WestJet Airlines employee
Chosen as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and Alberta's Top Employers for 2013:
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors
(Oct 9, 2012)
Some of the reasons why WestJet
was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013
- a great corporate citizen, the company and its employees manage a highly focused charitable program through and in-house "Community Investment Team" -- supporting numerous initiatives every year and donating over 4,790 flights to charitable initiatives last year
- unique physical workplace which includes a variety of onsite amenities such as a fitness facility with free membership, cafeteria with healthy menus, lounge with television and video games, and nap room for employees who need a quick break during the day
- offers employees discounted airfare anywhere the airline flies, including standby travel discounts, 50 percent discounts on booked flights and even discounted passes for friends and family
- encourages ongoing employee development with subsidies for professional accreditation, in-house apprenticeship programs, career planning services, and an online skills inventory
- has a longstanding program to create an ownership culture with generous generous matching share purchase contributions as part of the employee share purchase plan
WestJet Airlines Ltd. is one of Canada's leading passenger airlines offering scheduled service to 71 destinations across North America and the Caribbean.
Founded in 1996, the airline has grown steadily and is widely recognized for pioneering low-cost (but maintaining great service) flying in Canada. In what has been a challenging decade for many airlines, WestJet has continually expanded its scheduled routes, fleet size and employee count with over 8,000 full- and part-time employees.
Industry: Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation.
Major Canadian hiring locations: Yellowknife NT, Abbotsford BC, Comox BC, Kamloops BC, Kelowna BC, Prince George BC, Vancouver BC, Victoria BC, Calgary AB, Edmonton AB, Fort McMurray AB, Grande Prairie AB, Regina SK, Saskatoon SK, Winnipeg MB, Thunder Bay ON, Ottawa ON, Hamilton ON, Toronto ON, Kitchener ON, London ON, Windsor ON, Montréal QC, Québec QC, Moncton NB, Saint John NB, Sydney NS, St. John's NL, Deer Lake NL, Charlottetown PE.
Stock symbol: WJA-T.
Revenues: $2,607 million.
Full-time at this location: 5,114.
Full-time employees in Canada: 5,806.
New jobs created in Canada last year: 332.
Part-time employees in Canada: 2,777.
Number of applications received at this location last year: 63,000.
Average age of all employees: 38.3.
Longest serving employee: 17 years.
WestJet's physical workplace is rated as exceptional. The company's new head office (called the WestJet Campus) was completed in 2009 and is home to over 1,100 WestJet employees. Impressively, employee feedback was sought during the planning and design stages through detailed interviews and survey questionnaires that captured employee feedback on everything from size to building amenities to the most comfortable office chairs. Today, employees enjoy an onsite fitness facility (with free memberships, treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing machines, individual television on each machine with iPod hook-ups, weights, basketball court, shower facilities, and instructor-led classes such as yoga and core conditioning); employee lounge (including lounge areas on every floor with varying amenities, including music, television, video games, and board games); nap room; onsite cafeteria (with healthy menus); outdoor eating areas with barbeque; onsite Sunterra Market (with a salad bar, pizza oven, deli and bakery, and no deep fryers with all food is prepared onsite); a Starbucks; secure bicycle parking; transit subsidies; free parking; free hourly shuttle to Calgary International Airport; valet dry-cleaning service; onsite bank.
Work Atmosphere & Communications
WestJet's work atmosphere is rated as exceptional. On the job, and depending on their position, employees enjoy business casual dress; casual dress daily; can listen to music while working; employee sports teams; organized social events. The social committee (called the CARE Team) organizes a variety of free and company-subsidized events for employees and their families throughout the year, including separate holiday parties at Christmas for children and adults, an art gala celebrating employees' art submissions, a winter ski day, family skating at Calgary's Olympic Oval, an annual Fall Fair, summer baseball and golf tournaments and a summer family barbeque. Employees can also provide feedback and are kept informed about new company developments through a company newsletter; corporate intranet site; email suggestion box.
Financial Benefits & Compensation
WestJet's financial benefits are rated as very good. To keep salaries competitive the company participates in outside salary surveys every 12 months. Individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months. In addition to competitive compensation, employee can also take advantage of share-purchase plan for all employees; profit-sharing plan for all employees; signing bonuses for some employees; life & disability insurance; retirement planning assistance; year-end bonuses for some employees; and vendor discounts for employees. Employees also receive discounted airfare anywhere WestJet flies. Employees can take advantage of standby travel discounts, 50% discounts on up to eight pre-booked flights each year, discounts on interairline travel, and share up to eight "buddy passes" with friends and family each year. The company's generous matching share purchase contribution are part of the formal "Employee Share Purchase Plan". The voluntary program lets employees receive up to 20% of their gross regular earnings in WestJet shares with a 100% company match.
Health & Family-Friendly Benefits
WestJet's health and family benefits are rated as average. The company's health plan is managed by Sun Life Financial As part of the health plan, the employer pays 70% of the premiums. The health plan is a flexible plan with adjustable premiums and coverage levels. Employees who work 25 hours per week receive coverage. The maximum waiting period for new employees is 90 days. The basic plan includes routine dental; eyecare ($250 every 2 years); traditional medicine coverage; alternative medicine coverage; fertility treatment medications; employee assistance (EAP) plan; medical equipment and supplies; physiotherapy; massage therapy; homecare; travel insurance. As part of the flexible plan, employees may transfer any unused health credits into a heath-spending account for additional coverages or withdraw and take as taxable income. WestJet's family friendly benefits include; maternity top-up payments (to 66% of salary for 8 weeks); health benefits during maternity and parental leave; flexible working hours; and discounted airfare for family members.
Vacation & Personal Time-Off
WestJet's vacation and personal time-off are rated as average. New employees receive 2 weeks of vacation allowance after their first year. Vacation increases after 3 years on the job. Long-serving employees receive a maximum of 4 weeks of vacation each year.
WestJet's employee engagement program is rated as very good. Employees receive individual performance reviews every 12 months. Managers receive training in how to conduct effective performance reviews. Performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work. As part of the review process employees can provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance. Exit interviews are provided for departing employees; WestJet sponsors its own in-house employee satisfaction survey. (Surveys are conducted every 12 months); WestJet hires an outside consultant to conduct confidential employee satisfaction and engagement surveys. (These surveys are held every 24 months).
Training & Skills Development
WestJet's training and skills development program is rated as average. The company supports ongoing training and development with subsidies for professional accreditations; in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; formal mentoring program; career planning services; in-house training programs; online training programs; online employee skills inventory.
WestJet's community involvement program is rated as above-average. The company and its employees support numerous charitable organizations through two signature programs, the "WestJetters Caring for Our Community" and the "WestJet Cares for Kids" programs. Employees take part in the selection of charitable groups assisted each year. Employees receive paid time off to volunteer with their favourite charitable organizations. Approximately 850 charitable and community organizations were supported last year. The company's also has a unique "Community Investment Team" that oversees the firm's primary charitable programs and through the "Caring for Our Community" program employees are encouraged to donate their time, talents and passion to initiative in their communities. Last year, the Team introduced the "WestJet Hero Holiday" initiative that sent 50 employees (and their families) to the Dominican Republic to volunteer for 10 days building homes for five families in need. And, through the popular "WestJet Cares for Kids" program, the company also donates flights to community-based and charitable organizations -- donating over 4,790 single flights to charitable partner groups last year.
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