The Dalton family has a long history of doing business in Eastern Ontario. In the 1800s, they ran Dalton and Strange, a wholesale distributor that sold hardware, farm implements and sporting goods out of a three-storey brick building. Decades later, the descendants of those entrepreneurs operate Daltco Electric, a 50-employee wholesale electrical distributor headquartered in Kingston, Ont., that supplies electrical contractors, manufacturing facilities and government institutions.
Daltco Electric was founded in 1977 by John Dalton and is now run by his son Peter, who credits the company’s enduring success to its strong pool of employees—who are not always easy to find. So the firm cultivates its team by seeking recruits in college; Daltco offers students the opportunity to participate in eight-month paid work placements. “It makes us able to both mentor and build loyalty with students well before they graduate,” Peter explains. Students are encouraged to join the program with the offer of a $1,000 starting bonus and additional $500 bonuses at three and six months into their placements. (That’s on top of—not a surrogate for—salaries.)
These are nice perks, but Peter Dalton knows it takes more than money to win employees’ hearts and minds. “The most effective way to get people committed to what you do is to ensure they feel valued by their employer,” he explains. To that end, he and his leadership team consistently aim to link the work each employee does to the overall corporate strategy—which is, in itself, developed and refined in concert with people on the payroll. This, says Peter, “ensures buy-in at all levels.” And, in his experience, it’s He’s found it’s the best way to ensure a strategy will actually be executed: “The employee base as a whole must believe they are stakeholders in the goal.”
And what exactly is that goal? The Daltco team has opted to make its aim not just to grow sales but to do so profitably. “By strategically targeting what will have the most growth, and flawlessly executing on customer deliverables with recognizable diligence,” he says, “you ensure success.”