For any organization, the business can only ever be as good as its people. The hospitality industry especially relies on skilled, engaged workers who care deeply about ensuring an optimum customer experience and Shaw Centre is very fortunate in this regard. Consistent attention to creating and enhancing corporate culture has helped the Centre develop and nurture an environment where colleagues in every facet of the organization feel valued. As a result, Shaw Centre enjoys impressive staff retention rates, achieves excellent scores on client surveys and has some remarkable staff longevity stories, including individuals who have been with the Centre for twenty years or more, a time span that’s quite uncommon in this industry.


How does Shaw Centre foster a culture that inspires loyalty?


  • Ongoing communication – colleagues get to share a vision of the big picture through all-team meetings, smaller group sessions and a quarterly newsletter


  • Regular training – lunch and learns, conferences, online courses and networking opportunities are among the many opportunities to build skills and confidence


  • Job shadowing – opportunities are facilitated for colleagues to learn about other roles in the organization so they can better understand other possibilities available to them


  • Approachable management – employees know that all management doors, even the CEO’s, are always open


  • Feedback gathering – surveys, suggestion boxes and small open forum sessions are conducted to gain insight into how to make employees’ jobs better and how to make the overall work environment as supportive as possible


  • Employee recognition – the ‘Encore, Encore’ program lets clients and colleagues nominate outstanding staff who are celebrated at a quarterly gathering; impromptu receptions and celebrations also serve to convey respect for and pride in individual and team accomplishments. Long term service awards include a reception to acknowledge loyalty and service.


  • Client feedback – perfect client surveys are shared with the entire team; client loyalty scores are now averaging 4.7/5; customer service scores 4.8/5; both are new highs for the organization


What do Shaw Centre’s employees say?


  • “My ability to exemplify my full commitment to Shaw Centre has enabled me to retain department staff who share and demonstrate the same core values of loyalty and hard work. I am proud to say that my department has one of the highest employee retention rates. This success is a direct reflection of the mutual respect and appreciation that exists at Shaw Centre.” ~ Ray Yhap, executive steward, 23 years at Shaw Centre


  • “As my first job as a young adult, the Shaw Centre provided me with great opportunity for growth since my arrival in Canada. The team is awesome and I am looking forward to many more years here.” ~ Neris Alvarado, prep cook, 19 years at Shaw Centre


  • “I love the hospitality profession, learning experience from the variety of cultures, loyalty to the company and the co-workers, job security and opportunities that the job provides.” ~ Asia Vucica, banquet server, 17 years at Shaw Centre


It seems fitting that Shaw Centre’s general manager, Loretta Briard, is herself a twenty-year veteran with the facility. “I’ve stayed because of the tremendous opportunities for advancement and growth, and that’s a theme I hear repeated often at all levels of our organization,” notes Loretta. She has benefited from the Centre’s practice of promoting from within whenever possible. “We are always looking for ways to help our employees grow their skills so they can progress in their careers.”


The Centre’s motto reflects the importance the organization places on its team: Inspired people creating extraordinary events. “We have a very special culture here and it’s one that is based on a foundation of respect and a genuine desire to keep our people happy so they can make clients happy,” says Loretta. “And as I like to say, where else in the nation’s capital can you interact with such great people and be a part of such fantastic events?”