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Thoughts From the Best Employer in Canada’s Telecommunications Sector

Headquartered in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Xplornet Communications Inc. is one of Canada’s leading broadband service providers. With over 800 employees (over 500 of whom live and work in New Brunswick) and over 300,000 subscribers coast-to-coast, the company continues to see incredible growth both inside and outside of the province.

For over a decade, Xplornet has provided innovative broadband solutions to rural customers across Canada. Today, Xplornet offers voice and data communication services through its unique wireless and satellite broadband network.

Thanks in part to New Brunswick’s highly skilled tech workforce Xplornet was recently recognized by Forbes as the best employer in Canada’s telecommunications sector, the top ranked employer in all of Atlantic Canada, and twenty-fifth ranked in the country. Xplornet has also been nationally recognized in four of the last five years as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top Employers, and has been a Canadian Telecom Employer of Choice for three years in a row.

Award-winning companies like Xplornet contribute greatly to New Brunswick’s reputation as a home to world-class communications infrastructure.

ONB spoke to Allison Lenehan, President and CEO, to learn more.

ONB: First, congratulations on the recognition by Forbes. What makes Xplornet such a well-regarded employer?

Lenehan: Thank you. We certainly don’t seek out awards, but we are thrilled to be recognized. If you look at Forbes’ methodology you see this is not a company-endorsed award. This was an anonymous survey. Roughly 8,000 employees who were surveyed were consulted anonymously and asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own companies. We were not aware we had employees participating.

It really speaks to the quality of employees we’ve been able to find, both in New Brunswick and elsewhere. A company’s culture is its employees, and we’ve built a tremendous team at Xplornet. We try pretty hard to make our environment challenging; a place where people want to stay, refine their skillsets, and grow.

A company that manages to hire good people that are like-minded in terms of our company’s mission, and can offer real opportunities for career growth, will be regarded as a great company to work for. I think we’re pretty good at creating the right environment for people to grow and succeed.

ONB: The opportunity to grow and move into different roles is so important.

Lenehan: Absolutely. While we have people across the country, the company’s leadership is in New Brunswick. Our NB offices house not only our contact centre, but finance, sales, marketing, and a really strong engineering division. It is also home to our network operations team. They are the people operating the broadband network for all of Canada. Just about every functional area of the company is represented in New Brunswick.

ONB: You offer bilingual support as well, correct?

Lenehan: Yes, as a provider serving every province and territory it’s important to us to be able to serve customers in both official languages. New Brunswick offers a terrific starting point for a company looking to provide that bilingual service across Canada.

Those frontline contact centre employees have a wide assortment of skillsets. They’re not simply troubleshooting our product; they offer computer troubleshooting as well.

ONB: New Brunswick has a strong tech sector, so there’s no shortage of smart people here.

Lenehan: We think we have some pretty brilliant people on staff, no question. Like many of their peers in NB they are humble, despite working with some of the most state-of-the-art tech in our country’s telecommunications sector. I don’t think we New Brunswickers realize the talent we have in our own backyard. In order to deliver on our promise to serve rural Canadians with fast, affordable broadband, you have to be good at what you do, particularly in a competitive environment like ours.

Whether it’s been ONB or other areas of government, we have always felt very supported by the province. Crucially, your group has helped us with things like employee recruitment and retention.

That support has been consistent across governments, dating back to our earliest days when we were Barrett Xplore, which was in reference to the Barrett family in Woodstock. I was born and raised in Woodstock myself, so I’m a proud New Brunswicker living in Ontario. We have several employees like me outside the province that are native New Brunswickers. There are a number of us who have relocated but we still identify as New Brunswickers, and we are proud to work for a New Brunswick-based company. We all still feel very rooted to home, and that’s pretty powerful.

ONB: Finally, just as we were preparing for this chat the company announced some exciting news in Manitoba. Tell us about that.

Lenehan: We are continuing to build our wireless business across Canada by extending our wireless offerings to include mobile services in Manitoba. This new innovative network will be designed to give Manitoba customers the ability to connect at home or on the go using their preferred mobile devices.

Learn more: www.xplornet.com

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Cover image via Flickr Creative Commons