Every month, Jobboom profiles an employer that is a leader in their industry to shed some light on the business cultures, staffing needs and recruitment methods of top organizations. This month we look at ACCEO Solutions.
For over 25 years, ACCEO Solutions has been an industry leader in the fields of business IT, accounting, banking, Software-as-a-Service and cloud informatics solutions. The company has close to 1000 employees and serves 60,000 clients across North America from their five Quebec locations and their offices in Toronto, Winnipeg and Paris.
We sat down for an interview with Marie-Carmen Velasco, Executive Vice-President and chief of human resources and shared services at ACCEO Solutions.
JOBBM What are the main types of employment available at ACCEO Solutions?
Marie-Carmen Velasco Around two-thirds of our 1000 employees are IT professionals: analysts, programmers, system administrators, business analysts and quality assurance specialists, among others.
The rest of our team is made up of customer service agents, sales and marketing professionals, and administrative staff (accounting, finance, HR, etc.)
What positions do you have the most difficulty to fill?
M.-C. V. We are constantly in need of architects, developers and analysts. The competition in our industry is fierce; several companies are recruiting for the same positions. That isn’t to say we are facing a significant labor shortage, but it definitely contributes to a delay in filling the more specialized positions. This is why it’s important for us to have a strong employer brand.
Sales positions are equally difficult to fill. We don’t necessarily hire salespeople who have a background in IT, but having experience in product sales or IT services is definitely a plus!
What is it about ACCEO Solutions that makes employees like working there?
M.-C. V. We offer them the chance to work on projects that are interesting and stimulating. In the past two months, our company has completed three acquisitions, which clearly demonstrates our growth strategy. For our employees, this opens the possibility of being able to work on new products, enjoy a new culture and work with new clients.
We want our employees to feel that they have an opportunity to make a difference. It’s satisfying for our employees to know that they have participated in the development of a solution that is being used by thousands of users and important clients. In addition to the salaries and benefits that we offer, this is a significant source of motivation for them.
What kind of career path can an employee expect to follow at your company?
M.-C. V. We combine the flexibility of a small to medium-sized business with the good practices of a large company – this is really the biggest strength of ACCEO Solutions. The possibilities for advancement are many and they are accessible. For example, a developer can at any time consult the pay scale for their position, the career paths that are available to them and the competencies that are required in order for the employee to achieve their professional goals.
While it is the employee who is primarily responsible for their own development, it is our job as an employer to provide the opportunities and tools that the person will need to progress in their career. Continuing education is a large part of our culture, and is reflected by our Certificate of Quality for Training Initiatives (CQIF).
We employ three certified coaches who can accompany our employees along their desired career paths. Our company pays all tuition fees for our employees who choose to take university classes. As well, we contributed to the development of the first specialized course focusing on IT sales: the first iteration of the program was composed entirely of ACCEO Solutions salespeople. After that, the program was rolled out across Quebec and was very successful.
How would you describe the working environment at ACCEO Solutions?
M.-C. V. Our values – Quality, Integrity, Creativity, Respect and Responsibility – are more than five words on a poster. We strive to live up to these qualities every day.
Since 2009, we have organized an annual week of celebration to recognize our company’s core values through a variety of activities. For example, on Creativity Day, we asked our employees to demonstrate their ‘hidden talents’; we discovered that our employees are musicians, photographers, painters. For Integrity Day, we asked them how our Executive Committee could demonstrate their integrity. All of the responses we received are posted in our offices.
We focus on promoting an active management style and close interaction between directors and employees. We create opportunities to communicate with employees, whether at the annual company barbeque, our corn roast, or at the annual tour of company president Gilles Létourneau, at which time he presents the company’s financial results in a transparent way.
What are some of the essential qualities you look for in an employee?
M.-C. V. Above all, we are looking for people who are passionate, who want to be involved and who are capable of making a difference. In the IT industry, things move quickly. Innovation is part of our daily routine at ACCEO Solutions, and our employees must be able to constantly present cutting-edge solutions to problems. When presented with candidates of equal competence, we will always prefer the candidate who demonstrates passion, intellectual curiosity, and who fits in well with our workplace culture.
This is why our recruitment process includes meetings with managers and team members that the candidate will be working with. We are very transparent: we make sure to explain our goals to the candidate, so that the potential employee knows exactly what they are embarking upon and that they make a choice with their head and their heart. We want it to be a mutual decision: the employee chooses us as much as we choose them.
What advice would you give to a candidate who wants to apply at your company?
M.-C. V. Above all else, we are seeking candidates who are compatible with our core values. Therefore I would suggest that potential candidates first take the time to learn about our business, our company culture, our products and our technologies.
I would also tell them to be transparent and honest about their strengths and weaknesses: we are prepared to support someone in their career path and help them progress as long as we feel that they are truly interested in our company and our projects.
Name: ACCEO Solutions
Main activity sector: Digital Technology and Media
No. of employees: Close to 1000