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Moving from South America to Winnipeg was a long, somewhat scary odyssey for Johenny Cortes, who faced the uncertainty of many new arrivals to Canada in finding shelter and a job. But when she walked through the doors of Palliser Furniture Ltd., she found both a professional home and a career.
“I had no experience in this country, but when I found this kind of company, everything was easier,” says Cortes, a quality assurance analyst.
“Palliser has given me the key to grow professionally inside the company. They give you the opportunity to learn along the way and that’s a part that I really enjoy.”
Headquartered in Winnipeg, Palliser Furniture uses innovation and ethically sourced materials to produce quality residential and commercial furniture products with operations in Canada, the United States and Mexico. A leading manufacturer in the sector, the company makes everything from sofas to cinema seating, employing over 4,000 people worldwide.
Because it’s not located in major urban centres like Vancouver or Toronto, Palliser Furniture can’t rely on a large pool of potential employees close at hand, so the company has developed a comprehensive, holistic recruitment strategy to attract and retain its workers. The key is a major commitment to invest in its employees.
“If they want to be part of our team, we invite people to come along with us on a journey where we will help them to develop personally and professionally,” says Peter Tielmann, president and CEO.
“It’s an entrepreneurial culture where people feel like they can make a difference and be part of building this company together and making it better.”
Along with generous health and vacation benefits, Palliser Furniture focuses on employee training, mentorship and career planning to recruit and retain its people. Advancement from within is the norm, with most senior managers having started on the ground floor. It’s a package that attracted Cortes, especially the company’s tuition subsidies program, which she says will help her further along her career path.
Palliser Furniture has created a corporate culture where constant innovation is based on employee feedback. The company provides multiple internal communication platforms to seek input to improve its products and keep a finger on the pulse of employee wellness and engagement. Townhalls, e-bulletins and other initiatives promote constant communications that foster better employee wellness and satisfaction.
It’s an atmosphere where everyone’s opinion matters, creating a sense of a shared mission and purpose. Tielmann says this both empowers employees and drives the company’s growth.
“What has made Palliser successful throughout the years and keeps making it successful is grassroots innovation where everybody’s involved at the foundational level – it’s not a top-down culture,” he says.
“We can give you a place where you can explore, grow and test your competencies. We provide opportunities to work in multiple places to find out how the company works from every aspect until you find your passion area.”
Founded as a family business, Palliser Furniture maintains a small-town vibe where managers and employees work together in a collegial atmosphere while remaining connected to the community at large. The company’s annual summer barbeques are a celebration of diversity. Palliser employs people from 60 different nationalities.
For Cortes, Palliser Furniture has offered a comprehensive professional experience that has changed her life and expanded her circle.
“Since I have come here, I feel like I have another family,” she says. “When you work in a welcoming environment with friendly people, you feel happy and the job is easier.”
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Palliser Furniture Ltd.