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It’s not always smooth gliding in the tech world, but one Kanata North company has found a chill way to engage its employees.

Spearheaded by Jaclyn Eisenmann, Syntronic’s business development manager, free skating lessons are being offered to staff, fostering not just skill development but also a stronger sense of community.

It started with a simple suggestion within the company’s social committee.

“One of the social committee members said, ‘hey, what if we did some skating?’ I don’t know how to skate, and I would love to learn’,'” Eisenmann said.

The idea resonated with her. She herself has a rich background in skating, teaching professionally for the City of Ottawa for 17 years. In fact, teaching skating is in her blood, as generations of her family have been getting people comfortable on skates. Eisenmann explains that her grandmother wrote a lot of the programming that the city still uses today.

“I was really happy to give something back to this company, I really love working here,” Eisenmann said.

Syntronic’s first session of skating lessons was for four weeks last fall. As soon as word went out, registration quickly filled, with 25 employees, many of whom had never skated before, signing up.

Safety and proper technique were paramount to the lesson, Eisenmann adds. She hosted an information session before participants even got on the ice to educate them about equipment and safety, ensuring a well-rounded learning experience. Helmets were mandatory, she highlighted.

The program was beyond successful, with all participants progressing in their skills, and some even enrolling for advanced lessons with the city.

A lasting impact

Eisenmann says the most significant impact of the initiative has been on community building within Syntronic, which aligns seamlessly with the Syntronic’s goals of fostering a positive workplace culture.

“People were meeting each other for the first time, bonding over doing something together. They were building new relationships, which was really nice too.”

The program was so successful, Syntronic is offering another session starting this month, and the company will rent its own patch of ice.

The skating program is just one aspect of Syntronic’s broader approach to employee engagement. Eisenmann mentioned other initiatives like break dancing classes and BYOT (Bring Your Own Toboggan) Tuesdays, which are part of the company’s efforts to create a fun, inclusive, and engaging workplace.

“We’re always trying to find really simple things to bring people together. It doesn’t cost people a lot except for a little bit of showing up and having fun,” Eisenmann noted, emphasizing the simplicity and inclusivity at the heart of these initiatives.

Written by Melanie Coulson

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