2024 Best Workplaces™ for Mental Wellness are here | Learn more

Spotlight on a Company that’s Clearly Hitting its Stride – Smart Dolphins

 Spotlight on a Company that’s Clearly Hitting its Stride – Smart Dolphins


The last year has completely redefined the way teams communicate and work. Remote work used to be offered by some companies as a way to facilitate a flexible lifestyle for their employees, it has now become the norm for most businesses. While this transition has been more difficult for some than others, many have learned that remote work does, in fact, work.

With great attention and care, Smart Dolphins IT Solutions, a Vancouver Island organization helping businesses efficiently and securely harness the power of technology, has itself implemented a hugely successful, fully remote workplace for all. And with multiple wins on our Best Workplaces™ lists, including ranking 15th on this year’s highly competitive Best Workplaces in Canada™ list, it’s no wonder they’ve grabbed our attention, here at Great Place to Work®.

Embracing Remote Work

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020, Smart Dolphins IT Solutions, found itself having to nimbly shift focus. Much of that was centred around moving nearly 90 per cent of clients and their staff to working remotely in a short period of time.

“Last year was the most intense time in Smart Dolphins history,” shared Jesse Smith, Chief Operating Officer. “We found ourselves busy setting up remote technology, but also connecting with clients to ensure they understood not only their options in the work-from-home migration, but also managed risks and execution plans; it was an amazing transformation to be a part of.”

Agility and innovation, which had been foundational to this team’s earlier accomplishments, were now put to the test. Smart Dolphins harnessed these capabilities for exponential success. The company effectively rolled out new tools and supported their client’s critical functions not only with technology but with their knowledge and specific expertise; enabling clients to work from anywhere. Staying close to their clients and ensuring they met the diversity of needs was key to the successful outcomes experienced.

“Despite the intensity, it was a rewarding experience,” added Smith.

Finding meaning in work is key to strong effective teams in great workplaces. For Smart Dolphins, meaning came into even sharper focus. This team they felt more client appreciation than ever before. As they truly partnered with clients to ensure business continuity. For Smart Dolphins, the work from home migration was illuminating and it demonstrated how rewarding it is to work daily with a highly competent team. It’s no wonder that when we asked the Smart Dolphins’ team some key questions about their experience at work, here’s a snapshot of what they told us.

• 98% agree they have tremendous pride in the organization and their contribution to its work.

• 100% agree that when taking everything in to account, Smart Dolphins is a great place to work.

Community and Innovation

We’ve written before about how companies give back, but this is different. It’s more than just choosing a charity and sending money, which by the way, is a good thing. More companies should do it. But by being a little more creative, some businesses are giving back while playing to their strengths, just like Smart Dolphins. At the onset of the pandemic, they noticed just how hard hit some of businesses in their local community were and wasted little time in implementing a highly impactful program to support them. By offering free training services, they were able to help other companies regain a little control in a situation none of us had any experience in.

Committed to sharing their expertise and lifting other businesses up, they quickly realized they had a great network of contacts who could also participate in mass knowledge sharing and thus, Island Thrive, a podcast bringing insightful and engaging conversations with Vancouver Island Business and Community Leaders was born.

Companies that give back endear themselves to their communities—and to their employees. Helping people in need should be seen as an opportunity, not a burden. It can motivate employees, giving people a purpose and something to be proud to be a part of. Like Smart Dolphins, you can help others in your own unique way.

President Dave Monahan, shares his perspective taking challenges and creating opportunities, “ The technology training competency isn’t a natural complement to the inner workings of a typical IT company, it’s a bit of a different beast. When COVID-19 hit and the rush to work from home started, the value of training became obvious and I could see that my peers in the MSP industry struggled to build this capability quickly. Our community focus aligned with our willingness to innovate and resulted in “PoplarMSP,” a new business which provides outsourced training exclusively to MSPs throughout North America. It’s early days for the business unit, but we are enjoying some initial success.”

Core Values

Smart Dolphins lives by three core values that are followed closely and repeated like a mantra.

Love Your Dolphin Life, Elevate the Team and Find a Better Way.

“Smart Dolphins is a rare place. Everybody here absolutely loves their jobs, the company, and the atmosphere. I must constantly remind myself not to take it for granted, because it’s a rare thing for someone to be able to wake up every day and go to a place that is more fun than work a good portion of the time. We work hard of course, but we are invested because we all feel like we are building something great and love where the company is going,” said Jesse Smith.

At Great Place to Work, we frequently talk about how employees want to work in a workplace that shares their values. They want their overall work culture to promote being a part of a whole system that is much bigger than themselves. They experience motivation and engagement when their workplace exhibits their most important core values. Never underestimate the power of core values in creating a motivating work environment.

At Smart Dolphins, employees feel completely aligned to the company’s values, mission, and vision. They love where they work and are excited to see what’s next for this innovative, entrepreneurial, collaborative workplace.

And we can’t wait either!

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.

Lauren O'Donnell
Want to elevate your workplace culture?

Sign up to get the latest tips, insights and blogs from the global authority in company culture.


Get the latest Great Place to Work® Insights delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign Up