With today’s labor shortage affecting all industries, recruiting requires concerted effort, intentional action, and significant resources – especially if you want to attract top talent.

HR teams are getting creative: rolling out the red carpet to candidates and lavishing them with welcome gifts and sign-on bonuses. No effort is spared to recruit the ideal candidate.Yet, it begs the question: what about retaining these candidates once the fanfare has quieted and they’re settled into their new routine with your company?

In this article, I’ll go over the strategies that the PYXIS team has implemented that have helped us maintain a turnover rate significantly lower than the market average.

All Departments Must Be On The Front Lines Of Culture

First, I must say that HR, labor relations, human behavior, organizational transformation specialists, and agility specialists, to name a few, have been sharing best practices for years to create work environments that foster engagement and retention.

The resources are many: countless articles, videos, podcasts and training sessions exist on the subject. Despite all of this content available, a Mercer study announceda turnover rate of 20% in the IT field in 2020!

At PYXIS, our turnover rate is currently 5.5%, which is far from the average rate in the industry. Yet, our salaries are not quite at the top of the market and we don’t have the typical ping-pong tables, soccer tables, or work gyms. We rarely offer group activities either. This could be a sign that these incentives are not very effective in retaining employees in the long run. So, I looked into what we were doing that was so different. What I found made a significant impact on me.

It’s truly the culture of the company that keeps people around. Further, at PYXIS, Human Resources is not the only guardian of our culture.

What I’ve observed since joining PYXIS is that our company culture is largely driven by our CEO, a wise man who pushes us to be better humans – and gives us the keys we need to discover our latent strengths. He is a true guide who helps us move forward and to not be afraid of pitfalls or mistakes; someone who helps us get back up when we stumble.


Yes, at PYXIS, the foundation of our strong corporate culture is based on Yoda, the centuries-old Jedi Master.

In this spirit, I would like to present the main principles established by our HR department and supported by our very own Yoda, Martin Landreville, CEO of PYXIS. These are the principles that guide our actions and decisions throughout the year – I hope they will inspire you to revisit or establish your own.

Principle #1

Establish psychological safety

According to Martin Landreville, psychological safety is a prerequisite. It is the basis of any healthy and respectful relationship, regardless of the work environment.
It is a guarantee of innovation, richness of exchange and creativity.

  • Everyone should be able to feel included and have the right to be who they are.
  • Each person has a voice and can express themselves freely.
  • Our managers are not only sensitive to giving feedback, they are open to receiving
  • it from employees.
  • Employees are not afraid to challenge the status quo, and they don’t mind!

Easy to say, but not always easy to implement! Indeed, establishing psychological security within a team is a long-term task. And each new arrival can potentially challenge this balance.

Other factors, whether human, economic or organizational, can also have a significant impact. Therefore, we maintain a constant vigil to psychological safety. To do this, we meet with each employee every two to three weeks to check in with them, and open the door to this type of discussion.

Principle #2

Designate a Sherpa for every employee

Integrating a new company, team, or even organizational culture can be destabilizing, and the first few weeks can sometimes seem like a mountain to climb. Tha’s why my colleague Sarah-Catherine and I make it a point to provide our new colleagues with a positive experience.

We go beyond the traditional onboarding and the 3/3/3 (3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months) follow- up principle that is often recommended in our professional environment.

We are present every day for the first week, even when telecommuting, then once a week for the next four weeks and bi-monthly thereafter.

In addition, in collaboration with the team members, we have also set up a mentoring and coaching program for our new
colleagues. A sponsor is assigned to accompany each new employee for the first four weeks. Then, a Sherpa is assigned to the new employee to mentor and support them throughout their career at PYXIS.

As part of this program, several meetings and activities are organized and exchanges are encouraged. In partnership with the manager and HR, the Sherpas ensure:

  • To promote integration when an employee arrives.
  • That the employee feels welcome and cared for.
  • That he/she has at all times the necessary resources and tools to accomplish his/her work.
  • That during their career with us, employees acquire the knowledge and skills they need.
  • To encourage a climate that allows for open discussion of blocking elements.
  • Encourage employees to ask for help when needed.
  • Encourage knowledge sharing.

Principle #3

Promote work-life balance

On job postings, work-life balance messaging is frequently front and center. And, really, it’s true that today, a great many
companies now allow flexible working hours. So do we, but at PYXIS, we try to do even more!

As long as client and colleague communication is clear,each PYXIS staff member has the freedom to organize their work week according to their ideal schedule, without having to get approval from a manager. Yes, from the outset, we place a great deal of trust in our colleagues’ability to manage their time as they see fit. For example, it is not unusual for us to take a nap during the day to recharge our batteries. And, why not? An employee that enjoys agency during the day to day is ultimately more satisfied and more productive.

We also push our employees to take their allotted vacation time – we’re not about ‘hustle culture’ and chronic presenteeism – quite the contrary!

Our Health, Safety and Wellness Committee, in addition to promoting healthy lifestyle habits, are also very proactive in ensuring that our employees receive all the support they need.

Principe #4

Thou shalt recognize their contribution

The ability to recognize employee contribution is a learned skill which many upper management teams have not mastered. At PYXIS, it’s a must. Workplace recognition helps to do the following:

  • Reassure employees that they are on the right track and that their position is not at risk.
  • Show them that we are aware of the value they bring to the company.
  • Respond to their need to be useful and contribute.
  • Highlight all that the employee achieves, which leads them to want to surpass themselves and accept more complex challenges, etc.
  • Allow discussions around cross-cutting competencies and give us quantitative and qualitative elements when it comes time for contribution evaluations.

At PYXIS, we have eliminated traditional performance reviews to create a tool that addresses all objectives related to employee contribution – and that allows for regular exchanges between employees, managers and HR. Why do we need to do this? Because you can have contributed a lot without having performed well throughout the year, and it’s important to distinguish between the two!

Principle #5

Ensure a harassment-free work environment

At PYXIS, there are no free rides! Whether we are an employee, a consultant, a manager or a shareholder, we consider everyone equally in our interactions. Everyone must behave in a way that reflects our desire to ensure a workplace free of violence and harassment – or face consequences.

In addition to our prevention policy, which everyone must sign, training and awareness are offered to employees at all levels.

Principle #6

Hire inspirational managers

When it comes to filling a management position, we don’t necessarily hire people with diplomas – but those who care about people as much as they’d care about a profitable net margin! From our perspective, it’s all about balance: without the former, it’s difficult to achieve and maintain the latter.

At PYXIS, beyond certifications and leadership knowledge, it is essential to be able to demonstrate your skills as a mentor and coach. Furthermore, our team members are actively involved in the hiring process, and even have a say in the final decision! After all, they are the ones who will be working with their future colleague.

Principle #7

Provide employee training

It’s true that at PYXIS, we are very fortunate to have our own training department: Doceo.

Just like our clients, our employees have access to Doceo’s varied training catalog. But, beyond the possibility of providing training to our teams, we want to free up their time (billable!) so that they can learn, evolve and grow within the organization.

Principle #8

Set clear goals

There is truly nothing more anxiety-inducing than being in a position where you don’t know what is expected of you, where your role and responsibilities are not clearly established, and to which objectives you contribute! It can have a pretty significant impact on your well being.

At PYXIS, objectives are discussed and decided together, then established in the form of OKRs, or Objective Key Results. Exchanges are encouraged between teams and managers and we strive to manage everyone’s expectations through our contribution tool that replaces our traditional performance evaluation.

Principle #9

Implement diversity and inclusion

Working in an environment where psychological safety is a must and creativity is encouraged provides fertile ground for a thriving and productive team to grow. Based on our beliefs and values, at PYXIS, we make sure to offer our employees an equitable, welcoming, exemplary, inspiring and caring environment.

We know that inclusion goes beyond considering the uniqueness of each person or making sure they feel included in their team or the company, which is why we give our team members the opportunity to get involved beyond their job responsibilities, further fostering their sense of belonging.

In more concrete terms, this can mean, among other things, participation in various committees or interactive workshops that lead to the development of new programs or projects that appeal to them.

Principle #10

Thou shalt protect equity

Equity is a must for us!

We have turned down excellent candidates because their salary requirements would not allow us to look our employees in the eye when it came time to talk about salaries and raises.

Today, I am not afraid to explain to our employees where they are on our salary scale or what criteria we use to establish that scale.

And, as you now know, at PYXIS, a person’s contribution is not only based on the quality of their deliverables. Their involvement in the organization, the mentoring they provide to newcomers, their availability to help a colleague, their leadership, their ability to bring people together and much more are all elements that come into play when it comes to raises.

Yes, at PYXIS, individual equity is just as important as other forms of equity.

Principle #11

Listen to their needs

Each person is unique! And in order to respond to this uniqueness, we make it our duty to take into account the unique and individual needs of each person.

We will not hesitate to offer personalized support. For example, we accepted a special request that allowed a colleague to work part-time in the summer for several years, fulfilling his desire to be outside during the summer.

At PYXIS, this is our way of showing our talents that we are there to support them and that we are listening to their needs, their challenges and even their dreams.

Principle #12

Stay close to your people!

After more than 20 years in human resources, there is nothing more important and effective than reaching out to people, even if is only for 15 minutes at a time. Check in with them, get to know them! This is the key to building trust and a space where everyone can express themselves freely.

What never ceases to amaze me, even after all these years, is the richness of the conversations and information that is shared with me. In fact, these exchanges guide me which projects to prioritize or programs to initiate.

It is often said in the HR world that part of our job is to catch the balls before they fall. Well, it is thanks to these meetings that my colleague and I have been able to avoid departures that would have been made in silence, to help employees address crucial issues, to accompany people with more atypical profiles so that they can better integrate into the teams, to make managers aware of situations that could have gone unnoticed, and so on. All this without ever breaking the seal of confidentiality.

In my opinion, this is the secret of an excellent employee experience and an irresistible corporate culture: be close to your people!

Because it all starts with communication and a willingness to listen – really listen.