Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Access Communications Co-operative Ltd. was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017):
- In addition to 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance, Access Communications recognizes previous work experience when setting individual vacation entitlements for experienced candidates and provides 3 paid personal days off to help employees balance their work and personal lives
- Access Communications supports its new and adoptive moms with maternity leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for up to 17 weeks)
- Access Communications supports ongoing employee development with tuition subsidies and a variety of in-house training programs -- and offers the next generation opportunities to gain on-the-job experience through paid internships and co-op placements
Access Communications thrives on its family circle
If you're a home-grown little guy competing against telecommunications giants, you need some help to succeed. Carole Sauer says that's where Access Communications Co-operative Limited's extended family circle comes in.
"We treat everyone like we're all one big family -- our staff, our customers and our partners in the community are all part of the Access family," she says. "We're smaller, but we're able to be competitive with the resources we have because we have extremely dedicated staff."
Sauer, Manager, Human Resources and Safety, says the family circle approach makes customers and employees feel they're on the same team. And employees can count on long-term support.
"One of our core values along with our customer service is to stay employee-focused," she says. "That's for their entire employment cycle, from hire to retire."
Access Communications is a Saskatchewan-owned non-profit co-operative providing communications and entertainment services to 230 communities. It produces over 2,300 hours of programming annually. Anyone can pitch a show idea to Access7, the co-operative's community channel. When they do, the first person they see is Andee Mourlas -- likely with a big smile on his face.
"I'm the first face of Access7 for people coming in to discuss show ideas and I love it," says Mourlas, Community Programming Administrative Assistant. "I'm definitely about the happy vibe."
This happy vibe is helped by a comprehensive package of benefits, including tuition subsidies, three weeks of starting vacation for new employees and extended health coverage.
But for the self-described hi-tech aficionado, the clincher is the GIFT program that helps employees purchase technological equipment with interest-free payroll deductions.
"I'm a huge technology buff -- I love computers," he says. "With the GIFT program, I can basically pay off my computer and I don't even notice it."
Employees also have a huge say in how the co-operative is run. There are no managers at department planning sessions -- employees work with facilitators.
Volunteerism is deeply embedded in the family circle culture. Mourlas loves volunteering for TV Bingo, the biggest fundraiser for the Access Communications Children's Fund, which helps children and youth in need and at risk across Saskatchewan.
"You get to speak with the people who are calling in and they're so excited that they won," he says. "It really makes you feel good that you're contributing to it."
That level of excitement and commitment shines through to the customers. "What we hear from customers is our customer service is second to none," says Sauer. "Our culture and people are fundamental to our success."