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Best Places to Work: Adopting a work hard, play hard mentality

Having fun is considered a core value for the team at Decisive Group


For employees at Decisive Group, work isn’t just about helping customers develop custom IT solutions or implementing cybersecurity services – it’s about having fun. 

Fostering close relationships between employees and infusing elements of playfulness into the culture is an important piece of the puzzle for Decisive, landing them a spot on Ottawa’s 2021 Best Places to Work. 

This balance of work and play is accomplished through team outings to sports games, shared meals and even the occasional Nerf gun battle in the office. 

“When I look at what’s been consistent this whole time, it’s really been the people who are our biggest strength,” says Clare Sullivan, vice-president of human resources. “We all spend so much of our lives at work, so if you can do what you love and can feel like you have the opportunity to bring your full self to work and feel supported…I think that for most people is the real sweet spot.”

While Decisive Group is a new name in the Ottawa market, the employees and the culture at the company have a longstanding history in the capital. 

A recent merger between Decisive Technologies and BriteSky Technologies spurred Decisive Group, streamlining its services. 

The sister companies – which fell under common ownership – traditionally worked closely together, but by bringing the two companies under one roof, clients now have a one-stop-shop for their digital transformation needs and employees have more opportunities to collaborate with team members. 

“We’re supporting our clients by providing the right technologies, with world class professional capabilities,” says CEO Mitchell Carkner. “We have a matrix approach when it comes to supporting our customers or tackling a tough internal problem. Having a supportive environment creates that customer focused magic.”

Decisive Group

Culture makes all the difference

Decisive currently sits at over 70 staff, and is continuing to grow – increasing the opportunity for collaboration and fun office activities. 

But, while the team likes to play hard, they also work hard. 

Employees are encouraged to collaborate and innovate, developing their professional skills. 


“We’re a technology company focused on enabling our engineers and developers,” says Carkner. “We deal with a ton of different technology partners or ‘toys’ and our engineers have the freedom to explore and improve their skills.”

Decisive supports multiple core values within the organization, including exceptional customer experience, supporting employees, customers and partners, as well as giving back to the community. 

Tanya Hall, vice-president of business alliances, has been with the company for 10 years, and sees the excitement within the team when the company takes on a charitable initiative. “The highlight for everybody is either the Back to School Day or the Christmas Day initiatives,” she says. 

On different occasions, the Decisive team has come together to supply schools with sneakers, backpacks, or household supplies for families in need. The supplies are purchased with funds donated by the staff through in-office events such as ice cream socials. 

Even throughout the pandemic, the team was committed to maintaining its workplace culture through safe socialization. 

With collaboration and fun being an integral part of Decisive, it was important that it didn’t fall to the wayside when employees were separated, adds Sullivan. 

“How people show up at work and what discretionary effort they give us is really the difference maker at our company,” she says. “Whenever they’re feeling really passionate about what they’re doing, then they’re more likely to feel comfortable looking for opportunities or figuring out how they can go the extra mile for our customers and for their team.”

This article originally appeared in OBJ’s fall newsmagazine. Check out the rest of the Best Places to Work winners below: