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C3 Solutions recognized as one of Montreal’s Top Employers for 2024

It’s a tight-knit tech family at C3 Solutions

C3 Solutions Inc. brand designer Annie Ngo began her association with the company as a freelancer contracted to design the Montréal firm’s recruitment brochure. Learning about C3’s people, benefits and workplace culture, Ngo recalls, her first thought was, “Why am I not working there?”

And in 2019, when Élise Crevier, now C3’s president, asked Ngo to become the company’s full-time brand designer, she didn’t hesitate. C3 had much that was appealing, from its top-of-the-line yard management and dock scheduling software to the employee input into the company’s community engagement. But it was the workplace culture, says Ngo, that was, and remains, the most compelling reason to join.

It’s a very tight-knit group that at the same time is welcoming to newcomers,” she says. “There is a trust and recognition for your work from everyone, which sounds small and like something that should be automatic, but it isn’t in a lot of places. One of the things I value most about my four years at C3 is the opportunity to grow together with my colleagues. You realize you’ve become part of a really big family.

C3 isn’t an actual family-owned business, but “family” is a word Crevier, who jokes she was “born at C3,” consistently uses to describe it. She recently became the 12th current C3 employee – more than a fifth of the workforce – to celebrate her 20th anniversary at a company not yet 24 years old.

That is rare in the tech sector,” the president says. “What set us apart from the beginning was building a family culture, taking care of our people, being there for one another in difficult situations, and really loving them for their contribution.”

The family care goes well beyond C3’s custom of eating meals together or its on-site gym and “boot camps,” as Crevier calls the “mix of wellness activity and simultaneous team building” held there three times a week. A more crucial element in supporting the family ethos, according to Crevier, is combining a non-hierarchical structure with abundant opportunity – a major factor in retaining long-term employees within a relatively small organization.

We are pretty flat as an organization,” Crevier says. “We focus most on our people’s interests – what they like and where they’re strong – and on developing them, so people easily move between positions and assignments. As our business evolves, we make sure to put the right person in the right seat. We are opportunistic that way, the best possible way.”

The flip side of that approach, she continues, is to be sure that new employees fit the family and its values. “When we hire people, we need to feel that they’re not just there to work and have a paycheque, but to collaborate and support others and live our culture. We have turned down highly qualified people for that reason, that they didn’t fit in,” says Crevier. “We are not looking for homogeneity – we value diversity – but there has to be an alignment of values.

Ngo believes that alignment and the camaraderie it builds is C3 in a nutshell, evident to her in and out of the office. “When we go out after work, nobody talks about the office, they talk about their lives and interests,” says Ngo, “which says a lot about how stress-free the workplace is.”

This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year’s Montreal’s Top Employers winners, published February 27, 2024 in the Montreal Gazette. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which reviewed but did not write its contents.