Make it Loud for Mental Health

Match Retail is going to Make it Loud for Mental Health during the month of September by challenging each other to track their KMs while walking, biking, or running! Make it Loud is a passion project hosted by Delaney Brough, Account Manager at Public Label.

“I’m so thankful for my amazing team and their support and commitment for mental health awareness in the workplace.”

1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness during their lifetime. Their experience and pain will also impact their families, friends and colleagues. Mental health affects us all.

Worldwide, more than 70% of people with a mental illness do not seek help.

These are shocking statistics. And COVID has increased challenges for anxiety, depression, and isolation to even higher levels.

In March of 2018, I hosted a fundraiser event for CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), to support awareness and access to mental health services in Canada. Through the month I asked people to share their stories on social media as we raised funds for the charity. I rented space at the Oakville Golf Club for a final evening event, and we had a great night with food, drinks, and raffles.  noise was our team’s name for the event.

In just a few short weeks we raised over $5,000 and I developed a deeper appreciation for just how important awareness is. So many people are just not okay.

4 years have passed and we are still making noise, talking about mental health and self love. Through social media, events and participating in other local projects we are working together to build awareness to eliminate the stigma around mental illness.

Through our social medial channel, we have encouraged people to write about personal challenges faced and overcome and shared those blogs in the hope that even one reader may feel less alone.

I have been overwhelmed by the bravery of those willing to share their stories and open up their pain to build a path for someone else. Along this journey, I’ve learned that so many of us are impacted by a mental health challenge – either your own, a family member, or friend. By talking about this more openly, together we can end the stigma that prevents so many from seeking help, or acknowledging their struggles.

Our September “Make it Loud” Walk has become one of our main community events. September is also Suicide Prevention month.

In 2019, we held our first 5K walk – September 22nd in Milton, ON. Over 80 participants joined the 5K walk and we were so proud to see the excitement and enthusiasm from everyone who participated to make the day a success.  Through fundraising efforts leading up to the big day, we collectively raised almost $4,000 for CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). Funds raised were used to support more than 100 hours of free counseling services.

In 2020, COVID restrictions challenged us to do something different. Instead of a single day event, we put together a self-directed fitness challenge for the month of September using the Nike Run Club App. Participants tracked their fitness progress under the group challenge of 300 KM for the month by walking, biking or running. Over 150 participants joined, and 3 participants even hit the intense goal for the month! Collectively we raised almost $9,500 for CMHA. Nearly double our goal!

This year, I’m hosting the month-long challenge & fundraiser again. My goal is to double our number of participants and to raise $10,000 for CMHA for counselling services.

With our current work from home culture, it is important for all of us to remember to take a break. Get outside. Exercise. Physical activity can have a profoundly positive impact on our mental state. Regular exercise relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better and boosts your overall mood.

And the App allows you toss in some healthy competition as you try to stay ahead of others on the team.     I was surprised by how much of a positive motivator this was for me last year!

Thank you to Match Retail for joining the challenge this year! I’m excited for some friendly competition amongst team members, and the opportunity to continue positive conversations about mental health in the workplace and show support for each other, and our communities.  

Be well. Be kind. And have fun getting active along the way!

Delaney Brough, Account Manager at Public Label

Match Retail Certified as a Great Place to Work® in Canada

Recognition is a testament to Match Retail’s commitment to culture and people-first approach

Leading sales, merchandising and branded retail agency Match Retail is proud to announce that it has been recognized as a Great Place to Work® in Canada. 

The agency received this certification after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Institute Canada. Certification is based on direct feedback from Match Retail employees, as part of an extensive and anonymous survey on corporate culture and the workplace experience, which received a 78% participation rate from employees. 

“This recognition is for all of us at Match Retail to celebrate,” said Vanessa Schnekenburger, Managing Director, Match Retail. “We truly believe that we have the best employees and we are committed to continuing to put our people first.”

Nancy Fonseca, Senior Vice President of Great Place to Work® Canada, says that a great workplace is about the level of trust that employees experience in their leaders, the level of pride they have in their jobs, and the extent to which they enjoy their colleagues. “Our data shows that great workplaces benefit from stronger financial performance, reduced turnover, and better customer satisfaction than their peers. What’s more, work environments with trust at the foundation are ripe for innovation, agility, resilience and efficiency,” Fonseca said. 

The recognition comes at a time of significant growth for Match Retail, driven by new business wins and expanded capabilities, including an exciting training and development offering that was recently unveiled for client partners. 

Schnekenburger added: “Certification is just the first step towards understanding how our employee experience stacks up to the best companies. We will use the results and employee feedback to keep improving our agency and implementing initiatives that will inspire our people and grow our culture even further.”

This achievement couldn’t be possible without our incredible team who share in this exciting news. Thank you to our team for all that you do everyday and for your dedication in working together!

EDGE – Healthy, Wealthy Money Conversations

EDGE’s theme for Q2 was ‘Getting Personal’, with June focusing on our employees’ wellbeing on the personal finance management front.

We wrapped up the quarter with a workshop led by Jenn Uhen of the Pledgettes, where she, as our “financial mentor,” did a fantastic job of guiding us through “healthy, wealthy money conversations.”

The session began with Jenn talking about… an onion (!) and how this otherwise mundane vegetable is an apt analogy for the topic at hand; money conversations have many layers and it takes time and diligence to peel back each one. The illustration helped frame the rest of the workshop as we delved into the different “top layers” of Money Talks 101. Jenn then presented her top tips on establishing a “safe place” to talk about money and asked great conversation starter questions that helped us jump into enriching money talks with our peers. First, from lunch money shenanigans to allowance rules, we all had the chance to reminisce on our earliest memories of dealing with money and how they shaped our ideas and perceptions of it.

We are also thankful for our very own Doug Fischer, who poignantly shared his own financial experiences and learnings gained when he had to help manage the estate of a parent who passed away. Within our groups, we continued to share and discuss our current financial goals and what retirement would look like for each. The latter helped open the subject of retirement savings programs made available through our company and the unique benefits of leveraging these financial tools.

As we move into Q3’s theme of Career Development, we are looking forward to continued conversations with our peers as we learn more about money, personal finance, and wealth building in future Money Talks with Jenn Uhen in September. Stay tuned for further details!

The EDGE Team

Meet The Team: Randy Timbol

Our “Meet the Team” series introduces you to members of the Match team and gives insight to what it means to be a part of such an incredible culture at Match.

We caught up with Randy Timbol.

What do you do at Match?
Today, I serve as WOW! mobile’s National Training Manager; I joined Match Retail back in March 2014 when I was among the founding Store Managers opening the first WOW! mobile kiosks across Canada, mine being our Fairview Pointe-Claire location in Montreal, Quebec.

What do you like the most about Match?
Easy! Match Retail is a “People First” company. I learned early on how a value statement like this comes to life when a company continually invests in, coaches, equips, and empowers their people.

Tips for anyone looking to get into your line of work?
If you have a desire to help others, that is the key ingredient to start. Be a student of people; learn how to connect with others by conversing with others cultures and other points of view. Study, read, listen, and speak to others then, repeat, repeat, repeat! Training others effectively, like any skill, takes time and repetition so be patient and disciplined with yourself.

Beyond Binary with Michal Duffy

In support of Pride Month, our Diversity & Inclusion Committee welcomed a guest speaker from Out Boulder County (OBC) – the area’s LGBTQ advocacy and community center.

Michal Duffy, Out Boulder County’s Education & Program Manager shared a presentation called Beyond Binary: LGBTQ Concepts & Etiquette. During this session, we had the opportunity to learn and discuss the differences and relationships between sex assigned at birth, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation. Michal also covered appropriate language, pronouns, effective allyship in both professional and personal settings, and provided a welcoming forum for any questions our team had.

Michal oversees OBC’s programs and leads their education and advocacy efforts. Michal also works with OBC’s Trans Steering & Events Committee and serves on various working groups in the county including the Boulder Chamber’s Community Affairs Council, Longmont Multicultural Action Committee, and El Centro AMISTAD’s Board of Directors. Our team was very grateful for the opportunity to learn from their over 15 years of engagement in the LGBTQ+ community.

Understanding and awareness is part of creating a more welcoming work environment, and Beyond Binary was a great opportunity to deepen our knowledge and prepare ourselves to be better allies.

Diversity & Inclusion Committee

EDGE – Emotional Intelligence

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the EDGE team welcomed BlueEQ™ keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Jackson to introduce & discuss Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

During the workshop we learned that Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others. Learning these skills enable us to harness our reactions and apply better strategies to tasks like thinking, problem solving, and technical work. They also enable us to be aware of the emotions of others and to become aligned with them to accomplish complex tasks. High emotional intelligence empowers us all to influence others to achieve superior levels of business impact.

Some key takeaways included:
• There are 2 sides to developing yourself as a leader: The job itself (technical) and you as a leader/performer (human factors)
• The smartest people are often not the best performers and leaders—that “what” you know is
only as good as “who” you are
• The core 5 skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Regard, Self-Control, Social Perception, and Social Effectiveness
• EQ skills increase Psychological Safety which increase career and business success
• We need to keep in mind our own personal strategies for managing: Impulse Control, Motivation, Stress Tolerance, Mindfulness, Resilience and Emotional Stability
• Remember the value of a ‘Strategic Pause’ and how taking a few seconds or minutes can help us make better and more informed decisions
• Red zone workplaces produce low Psychological Safety and Blue Zones produce high levels
• Culture is the extension of us all as individuals. We need to start with ourselves and be intentional about being in the blue zone!

This workshop proved to be a valuable introduction to exploring new principles, mindsets, and strategies that can be used to up our game as leaders, both on the job or at home, wherever we lead and serve.

The EDGE Team

Our World, My Wow!

Communication teams around the world have had to rework their strategy since the unwelcoming presence of COVID-19. WOW! mobile boutique is no different. With the shutdown of our office over a year ago and minimal in person field visits to our 83 locations across Canada, we needed to find a new way to bring our sense of WOW! brand and community back to our sales floor. To do this, we brought in the “Experts” to discuss Associate mindshare; our people.

Early in 2021, our Communications and Marketing team connected with Managers across Districts to discuss how 2020 went from a support perspective and took the time to get feedback on what we could do better.  Out of the three major buckets, one stood out the most, which was having one source of truth for business news and updates. In a pre-COVID world, we connected with our people via email and WhatsApp notifications.  This worked because it was coupled with an in-person meeting to ask questions and provide additional communication on the sales floor.  With the in-person experience gone, our people were asking us for a new way to engage with the Support Team.  With that in mind, our team thought “out of the box” and created our internal site, My WOW!

 

“Our mission was to create an online user experience for our people as both the one source of truth and a place of community in our new world.”

My WOW! was created with passion and through the perspective of our associates in order to bring a user experience that was taken away from them.  Our mission was to create an online user experience for our people as both the one source of truth and a place of community in our new world. With its Phase One launch in April, we saw adoption to the site instantly with over 200 associates going into the site every single day! Feedback we have received since its launch has been consistently positive. Associates feel more connected to the Support Team and have a better sense of understanding the “why” behind what we do.  Transparency is the key to creating a positive user experience, and My WOW! nurtures the environment for transparency to thrive.

This also brought a new level of data analysis our business never had before. With the analytics built into the dashboard, we are now able to see how long an associate stays on the site, where they navigate to, and how often they are logging in. We are now able to export the data to take a deep dive into how we can improve areas of our communications on the site. For example, we have built new areas on the site from this data for different functional teams. Our inventory management team now has dedicated area to show backordered, end of life, or allocated products.  This allows preparation to pivot to other products on the sales floor.  We have also integrated our New Hire Training program on the site, titled WOW 101.  New associates become familiar with the site, use it during training and look at it again in the future if needed. Productivity increases by giving our people more time to learn outside of their scheduled shifts. In time, this will allow people to learn at their own pace once the mandatory training is complete.

At WOW! mobile boutique, we look forward to continuing our growth on the site to provide a truly unique experience for our audience.  My WOW! will continue to grow with our people, our business and our brand in order to foster an authentic community in our new world.

Jennifer Barr, Pricing & Communications Manager, Match Retail

 

 

 

EDGE – Personal Branding

EDGE wrapped up the Q1 theme ‘Change’ and entered into Q2 focusing on employees and their wellbeing. Our theme for Q2 is ‘Getting Personal’.

EDGE introduced the theme in April through a cohort discussion on Personal Branding. We wanted employees to recognize themselves and define their brand. Some interesting discussion points were.

  • Identifying your mission statement?
  • Visual representation of your brand? (e.g., logos, websites, typeface)
  • List of offerings?
  • The tone of your brand?
  • Your tagline?

EDGE wrapped up April with a presentation on Personal Branding. The goal was for employees to recognize each other’s strengths and focus on those rather than wasting time on the things each person may not succeed in. The presentation opened up with some icebreakers that allowed for employees to share stories or their past, views on personal beliefs, and the things they are most passionate about. We then asked each employee to share stories about what made them awkward as a kid. The goal of this exercise was to show each employee that the things that made them awkward as a kid are the things that now separate them from the rest.

In another exercise, we asked employees to interview their colleagues to understand what an ideal work environment would look like for them. They were asked to provide an example of a time they worked on a project with different teams successfully and what made it a successful project. We wanted them to identify the behaviors that would make such an environment an everyday thing for them. Through this exercise, we were able to identify each other’s strengths, values that define us and know our colleagues better.

At the end of the session, each employee walked away with their brand house and a greater understanding of their peers. We see so many materialistic brands every day that we often forget to give our own brand a thought. It is time you identify your uniqueness and celebrate it just like we did at EDGE!

The EDGE Team

EDGE – Getting Personal

As we start slowly peeling off the coping methods that were developed during the dumpster fire that was last year, we start to re-prioritize. Many of us found that 2020, while not the year we planned gave time to contemplate what our priorities truly were. We decided to source our own produce and build beautiful gardens in our backyards. We opted to spend our money on helping others in need whether that was the BLM movement or essential workers who were our everyday heroes in times of uncertainty. We made business decisions out of fear because there was no light in sight, no path to follow. We decided our time was better spent learning to bake and cook with our families and close friends rather than rushing to our local watering hole for happy hour. We learned that you could run through the entire library in Netflix and people who house giant cats are some of the most fascinating people in pop-culture. We shifted, we changed, we grew, and we coped. Now it’s time to take what we learned and dust off some of the bad habits that may have come with it and figure out what’s important now.

The next couple months EDGE will be allowing space for vulnerable moments in hopes of assisting in personal growth. We will start the quarter with a lesson on personal branding. Helping employees and ourselves learn a little more about allowing our authentic self to come through. We will ask employees to find their “why” in hopes of creating better colleague relationships, allow for better self-advocacy, push further towards our passions and create a space where individuality is nurtured and desired. Understanding how to market oneself will ultimately help us to be better marketers for our clients.

From personal branding we will then push ourselves by discussing mental health. A topic that in recent years has become highly prioritized and politicized. Mental health is something that Match Retail asks their employees to think about regularly. Our leaders push us to take a step away, get outside, take an extended lunch or a day off to re-group and come back ready to create. We will share some thoughts from industry leaders and our own staff during a monthly session in May.

The last part of our quarter will dive into personal finance. One of those topics that people seem to get a little smaller in their chairs during. We dipped our toes into this last year with a guest speaker from the Pledgettes, a local group leading the charge in personal growth in numerous ways. We will be bringing back a guest speaker to talk a little more in depth about how we spend our money, how we should be talking about it and how we can better think about it.

It’s going to be a great quarter with a lot of opportunity to grow and we could not be more excited.

EDGE

 

Meet The Team: Erin Miles

“Meet our Team” introduces you to the people of Match Retail and shares what it means to be a part of such an incredible culture at Match.

This week we caught up with Erin Miles.

What do you do at Match?
I am the Human Resources Generalist at Match and I’ve been with the company for 6.5 years.

I started on contract assisting the recruitment team before I was offered a permanent position as a Customer Protection Analyst with the Loss Prevention department. I later moved into a role as Project Manager – Field before I was promoted to Human Resource Coordinator after which I was promoted to my current role.

What do you like the most about Match?
Match is like a big family that puts its people first, encouraging employee’s to dream big and helps them achieve those dreams. You never feel alone, there are always people there to help and collaborate with.

Tips for anyone looking to get into your line of work?
No role is too small, take every opportunity that comes your way. Many roles have an HR aspect to them, build on your role and stay connected. Have confidence and show empathy.

Thanks Erin for all you do and being you!