Former Generation5 employees are not immune to change; in fact, we’ve become expert at it. Although Generation5 has been around nearly twenty years, we’ve experienced a variety of owners, leaders and visions. With our acquisition by Environics Analytics, Gen5 staff members are in the midst of change again, but this time the scene is a little different. For one thing, we’re now part of a company that already understands the importance of data, demographics and analytics. And the executives seem to like to hire people who reflect a variety of skill sets, ages and experiences—and there are plenty of them. “It was amazing when I walked in and saw so many young professionals,” says Jeff Li, a Senior Statistician. “But then all of a sudden it hit me. Seventy more names to remember.”
Although Gen5’s last office location was also downtown, no two environments are the same. The Environics Analytics office is brimming with people and all the ephemera that fill work stations and cubicles. On first entering the office, the team realized it would be a tight fit. But past experience working in a spacious environment with few people also had its challenges. Our previous workspace was so spacious that people could spread out and work quite independently of each other, leaving interaction with others as a choice. Martin Mak and Margarita Izuymaska, both Senior Statisticians, shared an office but had large desks divided by a spacious cubicle. Martin now shares a crowded workspace with four of his Generation5 colleagues and has more opportunity to interact with others. “The workspace is narrow but the great thing is that the communication among people is more direct,” he says. “Sometimes we use less email, so we can communicate a bit faster.”
Working in such close quarters is quite a change for Margarita, yet she is thrilled about having the chance to practice “talking” to others. A recent immigrant from Israel, she speaks both fluent Russian and Hebrew, but is always seeking ways to enhance her English. She now has the opportunity to communicate more spontaneously with co-workers and hone her English skills with a large pool of colleagues.
People at EA are different. For instance, they come in many more shapes and sizes than the Gen5ers are accustomed to. Some are young, or at least they seem young to those Gen5ers who have graduated to “top-tier age bands”, as Statistics Canada so eloquently phrases it. And some are female. Historically, Generation5 attracted a more male-dominated workforce, and Margarita and I find it a welcome pleasure to mix with other women, check out their office fashion and get chatty with “the girls”. Does anyone here have any nail polisher remover?
And for many of us who use the TTC or Go Train services, the shorter morning commute is a welcome change. Sean Bourque, a GIS Analyst, travels on the Go Train from Mississauga, and he appreciates the timeliness of the move as the EA office is just steps from transit. “It’s December and the commuting is sweet,” he observes. “Good-bye to heavy snow boots and no more walking twenty minutes to the office in the freezing cold.”
Of course, we’re still working out all the logistics and blending into the Environics Analytics mix—from learning new technology and hardware to signing up for company benefits, phone numbers, online access and more social functions than we can keep track of in the Outlook Calendar. As time passes, Generation5 roles will continue to evolve as we bring our ”sweet spot” of expertise into the Environics Analytics suite of products, processes and services to make the business even better. Change is good. It’s confusing and complicated, yet revitalizing and refreshing. Maybe it was time for another change. In any event, now it’s time for the Generation5 team to make this latest change fun and rewarding.-------------------------------