Part 1: How Giant Tiger Lives Its Brand

I luv GT

Zappos and Google often come to mind when asked to think about companies with great company cultures and employee engagement.

With my love of Leadership, HR and the World of Work I am always on the look out for companies that understand that investing in their employees and building a great culture is good business. With employee engagement at an all time low (I keep hearing and seeing polls that say 70% of today’s workforce is actively disengaged at work), employers need to understand that their employees are important for their success. A more engaged workforce leads to happier employees, less absenteeism, more productivity, and innovation, and in the end, a more profitable company.

I am fortunate enough to have discovered one such company here in Ottawa; Giant Tiger.

Giant Tiger is an all-Canadian family discount store for Fun Smart Savings.

Canadian owned and operated since the first Giant Tiger store opened in 1961 in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market, today the privately held company has more than 200 stores in 8 provinces across Canada and employs more than 7,000 people. The majority of stores are franchised, which makes each store unique.

Giant Tiger was selected one of the National Capital Region’s Top 10 employers, and was awarded with the 2013-14 Employee’s Choice Award, an employee-driven awards program sponsored by the Ottawa Business Journal, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Talentmap.

I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Marketing department and HR department to learn more about what makes Giant Tiger so special and how they get employee engagement right.

What do they do that is unique? They LIVE their brand. Giant Tiger believes in PAWS’itive action.

What is PAWS’itive action?

It is 4 practices that everyone in the company embraces:
• Be available
• Have the right attitude
• Recognize individuals
• Have fun!

These 4 practices are clear, concise and practiced in every store and their corporate headquarters:

All employees and managers are taught to make time to listen to one another and their customers. They also take action and do what they can to help each other.

They have fun and create an environment that inspires creativity. Giant Tiger lets their employees play. Isn’t that what creativity and innovation are all about?

They celebrate their employees’ accomplishments and they acknowledge their needs and help to develop them. They exemplify an attitude of gratitude.

They chose to have the right attitude. They own it and live it.

Giant Tiger believes in its employees. They continually explore ways to enrich their workplace with various initiatives. They are building on their strengths and look for ways to improve.

I feel inspired by all they do. When I see a company, such as Giant Tiger, doing all they can to create a great work environment, as a customer I feel proud to shop there and support them. In the end it is win-win for them.

Besides a high level of employee engagement, Giant Tiger also believes in developing the leaders and franchise owners of tomorrow. Stay tuned for my next post on their unique leadership development program.

I would love to hear from you about your positive experiences at work and with a great culture. Please comment below.

Yes, that’s me in the first photo. 🙂


Learn more about Giant Tiger and follow them here: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Chantal, I recently read a report where the disengaged number is 85%! Companies need to show their employees they care. It’s that simple. People want to be heard.

    A fun atmosphere seems to be a common denominator regarding great companies to work for.

    Zappos is one of my fave organizations. Did you know they asked employees to design the Employee Manual? Instead of the status quo boring manual, they created one based on cartoons. There’s a video on youtube describing the process.

    I hope you’ve got great Spring weather in your neck of the woods!

    • Thanks for your comment, Steve! A lot of great companies do incorporate fun into their cultures. Involving employees in processes and procedures is also important for employee engagement. Employees want to feel like they are heard and appreciated.

  2. Thanks for highlighting their culture, Chantal! Sounds like an engaging place for people to use their talents. Being in the flow of our work is some of the best work experiences we can have. Thanks! Jon

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