You don’t have to be a massive corporation to get your people excited to show up each day. Look no further than the 50 organizations on the 2015 list of the Best Small and Medium Employers (BSME) in Canada for proof.

These are employers who’ve figured out how to get their employees to really care about their work, to feel motivated to come in each day, and to strive to excel in everything they do. In other words, they’ve mastered the tricky art of employee engagement. And we believe that’s worth celebrating.

Produced by Aon Hewitt and the Queen’s School of Business Centre for Business Venturing in partnership with Canadian Business and PROFITguide.com, the BSME program ranks participating companies by their employee-engagement scores and other factors, as measured by surveys of each firm’s employees, HR team and executives. The program is open to companies with 50 to 399 Canadian employees.

These organizations have turned the people on their payrolls into engaged, motivated, dedicated employees using a variety of tips, tactics and strategies, some of which you can read about in the pages that follow. You can learn about how one 2015 BSME laureate gives its employees the agency they want, and also read five of our favourite engagement strategies from this year’s winners. And you can find even more in the December 2014 issue of Canadian Business, on newsstands November 5th.

Whether you’re expanding your workforce or simply trying to get better performance out of the one you have, the BSME class of 2015 offer plenty of useful advice.

Want More Engagement Tips? Check Out Our Coverage of the 2014 and 2013 BSME Winners

Meet the 50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada for 2015

In alphabetical order: A-B | C-E | F-K | L-R | S-Z

Achievers

Toronto
Industry: Internet Software & Services
Employees in Canada: 150

Cool tool: You’d expect a company that sells employee-rewards software to be good at keeping its workers happy, but communication and transparency may have more of a role than perks and benefits in making Achievers a great place to work. Nine-minute meetings conducted daily at 11.51 a.m. bring every employee of the company together to hear good news, to highlight financial and sales figures and to meet new hires. These brief, regular reminders of how the company is doing keeps everyone focused on the big-picture goals and decreases the likelihood of morale-crushing rumours taking hold. It’s an open ethos that’s reinforced with quarterly meetings in which executives answer all employee questions.

Allteck Line Contractors Inc.

Langley, B.C.
Industry: Energy Equipment & Services
Employees in Canada: 338

Engagement philosophy: “Communicating is about listening first, seeking others’ opinions and learning from others’ knowledge,” states Allteck’s statement of values. “And this is how we develop the best solutions. We keep this two-way communication going within our teams and with our customers by being upfront with issues and with praise, and by resolving problems in partnership.”

Arrow Professional Services

Toronto
Industry: Consumer Services
Employees in Canada: 200
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Assumption Life

Moncton
Industry: Insurance
Employees in Canada: 183
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Back in Motion Rehab Inc.

Surrey, B.C.
Industry: Health Care Services
Employees in Canada: 190

Smart strategy: Employees lead all aspects of Back in Motion’s wellness initiatives by actively participating in social, health and safety, diversity and social responsibility committees.

Benefits by Design Inc. (BBD)

Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Industry: Insurance
Employees in Canada: 87

Perks that work: To better facilitate work-life balance, BBD added a hobby subsidy, which gives each employee money to invest in an interest that’s not related to health and fitness (for which the firm offers a separate incentive). Employees have used this to support everything from camping trips to scrapbooking to blogging to gardening.

The Berkeley

Halifax
Industry: Health Care Services
Employees in Canada: 138
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BlueShore Financial

North Vancouver, B.C.
Industry: Consumer Finance
Employees in Canada: 313

Smart strategy: Change is hard for many workforces, but it’s a lot easier when it’s not all coming from above. That’s why when BlueShore rebranded in 2013, it appointed internal “brand ambassadors” to answer questions and help their fellow workers through the process. It kept productivity and engagement up throughout the rebranding, which  earned the ambassadors a second set of duties when the company moved offices this year. (BlueShore made them the point-people for the shift, giving them a special advance tour of the new building to allow them to guide their co-workers when move day came.) The result: no dip in productivity or engagement throughout two major changes.

BuildDirect

Vancouver
Industry: eCommerce
Employees in Canada: 238
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Bull, Housser & Tupper, LLP

Vancouver
Industry: Professional Services
Employees in Canada: 175

Smart strategy: To get everyone on board with a major move—the firm recently changed offices after 40 years in the same location, moving to an interim space while awaiting completion of a new headquarters—management got everyone on board by canvassing them about what they wanted in their new workspace. Employees provided “essential input” on everything from furniture selection to office layout to colour schemes, giving them a sense of ownership in the move.

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