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If there is any question about what’s happening at Mitel these days, Billie Hartless, the company’s chief human resources officer, summed it up this way:

“Yeah, we’re growing!”

She went on to say:

“We are investing in our future. We are bringing on talent globally, including Ottawa, which continues to be a critical site for us. So much so that last year we invested in a new office space in Kanata.”

Circumstances may have prevented the local team from yet taking advantage of this new space, but it’s still full steam ahead. 

Billie Hartless

Mitel – one of the most venerable names in the Ottawa tech community – announced three years ago a $2-billion acquisition deal with Searchlight Capital Partners that took it private. The move was meant to help accelerate Mitel’s cloud strategy and drive its growth with Searchlight’s financial resources.

The pandemic has proven to be a shot of gasoline onto that fire with the mass shift to remote working.

“What the pandemic has really illustrated to us in unified communications is that collaboration is critical,” Hartless said. “Our industry is pretty hot right now.”

As a result, a local full-time workforce of about 500 has around three dozen positions open, in areas that include cloud, big data and operations. Mitel is looking for analysts, engineers, coders and other specialists.  The Kanata operation is also home base for Mitel’s new chief financial officer, chief legal officer and a growing R&D centre.

The very same unified communications tools which Mitel markets to its global customer base eased its own transition to remote work.

“We have been fortunate,” Hartless said. “We haven’t had to furlough our workforce. We have been able to manage through the pandemic and keep our business running.”

The profound changes in the world of work haven’t only impacted Mitel’s business prospects, but also changed the company’s approach to hiring and team building. The past year has proven that building and managing great team doesn’t have to be limited by geography.

“From anywhere in the world we are going after the best talent – we are not limited to just people located in a specific physical location,” Hartless said.

Diversity in all its respects is central to Mitel’s HR practices, as well as being open to more flexible, part-time work. It’s all about tailoring the job and the candidate to each other. 

“We want to tap into a broader workforce for the future of work from a ‘job design’ perspective,” Hartless said. “As an employer, as long as staff are delivering extraordinary results, who cares how or where they work?”

– By Leo Valiquette

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