Waterloo’s Blackberry, the company that was founded by former UWaterloo student Mike Lazaridis and one of UW’s co-op program employers, is on Newsweek’s America’s Most Loved Workplaces 2021 list. The list comes out each October and features the top 100 companies that are recognized for employee happiness and satisfaction.
This year, Newsweek’s list was produced in collaboration with the Best Practice Institute (BPI) — an independent research-based think tank that aims to recognize exceptional leadership, talent and management. The list was based on a survey of more than 800,000 employees from American firms as well as overseas companies with a strong presence in the United States.
The Most Loved Workplace criteria were based on employee feelings of inclusion and respect, the company’s alignment with the personal values of the employees who work there, the company’s support in achieving results, and a positive vision for continuous improvement.
To make the final list, companies on the list also had to demonstrate a commitment to teamwork, collaboration, diversity and transparency, provide ample opportunities for employee advancement and career-building and be a good corporate citizen.
After the initial survey, Newsweek evaluated, scored and ranked each of the companies. For the Newsweek ranking, 35 per cent of the initial score was based on employee survey responses, 25 per cent was obtained from an analysis of external public ratings from sites such as Comparably, Careerbliss, Glassdoor, Indeed and Google, and 40 per cent of the initial score came from direct interviews with and written responses from company officials.
Newsweek then conducted additional research on every company that made the list as well as the runners-up before confirming the final 100 most loved workplaces — companies whose employees have an overwhelmingly positive feeling about their employer.
Blackberry has ranked at 50 in the list. On Oct. 25, 2021, Blackberry put out a press release acknowledging that it was featured in the Most Loved Workplaces List for 2021 and that the company is proud to be recognized for this achievement.
Newsweek highlighted Blackberry’s new software mission, which has connected employees and executives better than ever before, calling the company a “big teamwork place.”
Victoria Salim, an Account Manager with UW’s Co-operative Education & Experiential Education program, works with Blackberry on a regular basis to recruit co-op students. She confirmed that Blackberry has participated in UW’s co-op program for the past twenty years or so, making students a huge part of BlackBerry’s growth and development.
Salim said her role as an Account Manager is to create a strong employer experience and build a relationship between the employer and UW, helping the employer with their recruitment strategy.
Blackberry usually employs anywhere between 35 and 75 students each term, hiring from all faculties, reported Salim. She said that the two programs from which Blackberry recruits the most students are Computer Engineering and Computer Science.
Salim noted that Blackberry hires UW co-op students for a variety of different roles, including “Software Test Development Student, Security Development Student, CoreOS Test Team, Engineering Release Team Student, Data Scientist Student and UX Designer Student.”
According to Salim, students have given her overwhelmingly positive feedback about their co-op work terms at Blackberry.
“Students have rated their overall work term experience at Blackberry extremely high. UW students have expressed satisfaction in the opportunity to learn or develop new skills, the opportunity to make meaningful contributions and the employer support that is available to them,” Salim explained.
Salim also addressed UW’s awards for co-op employers — as the Co-operative and Experiential Education ( CEE ) Impact Awards. Blackberry got an Honourable Mention in 2020 for its Impact on Student Experience in UW’s CEE Impact Awards.
“[The CEE] award program identifies employers who have made a demonstrated impact within their field and with our UW co-op students. The objectives of these awards are to reward our employers for the mentorship, learning and experiences they provide for UW co-op students and to award those UW employers that exemplify industry excellence,” Salim explained.
Blackberry, for its part, is actively recruiting co-op and intern students and has a special web page set up to attract student talent with an eye-catching headline that says “Start Your Career with Blackberry, Find Opportunities Outside the Classroom.”
“This is not a ‘summer job’ kind of place. You will work hard, you will be challenged and you will gain valuable experience with other super-smart, highly motivated classmates…If you’re looking for the next great thing and aren’t afraid to be put to the test, you will have an incredibly rich and rewarding experience at BlackBerry,” the statement on the Student Careers web page reads.