By Erin Dunsmuir

At SW&A, we think a little differently about employee engagement. We call our approach “Spirit of 32” and this blog series chronicles our journey. We share what we’re learning along with resources you can leverage. We’ll be your test bed so if you have ideas, please let us know.

What makes a company a Great Place to Work?  There are the basics, of course, like the environment, the people, and a pay cheque at the end of the day.  But what are the special touches that truly make a difference to employee engagement and lead to attracting and retaining the very best talent? For us at Sklar Wilton & Associates, that comes down to the “Spirit of 32” or “S32”.

SW&A was recently honoured with certification and a first place prize as a Great Place to Work™ in Canada.  Those of us who work here are not the least bit surprised!  We are privileged to work for a company that takes a holistic approach to engagement that includes always looking above and beyond for ways to offer whole person development, both personal and professional, to enhance body, mind, and spirit.

To be more specific, here are just a few of the things we’ve done recently:

eagle stretch
Daily Movement Challenge: Amber demonstrating the Eagle Stretch


  • Free nutritious snacks available in the lunch room 
  • Daily movement challenges and occasional yoga classes 
  • Naturopath lunch and learns about topics such as digestive health, sleep, and natural remedies


  • Mental health seminar with a Psychologist
  • Memory improvement tips and techniques
  • Building good habits workshop (start the habit of flossing by flossing 1 tooth per day at first!)


Workshop on Creativity: A happy plasticine boater made by Sarah
  • Workshop on Mindfulness
  • Workshop on Creativity 
  • Workshop on Emotional Intelligence

Throughout the years, Spirit 32 has become an integral component of the fabric of SW&A. It’s so important to every employee that in our annual Engagement Survey: 

  • 89% agreed that SW&A’s Spirit 32 initiatives contribute to feeling engaged and fulfilled, both professionally and personally, and
  • 100% agreed that SW&A is a great place to work.

In fact, one of the unique elements of SW&A’s S32 program is that it brings positive energy to our personal lives as well.  As one colleague wrote in their engagement survey, “Mindfulness has been life-changing for me. There’s no doubt that I’m a better mom because of it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for caring so much about me as a whole person”.

We keep looking for ways to enhance whole person development and love swapping ideas with others who are as passionate about engagement as we are.  Here are a few links to some experts and programs that we have appreciated and found inspiring on our journey. 

  • Brene Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston who studies vulnerability, courage, and worthiness
  • The Potential Project, which offers customized, organizational effectiveness programs based on mindfulness
  • Corporate Athlete, which helps people expand their energy capacity for improved performance and resilience

Take a peek at some of our other S32 programs in our past blog posts: