Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 3, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Workers' Compensation Board of Alberta was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2016):
- Employees working at WCB Alberta's head office can take advantage of a variety of onsite amenities, including a cafeteria with healthy menus, a nap room, and fitness facility, which features free membership, instructor-led classes such as yoga and Zumba and shower facilities
- WCB Alberta provides a number of opportunities for the next generation to gain on-the-job experience, including summer student roles, co-op opportunities and paid internships
- In addition to the organization's health benefits plan, WCB Alberta employees may allocate $1,000 annually to either a non-taxable health spending account or a taxable wellness and lifestyle spending account, which can be used towards products and services that promote health and well-being, including sports classes and fitness equipment
Respect: The heart of WCB Alberta
When Alyce Crowe saw a job posting from the Alberta Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) in 2015, she'd already learned something about the organization as a contract employee in another firm's human resources department. "But I was on the employer side," says Crowe. "I didn't know anyone who worked here."
Deciding to apply for the position of Human Resources Coordinator, Crowe did some research to find out more about the WCB as an employer. "I heard overwhelmingly positive things about it," she says.
As a not-for-profit mutual insurance corporation, WCB provides coverage for occupational injuries and diseases and for the rehabilitation of workers injured on the job. With almost 1,700 employees, it's financed by contributions from 169,000 employers in Alberta, with a statutory mandate from the province.
Crowe joined a team of nine people in the WCB's HR Operations unit and assumed responsibilities involving recruitment, onboarding and other internal HR functions.
"People were really welcoming," she says. "I felt that I was an important part of the team as soon as I started. They asked about my previous experience, and they made me feel as if I had something to contribute."
The welcoming environment not only impressed Crowe but also confirmed that the WCB pays far more than lip service to the values emphasized in its employee handbook. "It actually puts its values into practice," she says.
Respect and relationships lie at the heart of the WCB's corporate objectives, and they influence its internal environment, as well. "Building relationships is one of our universal competencies that support our values as an organization," says Roxy Shulha-McKay, Vice President, Employee & Corporate Services. "These values shape our business."
The WCB works with injured clients with the goal of helping them to recover quickly and get back to work without jeopardizing their health. That involves building trust with clients so that they can return to work safely.
"All of us share a common sense of purpose," says Dayna Therien, Director of Corporate Communications. "It's clear to everyone why we're here: to help injured workers return to work."
The WCB places high expectations on its employees to achieve its objectives, Therien says. "But we also make sure they have the support for the work-life balance they need to excel at their jobs."
For Crowe, that means regular yoga sessions and after-work fitness classes. "I also appreciate having a great benefit plan and insurance coverage, even though I'm still in my twenties," she says. "It gives me peace of mind to know that I have security."
As a workplace insurance provider for workers and employers in the province, the WCB recognizes more than most employers the consequences of stress, and it encourages employees to lead balanced lives to minimize those consequences. "The health of our employees is critical to our success," says Shulha-McKay.
WCB offers flexible work schedules and encourages employees to take time away from work and participate in volunteer and social activities. "I was surprised when my manager said I should go to a yoga class during my lunch hour," Crowe says. "But we're encouraged to take the time to de-stress."
After 10 months on the job, Alyce Crowe still regards the WCB as "a breath of fresh air. My impressions started positive, and they've stayed positive," she says. "I know there's a honeymoon phase to any job, but after 10 months, it's still going strong."