Fruit and nut manufacturer, Golden Boy Foods, will be closing its doors at the end of May this year as the plant moves from Burnaby to the States. For close to 45 years the company has been more than a workplace for 330 employees, it has been a place where culture and inclusion sit at the forefront. Though the closure brings sadness to many, the leadership team has surely made an incredible impact on their staff, and we hope other companies are influenced in creating a workplace as incredible as theirs.
In total Golden Boy Foods has 15 different dialects spoken among their team and for many of the staff, Golden Boy was their first employer in Canada. With approximately 98% of the employees being ESL and around 30% having minimal English-speaking skills, the company created the Language Leaders Program which includes 40+ language leaders across all shifts for communication. “We started the program a few years ago after the realization that we have a lot of very talented and smart people that had immigrated to Canada, but language was a bit of a barrier,” says Duke Greenstein, Operations Leader at Golden Boy, “We were trying to figure out how to bridge the gap so we could utilize the knowledge base but also make people feel comfortable in their work environment.” They also have a Train-the-trainer Program for safety training in different languages, and conduct their crew talks and training all in different languages.
In 2021 Golden Boy Foods took home BC Food & Beverage’s ‘People First Award, Health, Safety & Culture Excellence’ Award. “It felt good to see how far we have come. How the company has gone through different changes throughout the years,” says Daria Drazic, HR Manager at Golden Boy, “It just shows that all the hard work and team effort in making sure our employees felt appreciated didn’t go unnoticed.” Come to the filming for the award the staff at Golden Boy were dancing and celebrating, despite already knowing that there was a closing day coming. “It’s been a rollercoaster. I’m very happy to see our staff still in very high spirits. Most of our staff have stuck around, which shows the culture we’ve built here,” says Daria, “We’re doing whatever we can to set them up for success, no matter what their next chapter might be.”
With this closing day on the horizon, the leadership team at Golden Boy not only plans to help their staff with resumes and EI, but they also intend to conduct interviews and practice with their team. On top of that, they will be putting together a job hiring fair on site. But it’s not your typical job fair where the employee seeks the employer. Golden Boy will be bringing the employers to their employees to set them up for their next job opportunity. “We will be inviting companies that we know have a good reputation to set up a booth,” says Duke, “The other thing that we can help with is having a better discussion with the employer because not everyone can sell their own story. There may be a language barrier or confidence barrier – they may be exceptional leaders in different great ways and we’re going to be able to help tell that story to that potential employer.”
Golden Boy Foods will be hosting a hiring fair at their facility in Burnaby from April 4th-April 8th to help their team find new careers. If you are interested in being a part of the job fair and getting the chance to hire some incredible employees, please reach out to their HR team of Shirley Walton, firstname.lastname@example.org and Sandy Takhar, email@example.com.