How Montreal’s Moment Factory attracts and retains talent

Small business profiles Moment Factory

In the last 16 years, Moment Factory has created some of the world’s most talked-about multimedia and light shows, including: the recently lit Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal; stage shows for Madonna and Nine Inch nails, and the lighting design at the U Arena in Paris. But step into their Montreal head office — an industrial building — and you soon realize their greatest creation may just be their company culture. You might, for example, find staff playing pool or digging into organic, catered lunches in a light-filled, plant-draped cafeteria.

But making employees feel at home goes deeper than what catches the eye. We asked Émilie Faubert, Moment Factory’s human resources director, to let us in on how the ever-expanding company finds, entices, and retains highly skilled talent who also fit in seamlessly with the laidback, creative vibe.

Workopolis: How did the company get its start?

EF: In the 1990s, before the creation of Moment Factory, Sakchin Bessette and Dominic Audet were VJing at raves, clubs, and after-hours venues. Then in 2001, they galvanized their talents with the foundation of Moment Factory. Sakchin — or Saky, as he’s known — has a background in visual art and a passion for storytelling, so he became the studio’s creative director; Dominic’s audiovisual expertise and futuristic vision made him chief innovation officer. Both are driven by a desire to create experiences that inspire strong emotional responses, and their skills have given rise to some amazing multimedia entertainment.

When Moment Factory expanded in 2007, Éric Fournier joined the team as partner and executive producer, helping expand the studio’s horizons. Having been senior vice-president of new ventures at Cirque du Soleil and vice-president of strategic planning at Bombardier, he assumed the role of creative visionary, and looked for opportunities in new sectors. His savvy business manner has been instrumental in turning Moment Factory into an industry leader.

How has the company evolved from those early days?

Early projects with Cirque du Soleil introduced Moment Factory to the entertainment industry and to cities around the world. Later, a collaboration with Trent Reznor for Nine Inch Nails’ breakout “Lights in the Sky” tour in 2008 confirmed our innovative multimedia abilities.

From there, the company’s three partners have kept pushing the boundaries in multimedia and emerging art forms to create some of the most imaginative public experiences the world has ever seen.

How would you describe your company culture?

It’s extremely creative and innovative, with a focus on delivering ambitious projects. Our workplace hinges on collaboration, team spirit, inspiration, sharing, initiative, and curiosity. Our mission and philosophy are steeped in an inspiring and emotional experience. In a world that is increasingly individualistic, we use technology to bring people together.

How Montreal’s Moment Factory attracts and retains talentHow do you find talent that matches that philosophy and provides the skills needed to keep Moment Factory at the forefront of the industry?

We use social media and headhunters, and we participate in recruitment events and professional conferences. We’re able to reach a global network through our international offices. We rely on references as well as professional and student networks, and we attend college and university open-houses. That’s how we’ve managed to go from a staff of five in 2001, to a studio with 280 employees from 19 different countries, including Brazil, the U.K., Germany, Argentina, and Spain.

How do you test a candidate’s tech know-how and skills?

We assess applicant abilities through demo reels, portfolios, technical tests, and a multiple-interview process. This starts with a pre-screening of the applicant by leaders, followed by phone interviews and then one, or sometimes two, discovery interviews with the team the candidate is targeting.

And how do you determine if that person will also fit into the company culture?

Our interviews are relaxed explorations of professional experience, previous projects, life experience, and personal interests. Prior to being offered a position, applicants meet several team members and leaders to make sure their personality is a good fit and that new team members will be integrated smoothly.

What are your strategies for attracting and retaining talent?

We showcase innovative, creative projects on social media, and make sure we’re represented at multimedia industry recruitment events. We use headhunters and we partner with educational institutions like colleges and universities. We offer a dynamic, organic, and open workflow with innovative and multidisciplinary positions as well as network development through our global offices. There are opportunities for promotions and international travel.

On top of that, we offer employee benefits and emphasize social life with happy hours, cultural activities, sports, and annual parties. Employees can decorate their workspace, and our on-site café serves delicious and healthy food by our caterer, CatKitchen, who cooks up three-meal menus daily. And we have flexible working hours to accommodate families.

How do you ensure your team members stay creative and engaged?

We consider any and all ideas and contributions; our projects are always innovative and unique; and we never do the same thing twice, which stimulates engagement and encourages our employees to push their limits. To enhance focus, we have productivity mornings twice a week with complete silence throughout the studio. Employees have access to creation and innovation spaces (black box, interactive protoroom, library), and the open workspace encourages sharing.

What are some additional perks for people considering a job with Moment Factory?

They’d be creating projects that make use of technology to bring people together and inspire them to experience strong emotions — our employees have a tangible impact on contemporary society. You become part of a growing team and work with driven, smart, and talented people. Learning is constant and there are infinite opportunities for innovation. Staff have access to the most cutting-edge technology, travel through international projects, and are exposed to a multicultural environment with language classes available. And because Moment Factory thrives on innovation, there’s respect for ideas—and the right to fail.

See also:
How Wattpad hires amazing talent
How Shopify finds and fosters talent

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