Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Algonquin College of Applied Arts & Technology was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2017):
- Algonquin College provides exceptional family-friendly benefits including a full year of paid leave for mothers and parental leave top-up ranging between 35 to 37 weeks for fathers and adoptive parents -- the College also offers the option to extend their parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence and the convenience of onsite daycare upon their return
- Algonquin College helps employees prepare for the future with retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan -- additionally, the organization offers phased-in work options for those nearing retirement
- Employees working on campus can stay in shape by taking advantage of the College's Fitness Zone, a 20,000 square foot facility that features a basketball court, a sauna, a soccer dome and instructor-led classes such as yoga and aerobics -- additionally, the campus features a dedicated martial arts facility, which offers Thai boxing, kick boxing, wrestling and judo classes (to name a few)
Algonquin College's Tigers boost staff engagement
Alexander Yang became a professor of electrical engineering technology at Algonquin College of Applied Arts & Technology in 2003. Then, after leaving in 2007 to join a local high-tech firm, he realized how much he missed the college and in 2010 he returned to stay.
What drew him back? The people and workplace culture you can only find in academia. "Helping students to learn, grow and reach their potential is fundamentally rewarding and I'm surrounded by people who feel the same way," says Yang. "There's a positive, collegial environment at Algonquin."
Now in the Office of Applied Research and Innovation (ARI), he's Project Manager of the Construction Research Centre. It's one of four ARI centres where Algonquin faculty and students collaborate with business, industry and community partners to develop useful products, services and processes. Although no longer a professor, Yang's still an educator, guiding students through projects where they gain valuable hands-on experience.
As a higher education institution, Algonquin encourages continuous learning for employees as well. This includes reduced tuition rates on some courses and professional development through leadership and service-excellence programs. Algonquin extends scholastic opportunities to the families of its full-time personnel too, offering partial tuition-fee reimbursement for dependent spouses and children.
The college looks after employees' well-being in other ways: competitive pay and benefits tend to their financial welfare while a variety of wellness programs can help with their physical and mental health.
Cheryl Jensen says she admired Algonquin long before she took over as President in 2014. The key to making it an even better place to work and study is not just employee satisfaction, she says, but employee engagement. "When you're engaged, you're deeply involved, you're proud to be a part of Algonquin and will make every effort to ensure your students, your colleagues and the organization succeed."
This year, Algonquin is conducting its third employee engagement survey since 2012. Each time, the college established Tiger Teams, groups of volunteer employees tasked with finding ways to address the concerns raised and identifying which issues require further attention. Tiger Teams will be set up again this year.
"We don't just listen to employees' suggestions, but actually act on them in a timely manner," says Jensen. "It's part of what makes us a special place."
Yang, for one, is on side. "Everyone here likes to contribute," he says. "Nothing pulls people together like a common cause."