Kraft Heinz Canada's VP, HR: 'We believe in feeding a person's whole self'

Kraft Heinz Canada's VP, HR, on supporting Olympics' Team Canada

Kraft Heinz Canada's VP, HR: 'We believe in feeding a person's whole self'

As an official supporter of Team Canada’s Olympic team, Kraft Heinz Canada is about as patriotic as they come. One of the nation’s most recognisable brands, Kraft Heinz Canada announced a four-year Official Supporter partnership ahead of the Tokyo Games and running through the Paris 2024 event.

HRD spoke to Av Maharaj, chief administrative officer, VP, legal, corporate affairs & HR at Kraft Heinz Canada, on what makes the organization so unique and how Canadian values have taken centre stage since the pandemic.

“At Kraft Heinz Canada, we really believe in feeding a person's whole self,” he told HRD. “That means not only their bellies, but their souls. Part of that in Canada is to ensure that children of all ages have places where they can have fun. We support projects like Kraft Hockeyville, where we’ve helped over 100 communities improve their hockey arenas. We also launched Project Pantry in response to the pandemic, which is a five-year, $20-million food donation partnership with Food Banks Canada. These programs really are a natural extension of who we are. We have been in Canada for over 100 years – we’re part of the Canadian fabric - so we're really, really happy to be part of the Canadian Olympic experience.”

Values at Kraft Heinz Canada take on a distinctly Canadian vibe. A big believer in diversity and inclusion, events of the past few months have only solidified their commitment. A recent survey from Vancouver’s Police Department highlighted a 717% increase in anti-Asian hate crime. What’s more, a recent study from the Angus Reid Institute found that 58% of Asian Canadians have experienced discrimination over the past 12 months – something that doesn’t fly at Kraft Heinz Canada.

“Diversity and inclusion are a huge priority for us, especially in light of what has happened around the globe, and some of the tragic events here in North America,” continued Maharaj. “Here, we believe everybody should bring their authentic selves to work – and so we participate in things like Pride Month, we make sure we’re talking about and taking action to support Black Lives Matter, we have partnerships with organizations that support people with disabilities and we respond to issues related to Indigenous people in Canada. These issues are near and dear to our heart, because we want to reflect the communities we serve. That’s one of our goals - to make sure that our employee population looks like our communities.”

As employers and employees accustomed themselves to remote work in the pandemic, recognising the hard work of your teams became even more important. Maharaj revealed that Kraft Heinz Canada launched Project Thank You during the pandemic as a way of rewarding their dedicated teams.

“This was a series of events throughout the year – such as buying everyone dinner or giving people more time off or sending out quirky team t-shirts,” he told HRD. “The idea for Project Thank You originally came from our sales team. From there, our president was incredibly enthusiastic, and our HR department were all hands on in rolling it out.”

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