information, visit https://www.cornerstonewomen.ca/.


Plan International, LiveWorkPlay, and Cornerstone Housing join our roster of current partnerships with Autism Speaks Canada, Windmill Microlending, and Iris Malawi. Together with our grant recipients and partners, the Ian Martin Meaningful Work Foundation is continuing our mission to break down barriers to employment, and to lead with purpose towards a more inclusive economy.

The winners of our 2019 Meaningful Work Volunteer Program are….

… Jessica Meaney and Chris Kennett!

They say two is better than one, and we’re delighted to introduce two of our contractors, Jessica Meaney and Chris Kennett, who will be putting their skills to use to help others around the world in 2019!

It is a deeply held core belief here at the Ian Martin Group that every act of meaningful work can have a profound influence on the world. In order to further connect our pool of skilled contractors to our mission, in March of 2017 we launched our annual Meaningful Work Volunteer Program. This program offers up to $10,000 for Ian Martin contractors to take an international volunteer trip of their choice to make the world a better place.

Here’s what Jessica and Chris will be doing to change lives in Cambodia and Peru:

Jessica Meaney

As a dedicated volunteer in my local community, I was thrilled to be selected for this year’s Meaningful Work Volunteer Program. This coming October, I will be traveling to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to participate in a 10-day Habitat for Humanity Global Village project. The organization’s efforts in this area are focused on supporting urban populations construct disaster resilient and appropriate housing and sanitation solutions.

I look forward to immersing myself in the local culture and working alongside community members to build a new home for a local family. Ultimately, I hope that my participation in the program will help to break down barriers and enable the deserving family to live a happier, healthier, and more financially secure life.

Chris Kennett

The volunteer organization I’ve selected is Light Up the World (LUTW), a Canadian non-profit organization focused on the principle that access to energy changes lives. LUTW works in rural communities without access to electricity to provide solar photovoltaic systems that help communities transition away from using fuel-based lighting and spending a significant amount of their income on batteries and charging cell phones.

LUTW has installed hundreds of systems in the Peruvian Andes, which is where this assignment will take place. The volunteer experience is hands-on with far reaching impacts, including: health and safety in the home, enhanced opportunities for education, and increased household income. I look forward to meeting new people, experiencing a new culture and ultimately participating in LUTW’s goal of helping to lift others out of energy poverty from a sustainable source.

We are so proud of Jessica’s and Chris’s passion and determination to use their skills toward meaningful work that changes lives. We look forward to sharing more about their trips at the end of the year!

So, It’s Not About the Money?

Digging into the bigger whys behind corporate social responsibility efforts


New research confirms that small and medium-sized businesses, like Ian Martin, aren’t just taking on social and environmental causes in an attempt to indirectly boost their bottom lines.

A recent research article by a team of academics from the University of Waterloo raises some interesting observations about the motivations at play for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who choose to invest in the greater good of their communities and the world.

In doing the research for their article, Conceptualizing businesses as social actors: A framework for understanding sustainability actions in small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises, the authors looked at the underlying drivers of social and environmental efforts of SMEs . They dove deep into data from over 1,600 Canadian SMEs and conducted complementary in‐depth interviews with a variety of companies, including Ian Martin. What they discovered was that the motivations of SMEs paint a picture that’s got many more shades than just the green of cold, hard cash.

Traditionally, SMEs have been viewed by society as “rational actors,” a term used to describe organizations that calculate costs and benefits in a deliberate pursuit of profits. The overarching goal of efforts for these types of companies is growth and profit. If rational actors choose to invest in environmental or social causes, the assumption is that they are doing so because there will be some sort of economic gain as a result of their efforts. Costs savings from energy reduction initiatives and greater employee engagement as a result of charitable giving campaigns are two examples of this type of thinking.

But business is changing and things are no longer so black and white. Realizing this, the authors of the article set out to identify some of the other factors that motivate SMEs to become involved in environmental and social causes. The research findings challenge the common assumption that SMEs primarily see sustainability as a way to cut costs. Today, many SMEs are even more powerfully motivated by building a good reputation within their community and aligning business operations with their personal values.

The authors rely on the concept of “social actors” to characterize organizations that are capable of seeing beyond the balance sheet as they define their business, set intentions, make and act on their decisions and hold themselves accountable for their actions. They identify four dimensions that influence the actions of social actors:

  1. The intentions, identities, beliefs and aspirations of individuals within the organization
    In interviews conducted for the research, every single respondent referred to personal values as an important factor behind their company’s adoption of sustainability goals, including aspirations to address climate change, advance social and gender equality, reduce waste and promote sustainable food production.
  1. The internal social relationships within the organization
    When asked what value they placed on internal social agendas at their company, 89% of the firms surveyed perceived employee well-being as important.
  1. The network of external social relationships at play in the organization’s day-to-day operations
    Of the firms surveyed for their research, 75% sited building good relations in their local area as either important, very important or extremely important. Whether through encouraging employees to be involved with local organizations and their causes or ensuring social and environmentally responsible sourcing through their supply chain, social and environmental agendas are shaped through strong external social relationships.
  1. The social environment, including the institutional landscape and social norms of the organization
    Building a good community reputation was most often cited as the most important benefit associated with acting on sustainability found in the research.

While there’s no doubt that businesses must operate competitively in order to survive, this type of research helps increase awareness that growing the bottom line is no longer the sole objective for a growing number of companies. At Ian Martin, we believe business can and should be used as a force for good. As a Certified B Corporation, we are working with 1,600 other companies from 42 countries across the globe to redefine success in business. In addition to being financially successful, our B Corporation status means that we hold ourselves to the world’s highest standards for positively impacting our employees, our customers, our community and the environment.

If you’re currently looking for work and wondering if there are advantages to employment with a Certified B Corporation, here are some blog posts that will give you a better sense of how our B Corp status inspires us to do things a little differently at Ian Martin:

Be a Gift Giver: Apply for a Job, Change a Life

Meaningful Work in Cambodia: One IMG Contractor’s Story

BCorp Day 2018


If you’re an employer and you’re curious if social responsibility is really on the radar of potential candidates, this blog post is well worth your time:  Do Candidates Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility?

Be a Gift Giver: Apply for a Job, Change A Life

Raise your hand if any of the following thoughts have passed through your mind when hitting the submit button during the online job application process: 

  • “Will I stand out as a good fit for this job?” 
  • “Will the right person even see my resume?” 
  • “Will I actually hear back from a human this time?” 

If your hand is in the air right now, know that you’re not alone. At Ian Martin, we understand the job search process can sometimes leave candidates feeling like they’re a party of one in an uncertain and ego-challenging land. While we can’t promise all 10,000 of the candidates we receive resumes from each month a personal follow up call, we do feel strongly that the experience shouldn’t leave candidates feeling disconnected. 

That’s why when you apply for a position with Ian Martin you’re given an opportunity to connect with someone else on the planet who is also on a quest to find meaningful work. Every time a candidate applies for an Ian Martin posting, they’re given a $25 credit to make a loan to a entrepreneur of their choice through Kiva. 

Kiva is an international not-for-profit organization with a mission to alleviate poverty by connecting people through lending. By offering access to small amounts of capital, Kiva connects entrepreneurs who aren’t able to access funds from institutions, friends, or family, the way that many of us in the first world can. That funding, in turn, allows the recipients to do meaningful work to support themselves, their families, and their communities. Kiva loans are true loans, with interest fees and an expectation of full repayment. Kiva’s current 97% loan repayment rate illustrates that the entrepreneurs receiving these funds respect that. 

Since launching our Kiva applicant donation program in 2014, Ian Martin applicants have helped alter the lives of thousands of people across the globe. While not every single applicant elects to donate their $25 credit, the impact of those that do quickly adds up. Four years into the program, applicants’ efforts have already: 

  • Produced over $100,000 in loans 
  • Impacted communities in over 84 countries 
  • Created life-altering new opportunities for 2,776 female entrepreneurs and 900 male entrepreneurs 

To provide a better sense of the impact that applicants are making, here are profiles of just a few of the entrepreneurs whose loans were funded with $25 deposits from Ian Martin applicants in the last few months of 2018: 

  • Nena, an entrepreneur in the Philippines, received a loan of $575 to help buy fish trap materials like plastic screening, bamboo, nails and nylon string, and dried fish. 
  • Zaida, an entrepreneur in Uganda, received a loan of $150 to help stock her store with more tomatoes, onions, and avocados. 
  • Marame’s team of women in rural Senegal received a loan of $2100 to help them buy sheep. 
  • Arc secured a loan of $200 to purchase more hairdressing material and hair products for her beauty salon in Zimbabwe. 
  • Daniel, an agricultural entrepreneur in El Salvador, received a loan of $1,000 to buy supplies to grow corn and pay for labour. 
  • Kadiatu’s female farming collective in Sierra Leone received a loan of $2,375 to help them pay for improved seed, organic inputs, and tractor rental. This will allow them to transition from subsistence farming to working a larger area of land with a higher yield. 

If you’d like to apply for a new position and help change the life of an entrepreneur in the process with a $25 Kiva credit, browse our current job opportunities in: 

To receive alerts about new job opportunities in the industries that are of interest to you, you can also register to have a daily or weekly email with the latest postings sent directly to your inbox, here.

To learn more about kiva, visit kiva.org.


Delight a Job Seeker (and Support the #BEconomy) with these Black Friday BCorp Picks

Is there a job seeker on your holiday shopping list this year? If you’re stumped on what to get them, your search is about to get a whole lot easier. We’ve compiled a list of some favourite thoughtful items that may come in handy during their job search, but that’s not all. Every gift suggestion you’ll find in the list below is made by a company that is, like Ian Martin, a certified B Corporation. That means they’ve been independently audited and meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corps aren’t just in for the bottom line –  they see business as a force for good in this world. B Corp companies compete to be the best FOR the world, the people living in it, and the natural environment. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #1: A Great Work Bag 

For new grads, making the transition from lecture hall to boardroom can be tricky. Help them update their style with a classic bag that means business. 

Our suggestion: The Slim Briefcase by LeDaveed 

LeDaveed bags are made in Canada with Nixburg Bullskin full-grain German leather, which is durable, waterproof, and uses 80% less water than the average leather to create.  This classic briefcase is an investment piece, but they will use it for years to come. The bag was designed based on detailed feedback from 200 on-the-go professionals, resulting in an array of unique features. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #2: A Classic and Comfortable Pair of Well-made Shoes 

There’s nothing that detracts style points from a new interview outfit faster than a pair of scuffed-up old shoes. Ensure they’re dressed for success from head to toe with a quality pair of shoes. 

Our suggestion: Nisolo is a direct-to-consumer shoe company that makes contemporary classics that transition effortlessly from work to play. The James Oxford is a great choice for women and the Luca Chukka Boot is a versatile choice for men. The skilled shoemakers who produce these shoes receive, at a minimum, beyond fair trade wages, healthcare, and a healthy working environment.  


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #3A High-quality Dress Shirt 

A classic white dress shirt is a job interview staple that deserves a space in everyone’s closet, whether they’re currently looking for work or not. 

Our suggestion: 

Tuckerman & Co.’s dress shirts are made with 100% GOTS-certified cotton, the gold standard for organic cotton. They also have thoughtful design details like non-toxic canvas interlining to help collars and cuffs keep their shape, real mother of pearl buttons and a slightly raised hem, so shirts looks good whether tucked in or untucked. The Men’s White Twill and Women’s White Twill are both timeless choices. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #4A Caffeine Upgrade 

Whether they’re burning the midnight oil perfecting their resume or setting out early in the morning for a job interview, a great cup of coffee will be well appreciated.  

Our suggestion: 

Ethical Bean is a Canadian coffee company that has set a goal to compete with the world’s biggest growers and roasters on quality and taste, but only with fair trade, organically grown beans. Their Sample 6 Pack includes enough coffee to make three pots each of both their Lush Medium-Dark Roast and Classic Medium Roast. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #5A Recommended Reading Collection 

In case their job search has left them feeling in need of a little inspiration, give them some reading material to remind them that it’s possible to have a great career and make the planet a better place at the same time.  

Our suggestion: 

Patagonia’s Business Library is a collection of three books that offers over 40 years of business wisdom, strategies, and practices from a company that was viewing itself as a shareholder of the planet long before it was cool. In Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, offers insight into the persistence and courage that have gone into leading one of the world’s most respected and environmentally responsible companies. Tools for Grassroots Activists captures wisdom and advice from 20 years of the Patagonia Tools Conference, an event Patagonia hosts that brings together inspiring thought leaders. The Responsible Company shares stories from experiences at Patagonia as well as efforts by other companies to illustrate some of the key elements of responsible business for our time.


Did you know that just by submitting your resume to Ian Martin, you too can become a meaningful gift-giver? Every applicant to Ian Martin’s jobs receives $25 to invest in a microloan that helps an entrepreneur who does not have access to traditional banking systems via Kiva.org. It’s just one way jobseekers can join our mission of breaking down barriers to meaningful work. Together, we are changing the way business is done by creating benefit for people and our planet. 

If you know of someone that is on a mission to find meaningful work, please encourage them to browse our current job openings and also check out BWork, the world’s largest job board for purpose-driven job seekers.


Tap into Your Recruiter’s Knowledge for In-the-trenches Compensation Intelligence

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, having a solid understanding of salary expectations has never been more important. With the introduction of salary disclosure legislation, like Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act, compensation rates are becoming increasingly front and centre in recruiting. Effective January 2019, jobs that are advertised publicly will be required to include the expected compensation or range of compensation and off-point salary ranges can be seriously off putting to candidates. Where once a sub-par salary often didn’t factor into the recruitment equation until an offer was made, today a monetary miss can stop thousands of potential candidates in their tracks before they’re even finished reading your job ad. Fewer candidates applying means a drastically reduced chance of finding a great fit. 


To help ensure the salary they’re offering will appeal to the calibre of talent they’re trying to attract, many companies turn to compensation intelligence services. These subscription-based reports and online tools offer access to benchmarking data that has been collected and collated from a wide range of organizations. While this information can offer helpful high-level insights, many clients we talk to have told us it can lack some make-or-break nuances. 


Today’s rapidly changing economy can drive significant and speedy changes to compensation rates. Other factors including location, hiring trends and high-demand skill sets are also always at play and may not come across in high-level compensation reports. To illustrate just how quickly and dramatically compensation rates can change, look to this example from the oilfields of Alberta. When the industry was booming in 2015, safety practitioners and professionals were in high demand with the average salary in the oil and gas industry hitting more than $125,000. This was 50 per cent higher than employees working in the health-care and communications industries Canada-wide and Alberta’s average salary for these positions tracked a full 25 per cent higher than Ontario’s. As oil prices plummeted, organizations downsized and these same safety practitioners who had once been in high demand started struggling to find even entry-level jobs. Data suggests that senior positions saw up to a 50 per cent drop in pay for newly advertised positions and junior position salaries decreased by between 10 and 20 per cent. 


At Ian Martin, we have recruiters who are in constant contact with both talent and employers from across North America. These daily conversations provide invaluable and up-to-the-minute insight into a wide variety of factors that can impact compensation rates. Whether it’s an announcement of a new satellite office for a high-profile tech firm that could drive salaries up, the addition of a rail line that will create a larger pool of suburban job seekers or a change in immigration legislation that opens up opportunities to eager international talent, our in-the-know recruiters offer context that, when combined with higher-level compensation data, provides a powerful one-two punch when setting compensation rates.  


Connect with one of our Hiring Experts today for a no-obligation chat about how we can help you set competitive compensation ranges for advertised positions that will help you attract the right calibre of talent and move your business forward. 

Do Candidates Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility?

You’ve found a strong candidate. The interview is going well. You’ve told them about your company’s impressive benefits package, highlighted the opportunities for growth and development within the position, and shared some of the things your company does to support work-life balance. As you go through your mental checklist of all the factors that could positively influence the candidate’s decision to join your team, you feel like you’ve checked all the boxes. But has your pitch included some evidence that your company is committed to improving the lives of people and the health of our planet? If not, there’s a 50% chance that great candidate is going to walk out the door at the end of the interview and never look back.

According to research, your company’s commitment to corporate responsibility has a direct tie to attracting and retaining talent that may be even stronger than you realize: 

  • 58% of candidates surveyed said they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. 
  • 55% said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less. 
  • 51% said they will not work for a company that doesn’t have strong social or environmental commitments.

Highlighting corporate social responsibility is even more critical if you’re trying to convince a candidate that is between the ages of 27 and 35 to join your team.  

  • 67% of this mature Millennial segment surveyed in the study said they would not work for a company that did not have strong corporate responsibility commitments.  
  • 76% of mature Millennials said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary would be less than at other companies. 

Ian Martin employees volunteer during our annual B Corp Day in the local community.

Convincing candidates that your company is committed to making the world a better place isn’t as simple as pointing out your recycling bins and sharing some impressive figures from your charitable donation programsToday’s candidates are wary of corporate greenwashing, so be prepared to share some hard data to prove that your company walks the walk when it comes to its social and environmental efforts. 

One way that for-profit companies can prove without a doubt that they follow rigorous standards related to their social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency is to acquire B Corp certificationWhile the certification process will involve time and effort, it will set your company apart as an organization that is not only competing to be the best IN the world, but also to be the best FOR the world. Joining the roster of over 2,400 other Certified B Corps including recognizable names like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy won’t hurt your recruitment efforts either! You can learn more about the additional practical business benefits that Ian Martin has experienced as a result of our own B Corp certification here. 

Since research suggests that 78% of employees want to be an active participant in helping their company improve its responsible business practices, the corporate responsibility case you present to the candidate shouldn’t focus solely on big-picture initiatives and results. Share examples of the processes and programs you have in place that allow employees to get personally involved in your company’s charitable and environmental efforts. Today, the priority that employees place on opportunities to personally support causes or issues they care about is on par with benefits like wellness programs and tuition reimbursement. If you have a community volunteering or pro bono program, share data to give candidates a better sense of how many employees currently participate. Encourage current employees to share their volunteer experiences on your company’s social media channels. This will allow candidates to see real-life examples of your commitment to your community when they are conducting pre- and post-interview research.

In today’s raging war for technical talent, employers should leave no stone unturned when it comes to convincing candidates why their company is a great place to work. Our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment has some helpful tips to assist you in assessing your company like a prospective employee. If you would like to get additional insight into the types of questions that candidates may have about your company’s corporate social responsibility effortsconnect with one of our Ian Martin Hiring Consultants. 

Happiness at Work Benefits the Brain AND the Bottom Line

Not that long ago, if you’d asked the world’s political and business leaders about the role of happiness in the global economy, you probably would have been told that happiness was a pursuit for birthday parties, not boardrooms. That sentiment has changed drastically in the last decade. In 2011, recognizing that progress shouldn’t be measured by economic growth alone, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and calling for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

Each year on March 20th, the United Nations celebrates International Day of Happiness to help raise awareness about the importance of happiness in the lives of people across the world.

A World Happiness Report is released by the United Nations each year on International Day of Happiness and findings from the 2017 report suggest that there is a vital relationship between work and happiness. While having a job has been proven to make people happier, the equation goes beyond that. Happier employees are also more likely to come to work, be more productive, take fewer sick days and are less likely to quit. Talk about a win-win!

While ultimately every person is responsible for their own happiness, research findings in the report point to specific areas that employers can support to create an environment that encourages happiness.

Work-Life Balance

Being able to achieve a healthy balance between commitments at work and home appears to be one of the most important drivers of an individual’s sense of wellbeing. Those with jobs that leave them too tired at the end of their workday to enjoy the non-work side of life report day-to-day happiness levels that are substantially lower. Workers who report that their job interferes with their ability to spend time with loved ones, and employees who feel they must “bring their job home with them,” report lower levels of subjective wellbeing.


The report’s findings suggest that people with jobs that allow them to do different things and learn new things experience more positive emotions on a day-to-day basis. The desire to learn new things on the job seems to be particularly important to millennials, who in a different study ranked training and development as their most valued employee benefit at a whopping 300 per cent higher rating than cash bonuses! Read this blog post for some suggestions to help create a culture of continuous learning and professional development.


An employee’s degree of autonomy at work, including having control over how their workday is organized and the pace at which they work, is another important driver of happiness in the workplace according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. This finding is echoed by some interesting research from the University of Birmingham. The research compiled two years’ worth of data from 20,000 employees and found that the higher level of autonomy a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and wellbeing. The type of autonomy most appreciated tended to differ by gender. Women placed a higher value on autonomy related to scheduling and location flexibility. Men appreciating autonomy more related to task allocation and pace of work.

A Circle of Support

According to the report, the support one receives from his or her co-workers also has an impact on workplace wellbeing and happiness. This finding aligns with research at Harvard that found that students with strong social support, both at school and at home, tended to be happier and better at dealing with stress. Workers with strong relationships with co-workers are also better at remaining engaged and coping with stress.

What does this all mean for recruitment?

As awareness grows about the significance of happiness in our personal and professional lives, it’s important for employers to realize that the days of relying on salary and bonuses to win over employees are long gone. The growing popularity of university courses dedicated to the topic of achieving happiness in life speaks to the priority tomorrow’s job seekers will be placing on achieving it in their careers. Yale University introduced a new course in January 2018 called, Psychology and the Good Life. The course’s goal is to help students figure out what it means to live happier, more satisfying lives, and teach them scientifically-tested strategies to achieve that goal. A quarter of the school’s undergraduate population enrolled, making it the most popular course ever at the university. At Stanford, one in six undergraduates take a course that promises to teach them to apply design thinking to the challenge of creating fulfilling lives and careers.

Action For Happiness has developed 10 Keys to Happier Living that are based on an extensive study of the latest findings from the science of wellbeing. While these keys weren’t developed specifically for the workplace, reviewing them and finding examples of ways they are demonstrated within your organization can assist in creating talking points that illustrate your company’s commitment to promoting happiness in the workplace with potential employees.

Key #1: Giving – In what ways does your workplace help others? Corporate donations, workplace fundraising for charities and volunteer programs are great examples.

Key #2: Relating – How does your organization strengthen relationships and build networks between employees? Are there corporate retreats, teambuilding events, or meetings that encourage open conversation between employees that you can speak to?

Key #3: Exercise – What things does your company do to encourage employees to be more active each day? This doesn’t have to mean investing in an onsite gym or subsidized gym memberships. Simple things like having bike racks for employees who want to cycle to work or helping clean up nearby walking trails send a message that you support employees having an active lifestyle.

Key #4: Awareness – Does your workplace do anything to promote employee mindfulness? Offering a lunchtime meditation class or even a dedicated quiet space that employees can retreat to when they need some time to collect their thoughts are great examples of how the workplace can support employee mindfulness.

Key #5: Trying Out – What channels does your company have in place to encourage employees to try different things and learn new skills? In addition to formal training and educational assistance, this could be things like casual “Lunch and Learn” sessions or encouraging the use of free online learning tools.

Key #6: Direction – How does your company assist employees to set challenging, yet achievable goals of their own and also ensure they understand their role in helping the company achieve its larger goals? Is this something that has been formalized in your performance review process?

Key #7: Resilience – All employees will be faced with stressful situations at some point. Does your company offer tools or services to help them cope with and bounce back from adversity? Mentoring programs as well as coaching or therapy offered through a company benefits program are potential supports you can showcase.

Key #8: Emotions – What processes does your company have in place to encourage the cultivation of positive emotions like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride at work? Things like recognition programs and sharing employee stories through internal communication channels are great examples.

Key #9: Acceptance – Does your company make an effort to promote conversations that help employees accept themselves and their colleagues as they are? Perhaps there are community initiatives that your company supports that are helping youth to accept themselves as well.

Key #10: Meaning – Is there a connection between the work that you ask employees do each day and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives? Initiatives like workplace volunteer and mentoring programs can help provide a sense of meaning at work, especially for employees that may lack a direct line to a sense of something larger in their everyday roles.

How can we help?

Ian Martin’s Hiring Consultants gather insights every day from our candidates about the organizational values that are of particular importance them. If you’d like some suggestions as to how your company can illustrate its commitment to employee happiness and wellbeing in a more effective way, contact us today for a complimentary assessment of a recent job posting.



Ian Martin Celebrates Land Acknowledgement Installation


At Ian Martin, we exist to connect people in meaningful work. But as we’ve discovered, before you connect people in meaningful work, you must first connect with them meaningfully. Last Thursday, July 5th marked a new phase of Ian Martin’s engagement with and commitment to Indigenous communities in our local area and across North America.

In the presence of Shannon Monk Payne of Sakatay Global, employees in our office enjoyed a catered lunch from Toronto Indigenous restaurant NishDish, made tobacco ties, smudged, drummed, sang, and unveiled a beautiful land acknowledgement statement that now adorns the wall when you walk into our headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. The acknowledgement reads:

The headquarters of the Ian Martin Group is located on the traditional territory and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. This sacred land is part of the Dish With One Spoon wampum covenant between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share, care for, and protect the lands and resources around the Great Lakes. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and Peoples, Europeans, and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship, and respect. We are grateful to work in the community on this territory and recognize our shared responsibility to honour the truth of the land and its treaties while strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. 

For the past four months, a group of employees from Ian Martin embarked on a learning journey with Shannon Monk Payne to build our cultural confidence and awareness with Indigenous communities. Since much of our work is in the oil and gas sector, and since stewardship is a principal value of our organization, this initiative perfectly marries our triple bottom line of people, planet, profit. We have a duty to respect the original stewards of the land upon which we live and work; it is not only the first step towards reconciliation, but it is a step further along our  company mission to break down barriers to meaningful employment.

Land acknowledgements are becoming status quo in some organizations, but we are committed to going above and beyond the writing on the wall. Ian Martin has built a business culture steeped in open, honest, and meaningful engagement that seeks to change the way business is done. As such, we want to go beyond simply unveiling these words and having them rest on our walls. We want to live through these words with an enlivened commitment to engage meaningfully with Indigenous nations to foster mutually beneficial partnerships based on trust, accountability, and respect.

To realize this commitment, we have accompanied this land acknowledgement with a series of internal and external action plans to break down barriers Indigenous peoples face and join forces with our local Indigenous communities to realize more meaningful employment for more people. Ian Martin is also part of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Engagement Committee, which works in partnership with Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, as well as Canadian nuclear suppliers, to increase Indigenous representation and opportunity in Canadian business. We have committed to partnering with a local Indigenous organization as part of our newly developed Meaningful Work Foundation. We have established connections and will foster relationships with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, upon whose traditional lands our headquarters operates. We will be rolling out an Indigenous cultural training program to all our employees. We have established our own Indigenous engagement task force to hold ourselves accountable and to keep improving on our goals. Still, there is much work to be done.

May this mark the beginning of a new journey forward not only to open doors for more people in meaningful work, but to open more doors of understanding and meaning in our commitments to the communities with which we share this land.

BCorp Day 2018

Meaningful work was abound on Friday, June 15, 2018 as Ian Martin employees participated in our annual BCorp Day festivities, which included volunteering at several initiatives across our branches in Canada, the US, and India.

Every year we take a break from business to do good in our communities through meaningful, hard work! It is also a chance for us to honour our status as a Certified B Corporation, and celebrates our efforts toward making business a force for good for our communities and for our planet.

Here’s a snapshot of what we accomplished:

Among other initiatives around town, in Oakville, our employees helped plant trees and remove invasive species for Oakville Green, helped build and beautify furniture at Habitat for Humanity, served up a delicious meal at Eden Food for Change, and sorted donations at Safety Net Child and Youth Charities. And after a morning of volunteering, our team celebrated with an afternoon BBQ and pickup softball game – a favourite company classic.

In Ottawa, our team helped out at the Cancer Foundation and the Silver Spring Farm Garlic Project, which helps support persons with developmental disabilities.

In Calgary, employees helped at Seniors Resource Society where they went to an elderly woman’s home and put in 12 total hours of yard labour—everything from cutting the lawn, weeding, and cleaning up her patio.

In Edmonton, our team had a fur-filled morning at the Edmonton Humane Society where they wrote thank you cards for monthly donors and socialized with the animals—basically anyone’s dream job.

In Houston, our employees volunteered at NextOP, which supports military veterans returning to civilian life after honourable discharge. Our team helped veterans with job searches, resume writing, and placement support.

Our India team made a huge impact at the Ashraya Government School in Bangalore. Over 60 employees spent the morning designing projects to help children with their learning and development. The team also donated school supplies to the school, along with their interactive project plans.

All in all, 162 Ian Martin employees participated, with each person contributing to an incredible 512 total volunteer hours! Check out the photos below that capture some of us hard at (meaningful) work:

Ian Martin partners with Autism Speaks Canada

Recently, Ian Martin’s Stewardship Council celebrated the launch of a new partnership with Autism Speaks Canada. Gathering together with a cross section of Toronto’s employers at an event in April called “Senseations,” the Ian Martin Group celebrated the wins and also the challenges faced by the autism community seeking employment—which are, unfortunately, many.

The partnership is the first official partnership of Ian Martin’s newly established Meaningful Work Foundation, which gives 10% of Ian Martin’s profits to organizations that break down barriers to meaningful work. Beyond just giving money, the Foundation creates mutual relationships with its partner organizations—including mentoring programs, events support, and thought/experience exchange—so that together, our impact is maximized.

Members of Ian Martin with Toronto Mayor John Tory

Edwin Jansen, Head of Marketing at Fitzii (a subsidiary of Ian Martin) spoke on behalf of the Ian Martin Group at the event and signalled the importance of the partnership to our overall mission to connect people in meaningful work:

“The employees at Ian Martin are obsessed with doing what we can to build a world where each and every person is pursuing meaningful work, and there is no bigger opportunity to make an impact than with this community gathered here. Adults with autism are 14% more likely to be unemployed than those who are developmentally delayed[KS1] . Not only is there 80% ASD unemployment, but of those who are employed only 6% are making a competitive salary versus people in similar jobs. This job market isn’t just inefficient – it’s completely broken – and we have a lot of work to do.”

We’re just at the beginning of a long road ahead, but we’re moving down a bright path. Ian Martin’s Meaningful Work Foundation will provide an initial $15,000 donation to Autism Speaks. In addition, we’ve made the commitment to participate in the Worktopia program that gives adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exposure to different workplace settings and provides job search mentoring.

We couldn’t be more excited to roll up our sleeves and begin the first stages of what will surely be a long and impactful partnership. At Ian Martin, one of our mantras is, “hiring is an act of optimism.” As we seek to challenge ourselves and others to engage the autistic candidate pool intentionally and with purpose, we know that we can make a difference for the present and future generations of people who are affected with ASD. Will you join us?

For information on Autism Speaks and how you can get involved, visit them at www.autismspeaks.ca.


Meaningful Work in Cambodia: One IMG Contractor’s Story

Last summer we announced with great enthusiasm the winner of the 2017 Contractor Volunteer Experience program – Sam Cheng. Sam recently returned from his adventure in Cambodia where he spent two weeks installing clean drinking water facilities.

It was truly an experience of a lifetime – read on for Sam’s reflections on his adventure.

There is plenty of time to think on a 17-hour flight from Los Angeles to Singapore. I mulled over respectful approaches to enter and serve a Cambodian village community. I reflected on my reasons for serving, or as my colleagues put it, “Why I would take a vacation from work to do more work.” I fretted over the details—things like what our team dynamic would be like. Most of these wonderings had some form of conclusion but there was one question that kept me thinking: How do I most effectively use this experience to bless the people of Cambodia? It is a country set back by slave labour, malnourishment, and disease—a country where the potential impact of meaningful work can be so clearly realized.

Hygiene education at Banteay Chhmar Primary School.

Upon touching down in the city of Siem Reap we immediately found ourselves in the midst of unfamiliarity, from the heat and humidity to the thickly crowded traffic. Our team promptly made our way west into the Banteay Meanchey province. Our arrival in the province was met with crowds of children as we visited a local school to participate in hygiene education and to distribute hand soap. In terms of our project, it is crucial that education be provided alongside safe drinking water, including education on why water filtration is necessary. While it may seem obvious to us, much of this information is new to those living in rural Cambodia.

After this visit, we made our way to Banteay Chhmar Primary School, our home base of the next few days. There are quite a few adjustments that a Canadian has to make when serving in Cambodia; however, in the hectic busyness of each day, the body and mind adapt quickly. Chaotic traffic, unfamiliar scents, constant sweating in 35-degree heat, sleeping in mosquito tents, and bucket showers became quite normal after the first two nights.

Over the next few days, we spent the daytime hours mixing and pouring concrete, constructing and deconstructing molds, painting water filters, and installing them within individual homes. The installation of these filters was quite simple: we cleaned the concrete housing with bleach, washed the three different sizes of sand and gravel aggregate, poured the aggregate in even lifts (largest on the bottom), ran bleached water through the filter, and measured the flow rate for quality control. Once this process was complete, contaminated water can be poured into the filter to facilitate the development of the biolayer, which sits atop the aggregate and contains microorganisms that consume harmful pathogens. The aggregate also serves to remove contaminants by trapping larger pathogens and unwanted debris.

The Biosand water filters installed by Sam and his team.

Our Biosand water filters were installed in rural villages near the Thai border, where many homes were occupied by soldiers and their families. I tend to wander off and explore when travelling but had to restrain myself this time around due to the potential of unexploded landmines in the vicinity, yet another remnant of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the late 70s that claimed the lives of over 2 million people in acts of genocide.

At each home we visited, we caught a glimpse of daily living in rural Cambodia; and as we listened to the villagers, we heard stories of suffering and great perseverance. One story stuck with me. This story was about a father who was on the brink of suicide after losing his source of income and being unable to support his family. In the thick of his despair, he received several chickens through a Samaritan’s Purse donation program—a donation that changed his mind about taking his own life. In a few months’ time, the chickens had multiplied enough to provide sustainable income for the family. This story resonates with me because I have made similar donations in the past, but with the sinking feeling that a few meager chickens could not possibly provide much. By the testimony of this family that persevered, I am reminded that my vision is limited; these donations, whatever they may be, can have much greater significance by providing hope and saving a family on the brink of collapse.

“By the testimony of this family that persevered, I am reminded that my vision is limited; these donations, whatever they may be, can have much greater significance by providing hope and saving a family on the brink of collapse.” – Sam Cheng

While there we would also stop by villages to promote hygiene education and distribute soap and snacks. These gatherings were always a treat as we had the opportunity to interact and care for all generations of the community, from elderly grandmothers to babies just learning to stumble about. The joy, laughter, and companionship I witnessed among these poor communities were a gentle reminder that many of our material possessions and desires are not necessary for contentment. And, as a Christian, these experiences remind me that I can use my engineering talents and experience for the betterment of others.

“The joy, laughter, and companionship I witnessed among these poor communities were a gentle reminder that many of our material possessions and desires are not necessary for contentment.” – Sam Cheng

Throughout this experience, I was continually inspired by my team members, who at this point had become as close as family. Most of them were either nearing retirement or recently retired—a life stage that is usually associated with rest and relaxation, yet they all had a shared focus: to use their newfound time to love and care for those in need. I can only hope that when I arrive at that life stage, I may have a heart as unselfish as theirs.

Sam and his project team members.

The most difficult aspect of the experience was when it was time to leave. Two weeks is such a limited amount of time—so much still needs to be done. But my work does not end when I leave Cambodia; rather, the next phase of volunteering begins by sharing my story. I hope my story sheds light on the needs in Cambodia and encourages those around me to serve in whatever aspect they can, whether it be monetary donations, short term experiences like mine, or even long-term commitments. Although the necessity for clean water is so painfully dire in Cambodia, it is only one issue on an extensive list. My heart will not let me share my experience without pleading with you, dear reader, to consider getting involved. You and your work are so desperately needed. You can make a difference!

Some people question the need for in-person volunteering because the funds can instead be funneled directly into the area of need. With this experience fresh in my mind, I can confidently say that an in-person volunteering experience is 100% worth it. Witnessing the struggles and desperation first hand is a good reminder of our privilege, and chips away at the apathy within our hearts, while the joyous celebrations remind us that continual striving for material things may be more frivolous than we know. These reminders are sorely needed and always have potential to spread to those around us. For now, I will continue my volunteering at home and eagerly anticipate my next journey to Cambodia.

Sam in Cambodia.


We recently sat down with Sam to discuss his experience in person. You can watch the video here.


4 Recruitment Resolutions for 2018

If the promise of a fresh new year has left you feeling eager to improve, even small changes to your recruiting strategy have the potential to make a huge impact. Here are four simple recruitment resolutions that can help you secure better talent and improve your company’s bottom line in the year ahead.

Assess Your Internal Brand

As competition for today’s best technical talent heats up, convincing potential candidates that your company is a great place to work from the get-go is key. If you’re relying too strongly on consumer marketing messaging or the nuts and bolts of specific job benefits to communicate the advantages of working with your organization, you could be missing the mark.

Do the communications from your company that a candidate encounters during the recruitment process create a sense of what it will “feel” like to work for your company? Do they paint a picture of what sets your company apart from the competition? Strive to reach employees on an emotional level that speaks to their heads and their hearts. You can find a great article here by Gallup about creating a brand that attracts star employees.

Tap into the Potential of Employee Referrals

If you’re not engaging existing employees in your company’s recruitment efforts, you’re ignoring one of the most effective and efficient ways to discover and secure new technical talent. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of the research:

  • According to findings from Stanford, employees hired through personal referrals have higher productivity, lower turnover, and lower screening costs.
  • Another study by researchers from Berkeley and Yale found that referred workers are 10-30% less likely to quit and have substantially higher performance on rare high-impact metrics.

If a formal, incentivized employee referral program isn’t in the cards for 2018, consider implementing some smaller changes that will equip employees to be better ambassadors for your recruiting efforts. Start with something simple, like sharing new job postings more widely internally and making it easy for employees to pass along job opportunities to their social media networks.

Leverage KPIs to Find Opportunities for Improvement

Taking a critical look at recruitment data can help reveal valuable insights that will inspire action that is tailored to your unique situation. Tracking cost-per-hire, for example, can help determine if your recruitment efforts are getting more or less efficient over time. Measuring time-to-fill can help assess if the time being invested in things like managing job postings, pre-screening candidates, and checking references is paying off. Staying on top of retention rates can help identify specific positions that may be proving harder to keep filled.

Read our Hiring Metrics Checkup as a first step. In addition to defining some of the key metrics you should be tracking, it also describes how to best measure them.

Enhance Your Passive Candidate Recruitment Strategy

Limiting your recruitment strategy to only those candidates who are currently actively scanning job boards means you may be opting for a subpar pool of talent. Many of the best candidates are not only employed, they may be quite happy in their current position and not even considering looking for a new opportunity. The best real estate agents knock on doors to find homes that aren’t currently listed for sale on their client’s dream street. Recruiters take that same approach to find excellent candidates who may not be actively looking for new work, but might be intrigued by the right opportunity with a great company.

With six decades of experience as one of Canada’s leading technical recruitment firms, Ian Martin has built an extensive database of talent. In addition to the personal networks they’ve built during their tenure as recruiters, with just a few keystrokes Ian Martin’s recruitment staff can tap into a crowdsourced network of talent that’s been built by a collection of their peers from across the globe.

Connect with an Ian Martin hiring consultant today to discuss how we can assist you in reaching your 2018 staffing goals.

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Shake the Trees: 4 Ways to Take Your Tech Talent Search Beyond the Job Board

If you’re not hearing from the type of candidates you were hoping for in your technical talent search, it may be time to cast a wider net. As the battle for technical talent continues to heat up, it’s no longer enough to just post an ad to an online job board, share it on LinkedIn and cross your fingers. Here are some additional channels to consider incorporating into your recruitment strategy.


Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app that was initially developed as an alternative to email to help companies communicate more efficiently. It’s been so well received that there are now Slack public communities that have been created to allow people with common interests to communicate. Third party websites like slack list, Standuply and Slofile compile lists of public Slack communities to help people looking to connect with others with similar interests. These communities can be a great way to make connections with technical talent. The Ruby on Rails community, for example, has over 6000 people interested in Ruby on Rails from all over the world, including avid OSS contributors, full-stack engineers, founders of start-ups, backend engineers and students learning Ruby on Rails. Within each community, various topics are organized into subject-based channels.

Top Tip: Watch your manners. When you join a Slack community, take some time to get to know the culture of the community before you start to post and tailor what you write accordingly. When you have a good feel for the community, ensure you are posting on the most appropriate channel.


Meetup is a social networking site that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize offline group meetings. As Meetups happen in physical locations, it is very easy to search by location if you are looking for talent in a specific city. There is a great collection of technical groups. By searching Ruby On Rails, for example, within 100 miles of Toronto, you’ll find Meetup groups of Ruby developers and enthusiasts in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo. In addition to being able to see upcoming events, such as a Rail Pub Night, you can also search profiles of people within each group.

Top Tip: Be open and honest about who you are. As this is very much a social platform, members may not be expecting to interact with recruiters or potential employers. Review Meetup’s Usage and Content Policies as a first step before you begin to join groups.

Engage Employees as Evangelists

Employee referral programs are one of the most effective and efficient methods of recruiting technical talent. In addition to coming with a built-in reference, research shows that candidates who have been referred by employees tend to stay longer and be more productive. Equip your employees with the tools they need to communicate within their networks about open positions at your company.

Top Tip: Even if your organization doesn’t have an incentivized referral program in place, look for simple things you can do to engage more employees in your company’s recruitment efforts.

  • Ensure new job postings are shared internally with employees in a way that makes it easy for them to pass on the posting to people in their networks.
  • When employees speak at conferences or trade shows, include a slide at the end of their presentation with a call to action to those in audience to speak to them about employment opportunities with your company.

Connect with Passive Candidates

Your technical talent search shouldn’t be limited to only people who are currently looking for work. Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in technical positions gives your company access to a deeper network of talent that includes experienced candidates who may not even be looking at job postings.  Getting a call from a recruiter they respect about a new opportunity can often make candidates realize it might be time for them to consider making a change.

Commute is King for Today’s Young Professionals

There’s an important lesson for hiring teams to take away from housing trends in today’s hot real estate market: don’t underestimate the importance of the drive to work.

Recently, the Toronto Region Board of Trade surveyed 1,100 professionals, aged 18 to 39. Forty per cent had a household income of more than $100,000. Eighty-seven per cent had a university degree, including 44 per cent, who had a graduate degree. Ninety per cent were employed full-time and 66 per cent lived in downtown Toronto.

When asked to rank their top three considerations in where to locate, 76 per cent of respondents said their daily commute was one of their top three considerations, ranking it ahead of distance to amenities (59 per cent) and the cost of living (53 per cent).

These findings serve as a reminder to hiring teams that the daily commute to work can be a deal maker or a deal breaker for potential candidates. In today’s competitive market for technical talent, if your location offers competitive advantages when it comes to the daily commute, you should be selling them. Here are some points to consider:

  • Does your location offer convenient access to major highways?
  • Is there easy access to public transit?
  • Is your office located close to recreational trails so employees can walk or bike to work?
  • Does your office offer amenities like bike racks and showers for employees who choose to ride their bike to work?
  • Does your company have a ride sharing system in place to help co-workers find carpooling partners?
  • Does your company offer any unique incentives for carpooling, such as designated or complimentary parking?
  • Do you offer work-from-home alternatives that allow employees to take a break from the daily commute?
  • Do you have satellite office locations, so employees have some choice about their daily commute?
  • Do you offer flexible hours, so employees can schedule their work day to avoid peak traffic times?
  • Are there convenient parking options for employees?

If your company has a great getting to work story, don’t forget to tell it. Take a look at the candidate’s address on their resume before the interview and offer specific details like typical travel time to the office from that location and public transit options. You can even let them know if there are other employees within your company that also commute or carpool from that location.

If the commute to your location could be viewed by candidates as a con instead of a pro, consider taking action to implement changes that could alleviate some potential concerns. Smart Commute is a program offered in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that helps employers explore and try out smart travel options such as walking, cycling, transit, carpooling and teleworking. Even if your company isn’t located within the program’s geographical boundaries, the Smart Commute website has company profiles and blog posts that offer great ideas for things your organization may want to consider to make its daily commute story more attractive to potential candidates.


Working out the “Why?” – Stewardship Council Update

Remember when you’d get to school after a night of doing homework, and the teacher says it’s time to take it up?  Well, that’s what happened to Ian Martin Group’s Stewardship Council members on Friday, June 28th as we met together for the second time in our Toronto office.  Our task had been to each come up with three clear sentences that described why we are pursuing Stewardship as an organization. How did we do? Well… let’s just say that we’re all trying again.

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On Making Better Decisions: Or, Why We’re Clover the Moon for Cloverpop!

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

—Emily Dickinson

A well-made, informed decision is much like a four-leaf clover: hard to find, and lucky to have.

Around eighteen months ago, as a result of feedback from our employees on our company culture and to increase overall accountability and incorporate more diverse input into our decision-making, we made a commitment to change how decisions are made at Ian Martin.

The major shift is based on Dennis Bakke’s book The Decision Maker. We implemented what Bakke refers to as the “The Advice Process,” and the underlying principle of the concept, based on trust, is that every employee can make sound decisions in the best interests of the company. The problem is that traditional companies do not always approach decisions in a way that allows the people who understand the situation most intimately to make the decision to resolve or change. Bakke’s solution, which we have been following and evolving, is to change the culture around decision making by applying the guiding principles of trust and transparent communication. The result so far, which I can attest to, is that more people are engaged, invested, and accountable to the decisions being made.

When we started down the advice process path, our process was recorded using a document template in which the Decision Maker recorded a summary of the advice he or she gathered from interviewing people and collecting their advice and expertise. The process, however, was time-consuming and inefficient. We all know how hard it is to coordinate our schedules with others; imagine having to organize that while making a decision requiring everyone’s input at different stages of the process! This method also became much like a game of telephone: since the decision maker was reiterating what was being said by the experts and advice givers, the input was often recorded inaccurately. These miscommunications missed the crucial nuances of everyone’s feedback and decreased the overall value of the process. As a result, we missed our first target of 50 decisions made using the advice process during one year.

Business is Better in Clover

Then we had a huge Ah-ha! moment when we found Cloverpop, a tool designed to help people make better decisions. Cloverpop’s claim to fame is that they help streamline enterprise decision making: as they put it, “decide twice as fast with half the meetings and 100% visibility.” Add a dash of behavioural science and you’ve got an engine to drive and document decisions. This was initially rolled out on a trial basis and after some initial success, Ian Yates, our Chief Technology Officer, became our “Cloverpop Champion” to help all parts of the organization make better and more distributed decisions. As Ian says,

“Cloverpop allows us to make more inclusive, more transparent, and more effective decisions faster. The ability to track, follow-up, and rate the success of decisions also means we’re continually improving our decision-making skills.”

Compared to our previous process, Cloverpop provides more flexibility to the Decision Maker and Advice Giver. Collaboration and weigh-in all happens in the platform. In their own words, and in their own time, people can provide their wisdom, advice, and perspective from the comfort of their office—no meeting required. If someone feels that not enough context or background has been given, they can request information and begin a dialogue to clarify their questions. The Cloverpop approach has been especially effective in making sure everyone’s voice is heard, since it provides the time and space that is not always available in a meeting setting where one or two strong voices can dominate a discussion. This is important to make sure our decisions are inclusive, informed, and based on the right input (not just the loudest voices!).

To put it simply, Cloverpop was a welcome change. The tool is simple to navigate, and everything is laid out for you in clear steps: it quickly organizes your suggested solutions, and then rates the potential success of these solutions. Although the decision maker has the final say, you can very clearly see everyone’s alignment with the potential solutions. Then, once the final decision is made the involved parties can rate their buy-in. Everyone is kept informed at every stage of the process, and no detail is left unturned.

Breaking Ground for a More Decisive Future

Alongside the rest of the company, The Stewardship Council is learning how to use the tool—and more importantly, we’re learning how to “break the habit.”

What habit might you ask? In a traditional company structure, it is ingrained in the employee who is making a decision to achieve group consensus, or to defer to a person with authority. I’m guilty of both. I currently chair the Stewardship Council, and can honestly say that I’ve struggled with embracing this new practice and breaking from these entrenched habits. Recently, when I was close to making an important decision for Council, my internal moral compass began to sound the alarm; I then found myself hitting send on an email to Tim Masson, Ian Martin’s Chief Steward and CEO, asking for his permission to make the decision! Tim, who is great at reminding us to use the advice process, was kind enough to encourage me to use Cloverpop because he strongly believes in self-management and the benefits of ownership thinking.

As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s important for everyone to remember that decision making is not about achieving consensus. Don’t be swayed by the allure of accommodating everyone’s wishes, or the feeling that all responsibility and accountability is on you. As a decision maker, you will find yourself uncomfortable at times. However, this is a good indicator that you are the right person for the decision, and you can rest assured that by using Cloverpop, your decision will come from an informed position from all parties involved.

Council has so far used the tool three times since December 2016. My biggest takeaway thus far from the process is learning to frame the decision correctly, which involves asking yourself the basic question, “What problem am I trying to solve?” It also requires you to be wary of leading questions, and to remember that the focus as decision maker should be inquiry, not advocacy, which is not always a natural feeling when making a decision. Inevitably, there will be growing pains; for example, one of our advice processes was not framed well and we scrapped it half way through. This is by no means a negative comment—it was a fail forward exercise and what we learned ensured success in our second advice process.

We also realized that setting an ambitious target of 50 decisions within the year wasn’t the right goal for us. Quantity over quality is not the way to go in pursuing our primary target of more inclusive and distributed decision making process. Ultimately, we want more accountability throughout the entire company, and change does not happen overnight. Now, the council is looking for ways to continue to broaden the use of the tool to include more decision makers and more advice givers.

Really, our end goal is about increasing empowerment as much as it is about accountability: it is only by empowering all of our employees to make decisions and become informed advisors that we will harness the power of diversity to make better decisions and help the business prosper.



Our 2017 Contractor Volunteer Experience Winner is…


It is a deeply held core belief here at the Ian Martin Group that every act of meaningful work can have a profound influence on the world. In order to further connect our pool of skilled contractors to our mission, in March of 2017 we launched our first annual Contractor Volunteer Experience program. This program offers up to $10,000 for an IMG contractor to take an international volunteer trip of his or her choice to make the world a better place.

We are excited to announce this year’s winner: Sam Cheng!

Sam Cheng is a dedicated engineer who has worked in Alberta with us for the last two years fixing, testing, and designing pipelines. Sam was bestowed this year’s award because of his passion for pioneering new ways of bringing clean drinking water to rural communities in developing nations.

In November 2017, Sam will be travelling to Cambodia with Samaritan’s Purse for 2 weeks to build and install clean drinking water facilities for schools in rural areas. He will be on a team that will install Canadian-invented BioSand Filters which use layers of sand, gravel, and naturally occurring micro-organisms to transform contaminated water into safe water in seconds. Sam is passionate about the technologies that exist to create clean drinking water and seeks to better understand how we can use innovation to better the lives of communities in third world countries.  

How does the filtration work? Samaritan’s Purse describes it in detail:

A school collects dirty water in a reservoir tank, which slowly releases the water into an adjacent filtration tank. Fine sand and a biological layer of water in the filtration tank trap and consume disease-causing parasites, micro-organisms, and viruses. More filtration occurs as the water continues to travel downward through increasingly coarse layers of sand and gravel where organisms die off without light and oxygen. The gravitational force of the unfiltered water above pushes the filtered water through a pipe and into a large storage tank for drinking and washing.


Construction of filtration system for a school in rural Cambodia.

We are so proud of Sam’s passion and determination to use his skills and spirit toward meaningful work that changes lives. We look forward to sharing more about his trip at the end of the year!

Applications for next year’s IMG Contractor Volunteer Award program will open in January 2018. 

How to Make Your Technical Recruitment More Efficient

Are you having trouble hiring technical employees for your team? You may need to speed up your hiring process. Since technical employees are in high demand, they may be interviewing with multiple companies at the same time. If your competitors make job offers before you do, you may miss out on promising candidates.

It takes an average of 42 days for companies to fill a given position, according to a 2016 survey. Posting job ads, reading resumes, interviewing candidates, and conducting background checks takes a long time.

How can you speed up your process and scoop up top talent before your competitors get to them first? Here are some tips to make your technical recruitment process more efficient.

Build a Network of Candidates

You don’t need to start from scratch every time you need to fill an open position. Posting a new job ad and sifting through a brand-new batch of resumes is inefficient. To speed up your process, build a network of candidates you can turn to when you have an opening. This network may include candidates you’ve interviewed in the past and liked, but weren’t able to hire at the time. It can also include promising candidates you’ve met at networking events or job fairs.

When you have an opening on your team, you can turn to the database of candidates you’ve built. Let the candidates know you have an opening on your team, and describe the position. Some of the people in your database may have found work elsewhere, but don’t let that deter you from reaching out.

Twenty-five percent of employed people are actively looking for new work, so candidates may be excited to hear from you. The other 75 percent aren’t actively looking for work, but they might be open to switching jobs if something interesting comes along. If the candidates in your network aren’t interested in your open position, they may be able to refer you to people who are.

Rely on Employee Referrals

An employee referral program lets you turn your technical team into recruiters. Your technical employees know other people in technical fields. They may have connections who would be the perfect fit for your team. Encourage your employees to refer candidates to you to speed up your hiring process.

Hiring through employee referrals is faster because the candidates are pre-vetted. Your current employees are in the best position to identify people who are qualified and a good fit for your team culture. When you receive employee referrals, you don’t need to spend time wading through unqualified applicants.

When candidates are referred by existing employees, they’re more likely to accept job offers. They already know someone on your team and are familiar with the culture. They’re also more likely to stay on your team long term due to cultural fit.

Outsource Hiring to a Recruiter

Not everyone has time to build a network of candidates and follow up with them as jobs open on the team. Your top employees may not know anyone who’s looking for work. In these situations, you may not know what to do. You need a guide to hiring engineers quickly.

The secret is to outsource technical recruitment to a recruiter. Recruiters handle the process of finding and vetting candidates. All you need to do is interview the pre-selected candidates they send you, and choose who to hire.

When you work with a recruiter, you can hire technical professionals more quickly. That’s because recruiters have a network of professionals they can turn to when a company needs to fill an open position. Recruiters are experts at technical recruitment.

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The Diversity Question: Industry Ailment or Recruitment Solution?

It’s an issue we’ve known about — and skirted around — for decades: the tech world has a diversity problem.

In recent years, equity has been an increasingly hot topic discussion across the tech industry. But most often, companies tend to scapegoat responsibility for their own practices by blaming under-representation on the voracious and unrelenting spaghetti monster known as “the industry.”

But passing the blame only adds to the problem — it’s time to look to the source: what can be done on the ground level of recruitment?

Disparity By the Numbers

When it comes to recruiting engineers, the numbers of under-represented groups —such as women, LGBTQ+ folks, and people of colour — are staggering. Last year, Facebook released its diversity report, wherein women represented only 17% of employees in technical jobs.

In Google’s most recent 2016 report, only 19% of women were holding tech jobs, with an overall 56% of the jobs being held by Caucasian employees.

What stands out from the data is the similar disparity in gender equity across the board in today’s leading tech firms. According to LinkedIn’s data (2016), they report only 17% of jobs are held by women, and Yahoo’s data (2014) reports a similar 15%.

Diversity Betters Business

What doesn’t translate in all this data is the viability and efficacy of a diverse workforce — its added value to businesses both big and small, public and private.

Too often, workforce diversity is relegated as an HR issue and not considered a cornerstone performance metric. Everyone knows diversity is good in and of itself, but that isn’t going to help the industry reach its targets.

According to a recent Forbes study, it was determined that companies who have racial, ethnic, and gender diversity out-perform their more uniform counterparts on the bottom line. Aside from the obvious benefits of improved decision-making, employee engagement, and customer service, diverse companies are 35% more likely to have greater financial returns.

Put simply, businesses that do not put a focus on diversity in their hiring practices will not survive — let alone thrive — in our increasingly globalized world. The business case for diversity, especially in the private sector, needs to be the centre of boardroom focus.

Be the Change: Empowering Recruitment and its Reach

Recruiters hold a lot of influence in terms of screening and determining who gets on shortlists — yet the procurement industry comes up notoriously short on taking action to increase diversity in the tech workforce.

For many recruitment firms, diversity has become an empty buzzword used by executives without accompanied action or success. To tackle the problem involves a strategy that goes beyond simply colouring bums in seats: it requires a rethinking at the level of the shortlist.

Instead of the industry standard of shortlisting candidates from a vetted pool of talent, leaders in the procurement industry need to take responsibility for who is in their pipeline. The solutions really aren’t complicated — with a little awareness put into best practices, your business can build its bottom line against the monochromatic grain.

Broaden your search efforts

While a trusted pool of networked managers and hiring experts works well in the short-term, it does little to replenish talent pool stocks and keeps diverse candidates from accessing opportunity. Job positions should be displayed widely — look to publish beyond the standard job boards by including community organizations and immigration and settlement agencies in your reach.

Build a more diverse network of partners

Partnering with organizations that are devoted to diversity is a clear strategy for success. Aside from the resources listed below, research community equity and employment organizations in your local area to get access to qualified talent.

The Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM)’s mandate is to coordinate, monitor, and advocate action to increase the participation of women in science, engineering, and medicine.

Engage equal opportunity publications, such as Minority Engineer Magazine, which is a recruitment-geared publication that helps recruiters — and promising engineers — reach a broader pool of potential candidates.

Advertise on Canada’s national job boards for Indigenous hiring, such as as inclusionnetwork.ca and nationtalk.ca.

The Canadian Abilities Foundation job search website, jobs.abilities.ca, links employers with job seekers with disabilities across Canada.

The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), offers job search and procurement resources such as LGBT CareerLink, a website devoted to linking employers with top LGBTQ+ talent.

New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering offers a full list of diverse recruitment resources.

Look beyond the resume

At Ian Martin, we’ve recognized that part of the problem underlying lack of diversity is recruiter bias and hiring practices that look to the resume as the sole determining factor of job fit.

Sometimes, as recruiters, our biases can be subconscious — we might not even realize that we are eliminating under-represented groups from our talent pool. While proper qualifications and experience are crucial hiring factors, the standard resume is simply not an objective tool for measuring the fit and performance of candidates for specific roles. 

So, in 2014, Ian Martin transformed this industry ailment into a recruitment solution. We acquired the hiring platform known as Fitzii, which aims to level the playing field of workplace diversity in small and medium-sized businesses.

Fitzii targets under-representation by using technology that generates shortlists based on a candidate’s personality, experience, and overall fit for a company’s particular culture. By enabling features that allow recruiters to hide information such as locations, names, and pictures of the applicant, employers get access to candidates that they might not have considered outright. Moreover, Fitzii makes use of psychometric measurement in the initial screening phase, which allows recruiters to predict not only how a candidate will perform on the job, but if he or she will thrive in a particular role. It’s not hippy-dippy holistic madness — it’s a fool-proof way of getting the right person for the job.

By using objective tools to assess applicants, platforms such as Fitzii are working to narrow the gap of opportunity and access — leading to a workforce powered by more engaged, diverse, and happier employees, and a stronger bottom line for all.

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How to Improve Your Onboarding Process

Sometimes, it can be difficult for workers to adapt to their new jobs. Roles and expectations may be different, and it can take time for newcomers to integrate themselves into a new work culture. The pressure to fit in can overwhelm recent hires, which is why an effective onboarding process is so important for many companies.

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Q&A With Benevity Team Captain Lisa Wong

If you are new to volunteering or looking to get started, what better way than to talk to fellow employees about their volunteering experiences … so that’s what I did.

I reached out to Lisa Wong from the Winnipeg branch and Benevity team captain to get a better idea of where she volunteers – and I was very surprised by what I found out. Lisa has been with Ian Martin for almost a year, and has made a significant impact on her community just by volunteering. Read more

The Art of Hope: Ian Martin & Vixens Victorious

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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Stewardship Council 2014/15 inductees

Our Stewardship Council is blooming into its second year, and with that comes exciting opportunities to impact our stakeholders! Over the past 14 months, the founding Council has been hard at work – with the special dedication and leadership of 10 employees who are committed to guiding our employees as we incorporate stewardship into our daily operations.

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Pushing Beyond the Low Hanging Fruit on the B Corp Assessment

“How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time”.

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Volunteering success: we did it!

March was a busy month, both here at Ian Martin but more importantly beyond our doors, in our community. At the beginning of March, we launched a month long push to get our employees volunteering. As a company we’ve committed to achieving an annual goal of giving back 1860 hours; the number of hours a typical technical consultant works in a year.

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Reaching beyond and connecting in Bangalore

On December 12th 2015, a team of 16 inspired Ian Martin Group recruiters in Bangalore, India got out and gave back to their community. This day marked an eye opening and humbling event as they participated in a walkathon organized by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. Caring for our communities/stewardship is very important to the Ian Martin family and although we are nearly 12,000km apart from head office in Oakville, Canada we wanted to ensure we were contributing to the overall stewardship vision.

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Measuring Our Impact

After recently wrapping up our fiscal year we stopped to take a look back at all we had accomplished and wow, we couldn’t be more proud of our colleagues and Ian Martin as a whole!

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Stewardship Council FY15/16 Inductees

The Ian Martin Group Stewardship Council exists to make real the value of stewardship among all of our company’s internal and external stakeholders.

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Our First Ever B Corp Day

B Corp Day is the day when employees of the world’s 1,307 B Corps in 41 countries volunteer in their own communities – across the globe!

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Building Culture with Contractors

We certainly talk about company “culture” a lot, but how do you define it? If you have contractors on your team, how do you develop it?  Though their relationship to the company might be different than that of a full-time employee, developing a positive team or company culture with contractors benefits both you and them.

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Hat Trick for IMG with Best Workplaces Award 2015

The Ian Martin Group is proud to announce that for the third year in a row, we’ve been named one of the Top 50 Best Workplaces in Canada by the Great Place to Work Institute.

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Third Time’s a Charm: Ian Martin Group wins Best of Staffing once again

Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, the sixth annual Best of Staffing® Award provides the only statistically valid and objective service quality benchmarks in the industry, revealing which staffing agencies are delivering the highest satisfaction levels to their clients and the permanent and temporary employees for whom they find jobs. Only the top 2% of all staffing agencies in North America receive this designation, highlighting a growing divide among the industry’s leaders and laggards, and identifying Ian Martin as one of the best staffing agencies for companies and job candidates to call when they are in need.

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Hats for the Homeless

It was the beginning of January and Diane Blanchet, Katherine Taylor and I were back in the office exchanging holiday stories when Katherine pulled out a wonky-looking plastic hoop and a big ball of wool from her purse.  An explanation quickly followed.

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Celebrating a culture of giving

Wow, it’s already 2015! With the end of another calendar year we’re taking a look back to highlight a few things that happened before the whirlwind of the holidays.

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6 months of Volunteering at Ian Martin

You don’t have to spend much time at the Ian Martin Group to see our heart. At our core – we care. We’ve lived out our compassion in a variety of ways in past years – whether it’s been through fundraising events or food drives, we’ve always enjoyed giving back.

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Top 10 Reasons to B Inspired

Last week was the 2014 B Corp Champions Retreat set in stunning Burlington, Vermont. Champions Retreat is the annual get together of B Corporations (what the heck are those?) from around the world. The retreat is a place for B Corps and like-minded folks to B inspired to advance the movement. As a first time participant, I sure was!

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Annual Softball Showdown

Those dark days of winter when your mind turns towards the sunny days of summer; the sky is blue, a slight breeze ruffles through the trees while a lawn mower hums in the distance and grass sticks to the dew on your shoes… Friday was one of those days. The only thing missing from that picture was the crack of the bat and the shouts of excited teammates as players rounded the bases.

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Checking in on the "Battle against the resume black hole"

It’s been four months since the Ian Martin Group took on the resume black hole…so who’s winning?

From the 10,000 applications Ian Martin Group receives each month, some 2,500 will be contacted by our recruiters, and about 100 of those people will become employed through us.

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Why be a B? An open letter to fellow business owners

Today, the Ian Martin Group is announcing its re-certification as a B Corp (‘B’ stands for Benefit). In the two years since we became a B Corp, our Impact Score jumped from 88 to 105. This letter is to share with you the practical business benefits of “Being a B” – and to encourage you to B one too.

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“We” are a great place to work



Ian Martin is proud to announce that for the second year in a row we have been named one of the Best Workplaces in Canada by The Great Place to Work Institute Inc. Their list “Best Workplaces in Canada”, which was published this morning in the Globe and Mail, is an initiative aimed to recognize organizations that are committed to a positive work environment for their employees and help these organizations create that workplace.

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Ian Martin Group is being recognized as a Great Place to Work® two years in a row!

Toronto, Ontario (April 17th, 2014): Ian Martin Group is once again being recognized as one of this year’s Best Workplaces in Canada. This list, and related stories, appeared in a special national report today in The Globe and Mail.

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The Ian Martin Group Acquires Fitzii, a Predictive Applicant Tracking System

In a market of applicant tracking systems that are often unloved by recruiters and jobseekers alike, Fitzii is known to be a user-friendly solution that takes the key pains out of hiring. Fitzii’s unique application process combines proven psychometric science with a qualifications and cultural fit assessment to better predict successful candidates and dramatically reduce resume-screening time.

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The Ian Martin Group wins best of Staffing two years in a row!

Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, the fifth annual Best of Staffing Award provides the only statistically valid and objective service quality benchmarks in the industry, revealing which staffing agencies are delivering the highest satisfaction levels to their clients and the permanent and temporary employees for whom they find jobs. Yet again, this year’s award outcome highlights a growing divide among the industry’s leaders and laggards, and identifies Ian Martin as one of the best staffing agencies for companies and job candidates to call when they are in need.

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How David Can Beat Goliath in the War for Talent

Hirefly launches during Canadian Small Business Week as the first comprehensive shortlisting service designed to help small and medium sized organizations improve their hiring practices and win in the war for talent.

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Giving Back with our Time: Ian Martin Volunteering Program

Promoting and providing employees with meaningful volunteer opportunities helps to attract top talent; engage, develop, and retain employees; boost public image; and improve the bottom line.

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Engineers Without Borders: Exploring Stewardship Partners

There are a significant number of opportunities to partner with organizations that align with Ian Martin’s foundational goals for Stewardship – here’s a look at one of them.

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Best of Staffing Two Years in a Row!

Ian Martin Group is proud to announce today that for the second year in a row, both Ian Martin Group and 500 Staffing have been named as one of Inavero’s 2014 Best of Staffing® Award winners for both Best Client Service and Best Job Candidate Experience. Presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, the fifth annual Best of Staffing Award provides the only statistically valid and objective service quality benchmarks in the industry, revealing which staffing agencies are delivering the highest satisfaction levels to their clients and the permanent and temporary employees for whom they find jobs. Yet again, this year’s award outcome highlights a growing divide among the industry’s leaders and laggards, and identifies Ian Martin as one of the best staffing agencies for companies and job candidates to call when they are in need.

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Best for Women. Best for Everyone.

I’m sometimes torn when it comes to awards such as the Best Workplace for Women. Are they really needed? What makes a workplace better for women?

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Thank You for B-ing the Change

You could work with any staffing and recruiting company. Thank you for looking at the company behind the services and choosing us. Together, we are creating a better way to do business.

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Make an Impact with Your Resume

If you are (or have ever been) in the process of applying for work, chances are you’re familiar with “the resume black hole” – that feeling of uncertainty that descends when you hit the submit button.

  • Will the right person see your resume?
  • How long will it be before you hear back from someone?
  • Will you hear back from anyone at all?

We hear you.

That’s why in 2013 when we first came across the statistic that 75% of workers applying to jobs didn’t ever hear back from the employer, we decided it was time to do things a little differently. Our goal wasn’t just to establish a better sense of connection with the 120,000 applicants who apply for positions with Ian Martin each year. We wanted to do it in a way that would give applicants who express an interest in working with us a real sense of who we are as a company, and an opportunity to join our mission.

At Ian Martin, we believe in and are working toward a world where everyone can pursue meaningful work. Obviously, that includes the candidates that we personally support, but our vision is much broader than that. We feel passionately that everyone on the planet should have access to work that is meaningful to them.

Kiva Lending Teams

Since 2014, we’ve been asking every Ian Martin applicant to play an important role in helping us achieve that vision. Each time someone applies for a position to one of our jobs, they receive a $25 credit that they can use to direct a loan to the global entrepreneur of their choice through the non-profit organization Kiva. From helping a Kenyan farmer purchase a biodigester to transform farm waste into fuel, to supporting a seamstress in Tajikistan with the purchase of an embroidery machine, our applicants are literally changing lives.

Redeeming the “resume black hole”

Too often, resumes disappear into a black hole, never to be seen again. But what if every single job application helped someone else in the world find meaningful work? It’s really a small way of making a big impact—not only between Ian Martin and our applicants, but between Ian Martin, our applicants, and the entire world. Together, we can make meaningful work accessible for more people, everywhere.

The business case for our Kiva program is a winner for our triple bottom line of People, Planet, Profit. In a nutshell, our original $50,000 investment has multiplied over time to provide over $106,000 in loans. It’s hard to argue with a return like that! More importantly, these $25 loan credits allow more people every day to discover the vital role that giving back to the world can play in the pursuit of meaningful work. To us, that is priceless.

To see an up-to-the-hour summary of the global impact Ian Martin applicants are making through their Kiva donations, click here.



Building Collaboration Culture

Chemical Engineer, Administrative Assistant, Project Manager, .Net Developer, Sales Manager, Systems Analyst, Marketing Manager. What do all these roles have in common? They are jobs that we are filling on a daily basis. Up until 2012 the cornerstone to IMG’s success had been the company’s entrepreneurial approach to developing and servicing clients. A fairly ‘hands off’ model, it had proven successful but resulted in individual business units taking an “eat what you kill” approach and doing their best to fill job requirements whether it was an area of specialization or not. However in 2012 after completing a major brand refresh the challenge for IMG was to step into a new era and learn to work effectively across all five Ian Martin brands to achieve the company’s aggressive growth targets.

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We see a world with each and every person pursuing meaningful work


Before every Stewardship Council meeting I either listen to, or have the lyrics to The Avett Brothers “Salvation Song” in my head. I don’t have a theme song but if I did, this would be it. Above all else it reminds me why I joined the Stewardship Council, and also why I love The Avett Brothers.

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7 Ways We’ve Gotten People on Board

For the last two years the Ian Martin Group has been on a mission to re-energize the company.

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Take me out to the Ballgame

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and no, I’m not talking about Christmas in July. Once a year Ian Martin employees gather for a sporting showdown, pitting usual friends against each other as bragging rights and glory hang in the balance (but really, it is a lot of fun too). This year the tournament made it’s big city debut as we met in Coronation Park downtown Toronto. In addition to the baseball there was face painting and balloon animals for the kids and a caricature artist for everyone.

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Adolescence to Adulthood as a Values-Driven Company

As a CEO, from time to time you get weak signals – feedback about the emotional life of the company you tend.  It’s never a science but I try to gather these voices and pay attention when they begin to form a current. I believe one way to help ‘culture’ grow is to name and examine these streams when they become apparent.

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Investing through Kiva

What if lending money to global entrepreneurs was as fun as Facebook?

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Introducing the 2013/2014 Stewardship Council

Today, I am very excited to announce the founding ‘Stewardship Council’ for the Ian Martin Group.

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Sharing the Insomnia: Starting to think like owners at IMG

Many employees, including myself, weren’t sure what to expect when Tim and John came to town with the “Ownership Thinking” roadshow. A full day conference with peers, flip charts, discussions (and of course some tasty food) wasn’t something that happened very often, so what was the purpose?

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What makes a Great Workplace?


Google’s Zurich office.

Photo courtesy of Camenzind Evolution

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Measuring How We’re Doing


NPS – Measuring how we’re doing with our largest group of stakeholders

In December 2011 the Ian Martin Group became a certified B Corporation. What’s a B Corporation again? You can read Tim’s post on the topic, but to sum it up, B(enefit) corporations operate the same as traditional corporations but with higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.

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"Great Place to Work" Survey Results

This year, we participated in the “Great Place to Work (GPTW)” survey to gain insight into how our employees view working at the Ian Martin Group. 139 of our 155 employees responded to the anonymous questionnaire – now, the raw data is in!

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Why did I come to Ian Martin?

“I want to connect people with meaningful work.”

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Raising The Bar

“All Aboard” the announcer’s voice boomed as we settled into our seats on Amtrak train 130. We were leaving behind the city of Brotherly Love and heading north to the Big Apple. The “free” Wi-Fi was frustratingly slow so I shut down my iPad, sat back and gazed at the American countryside as we passed by. I started to reflect on the previous day’s events and was struck by a thought – how did I get here? No – not the physical location but to the two days of meetings Tim and I were having with the founders and employees of B Lab in Philadelphia and New York (note: ‘B Lab’ is the not-for-profit that certifies B Corporations).

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Having a Purpose is Good for Business

This article was originally published on The Mark News for an ongoing series following three of Canada’s founding Benefit Corporations.

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It’s Official! Ian Martin is a B Corp


We’ve joined the B Corp Community!

IMG is officially a Certified B Corporation

With a score of 88.3 we join Bullfrog Power and Dirtt as the newest Founding B-Corp members in Canada.

(The total number is 29, and on the rise.)

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Learning from the B(enefit) Corp Assessment


IMG certification is still pending.

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The Business of (Better) Business


Last week, a small group of IMG employees attended a grassroots brainstorm hosted by Hypnotic and B Lab  to discuss how businesses can do…well… better business. This low key event was meant to drive awareness and promote thoughtful discussion around how businesses can move toward mainstream adoption of the triple bottom line.  Often referred to as TBL, Triple Bottom Line evaluates a business’ overall impact by measuring the three pillars in its sphere of influence: people, planet and profits.  As one might guess, the evening’s discussion was heavy on people and planet but fell a little short on profit.  This is not to say it wasn’t beneficial. Quite the contrary.

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Renewing the Foundations


“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”
~ Winston Churchill

I love old bricks…
My wife, Kate, and I once rented an apartment in Ottawa sight-unseen simply because the landlord professed, “the living room features a beautiful three-story 19th century stonemasonry wall … and someone is scheduled to see the place this afternoon…”

I love old bricks…
Quietly walking through the streets of Cabbagetown – located in the corner of busy downtown Toronto – time slows down in the cobblestone alleys and drifts past the hand-built homes.  The frantic pace of the city fades for a moment.  Peace of mind gently settles in…

I love old bricks…
Further down Parliament Street – at the Distillery District – the richness, depth and texture in the stones tell a story.  Many seasons have deepened their pores, etched autographs speak of milestones passed and, now, imagination has breathed new life into this once forgotten place…

Protection Racket

It’s strange – bricks that have survived just a century seem rich with history in the North American landscape.  So many have been knocked down for something better, painted over by zealous landlords, and sandblasted by gentrification.  Our culture is constantly speeding towards the future, barely taking a breath to reflect on our past.

For this company, we have arrived at a moment that is all about the future.  By October this year, we will be launching our new logos and website (see the new logos here).  If you’re reading this, you’ve already found our new blog – perhaps via social media or our new quarterly newsletter.  We have a new parent brand, “The Ian Martin Group” (IMG), to carry the well-known brands in our existing family: IML (Engineering), IMIT (I.T.) and The 500 Staffing (Temp & Perm).  Furthermore, two new companies: IMT (Telecom) and Granary Inc. (Executive Search) are joining the fold to articulate expertise presently buried in other areas of the organization.  New opportunities abound for our employees – we have adapted our “org chart” to increase capacity, improve our training & development and support deeper collaboration between teams.  We even have a new face in senior leadership – Sue Hyatt has joined us as National Director of The 500 Staffing.

Recently, Rob Chorney, our IMIT branch manager in Toronto (also a new gig for him), likened all of this activity to a wedding announcement – the October launch may seem a long way off but you know the celebration is coming!  At the risk of stretching the metaphor, I’ll add this: while the ceremony is the focal point of any wedding, we know the important stuff happens before the invitation and after the festivities are over…

So, for the rest of this post, I’m going to step aside from the buzz of “new” and reflect on our roots – as Bruce Mullock (VP Client Relations – who has a deep sense of our history and, notably, has served at IML longer than I’ve been alive) often helps me to do.  Time in reflection often helps us see clearly the kind of future we want to create together.

About 12 months ago, we started working with brand-expert, Brian Rawlins, to help us more clearly understand, articulate and visualize the essential characteristics of our company.  This sparked a conversation that has been germinating throughout the organization ever since.  It begins with some basic questions:

Who are we?
Where have we been?
Where are we going?
And – especially – why?

We know the fundamentals: we have an excellent team of staff and contractors, a solid 50-year reputation in the marketplace, expertise in important verticals, long-lasting client relationships and a tradition of entrepreneurship.  But one question from Brian just continued to persist, “Is there anything that makes you truly unique – a ‘leader’ in the marketplace?”

We turned this question over for months, backwards and forwards, up and down, at all hours of the day and night – asking everyone, anyone – to make sure that we had considered every possibility.  In the end, the answer was right in front of us – in the form of an ‘old brick’:

“Fairness and integrity are the cornerstones of Ian Martin Limited.”

Once a leading, active, and unique vision in the marketplace – our cornerstones had been layered over by the explosive growth of ‘integrity’ as a buzzword in business – so over-claimed that it no longer provided any clear directive.  Yet inside, we knew that this legacy of ‘fairness and integrity’ had gifted IMG with something rare and authentic.  It was time to get out the sandblaster and rediscover its beauty.


The search for the right words continued for many months, with many contributing voices.  One comment by Marc Ang (IMIT Recruiter) about “responsibility” stands out in my own mind, along with an article that Bill Fretz (Director of Search) turned up from a 1999 “Business Builders” meeting.  That article focused on unpacking a single word – a word deeply embedded in our culture, like a buried treasure – an uncomfortable word, perhaps – awkward because it “just sounds so old-fashioned.”


Yet, suddenly that word began to embody the kind of unique, generative, authentic ‘integrity’ we’ve always known to be our cornerstone.  Practicing ‘stewardship’ would mean taking our intrinsic talents, resources and opportunities – our gifts – and applying them to create a benefit that we share with others.

This past week, John Breininger sent me a quote from Benjamin Desraeli that I think beautifully captures the spirit of Stewardship:

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share
your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

At our best, isn’t that what we do?  The word Stewardship can certainly be applied to the basic interactions we have in the natural course of business: ‘stewarding’ the careers of our candidates, becoming ‘stewards’ of our client’s success, and practicing responsible ‘stewardship’ by giving back to the community.

The 3 traits that make IMG unique.

But Stewardship also demands that we ask some new questions that we still haven’t answered yet.  For example, at IMG, how are we ‘stewarding’ the resources of our planet – do we even know how to measure that?  As managers, do we think of ourselves as actively serving those who ‘work for us’?  How often do we talk about the productive tension between ‘stewardship’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ (another one of our traits)?   What about our time and talents – our ‘expertise’ – are we lending it back to our communities in a way that will foster growth for others?  How are we modeling ‘stewardship’ or inviting others to participate with us in the joy of giving?

These kinds of questions – though none fully answered – have actually been taking shape in this organization for many years.  Let me tell you a quick personal story…  Back in 1995, I remember being cornered one weekend by my dad, Bill Masson (President of IMG).  He had an idea (not like that was unusual) and he fully intended to draft my free time toward its execution (also, par for the course).

That year, Bill Gates had been named “Richest Person in the World”.  So, my dad had decided to write him a letter.  His idea was to convince Mr. Gates that he should give some of his fortune away (*teenager eye roll*).  My dad’s role in the project would be author, and mine editor. Despite my “lost weekend” and the “obvious futility” of the exercise, we worked hard on this project.  Looking back, I think it was a foundational exercise in articulating his vision of Stewardship – a base on which he and his team later laid the cornerstones of ‘fairness and integrity’ in 1997.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Gates never wrote us back.  But, in a way, he did respond…

In 2008 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Gates gave a speech titled: “A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century”.  In it, he envisions a world where business demonstrates leadership by practicing what he calls “creative capitalism”.  Gates explains: “Such a system would have a twin mission: making profits and also improving lives of those who don’t fully benefit from today’s market forces. ”  Thirteen years removed from 1995, not only was Gates giving most of his fortune away, he was challenging us to integrate the idea of Stewardship right into our business’ day-to-day operations.  Gates concludes his speech:

“The task is open-ended. It will never be finished. But a passionate
effort to answer this challenge will help change the world.”

At IMG, we want to have the courage and perseverance to take up that kind of challenge – and to be leaders in the effort.  So, standing on our cornerstones of ‘fairness and integrity’, we’ve crafted a new statement to guide the journey – learning day-by-day to practice stewardship and entrepreneurship in balance.  At IMG, we are:

“Building authentic connections around meaningful work.”

One final word – on bricks:

The renewal of the Distillery District in Toronto was sparked by a few people who committed themselves to a gathering vision – but it has continually flourished and been given new life by the artists, retailers, architects, tourists, construction crews, residents, engineers, pub owners, festival operators, photographers and citizens who have lent their talents to ‘steward’ its transformation.

It is that kind of collective leadership – leadership by stewardship – that I hope we can model as we walk boldly into the next chapter of our story at IMG together.