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 Edmonton, City of was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2016):
- The City of Edmonton helps employees maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal lives and hosts an annual employee wellness fair that features health and wellness exhibitors, activities, display booths and interactive presentations on a variety of topics such as nutrition, mental health, pet therapy and spiritual wellness
- The City of Edmonton encourages employees to prepare for the future with contributions to a matching RSP and a defined benefit pension plan and retirement planning workshops -- the organization also offers phased-in work options for employees nearing retirement
- The City of Edmonton organizes a number of social events throughout the year, including the "Manager's Cup Hockey Tournament", an annual tournament that included 24 different teams last year
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Edmonton, City of was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- In the past year, the City of Edmonton hosted a Facebook Career Fair, through which over 42,000 students tuned in to ask questions ranging from LinkedIn advice to "What's Edmonton like in the winter?" -- and, in association with University of Alberta post-secondary students, the City of Edmonton hosts Job Shadow Week, offering approximately 25 job shadow hosts from every department
- City of Edmonton maintains a Youth Council to help educate and empower youth and to provide young people with opportunities to provide input and take action on local issues and politics
- City of Edmonton manages a Rising Youth Program to help students in grades 9 to 12 develop life skills through indoor and outdoor activities and workshops on topics such as public speaking, social awareness and healthy lifestyles, to name a few
City of Edmonton meets young people on their turf
At the City of Edmonton, technology is helping thin the concept of mentoring on its head. As the City proceeds with an organization-wide transition from Microsoft to Google Apps, it is younger employees who are often guiding their elders through the digital thickets.
"For many young people, this is something they've already experienced and embraced," says Jeff MacPherson, the City of Edmonton's Human Resources Branch Manager. "So there is an element of them coaching and supporting some of the rest of us as we get used to these new technologies."
One of those young people is Stevie Howard, a University of Victoria software engineering student who is currently in the middle of an eight-month work term with the City of Edmonton.
Along with a fellow co-op student, Howard has been providing one-on-one support on Google Apps to City employees across several business groups and departments. At his own request, Howard is also starting to take on more technical responsibilities in areas such as software development and scripting.
"This is a great place to work as a young person," says Howard. "Your work is judged on merit and not your age or perceived level of experience - and that's something dif cult to nd. If you do a good job, you can get a lot of responsibility quite quickly here."
Howard, who lives in the Old Strathcona neighbourhood near the University of concept of mentoring on its Alberta campus, finds Edmonton as a whole an exciting place to be. "The area around the university has a ton of young people on their individual journeys," he says. "There's a good cultural scene and always something going on."
Howard intends to do further work terms with the City as he completes his degree and hopes to become a full- time employee following graduation - part of a long-term career goal to become a management consultant specializing in software solutions.
"I've been given the opportunity to develop my professional and interpersonal skills within a large, progressive corporation," says Howard. "The City has a respectful and very diverse workplace. I get to work with people ranging in age from their early twenties to 60-something. They encompass many different nationalities, ethnicities and languages."
He also appreciates the efforts the City makes to help young people feel at home - including establishing an internal Google+ system that keeps him connected with fellow co-op students.
That's just one of many ways the City strives to meet young people on their own terms.
"Our social media recruitment efforts are quite vibrant and won an international award for innovation," says MacPherson. "We have about 90,000 followers on Facebook, which we use along with Instagram and other mediums young people are already tuned into. We refresh our information daily and there's interactive opportunities to ask questions live of a recruiter. This year alone, we anticipate about 300 permanent hires coming through social media recruitment."
Additionally, University of Alberta students have the opportunity to "job shadow" City employees twice a year. High school students interested in the trades can receive work experience and credit towards their diploma. Those interested in a career as a re ghter can earn high school credits while working as a cadet with the Edmonton Fire Department.
All recruits can take advantage of programs through which they get specialized orientation, professional development and the chance to share experiences with their peers.
"We attract a lot of young people from across Alberta and across Canada," says MacPherson. "So one of the things you want to build is a sense of community. It helps position us as an employer- of-choice and to retain top talent."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top Employers for Young People winners, published January 11, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 23, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Edmonton, City of was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2016):
- City of Edmonton maintains a "Women@theCity" committee, responsible for examining women's issues and engagement, as well as a Women's Advocacy Voice of Edmonton initiative, to engage diverse women in leadership and civic participation -- additionally, the city created a mentoring program to pair city council members with women from diverse backgrounds who aspire to a political career
- City of Edmonton recently re-established its Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative Committee, a joint partnership between Federal and Provincial governments and the City to increase participation of Aboriginals in the labour market -- also maintains an Edmonton Aboriginal Employees Resource Network to provide mentorship, coaching and guidance to its members
- City of Edmonton supports the employment efforts of job-seekers with disabilities through the Abilities in Action work experience program, which provides meaningful work experience to persons with disabilities -- the program was developed in partnership with the city's Fleet Services department and offers candidates opportunities to work as bus cleaners -- the city also offers employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual disabilities through the Abilities@Work Program
The City of Edmonton creates a culture of inclusiveness
Nora Agozar began her career with the City of Edmonton in 1981, just three years after she arrived in Canada from the Philippines. Some 35 years later, Agozar is still with her employer-of-choice, having steadily moved up the ranks to her current position as a Senior Financial Analyst.
"I've been given the opportunity to be recognized for who I am, my experience and my people skills," says Agozar. "The City has provided me with plenty of training and professional development. They've helped me develop my skills and abilities so that I can perform at a supervisory level."
Five years ago, Agozar volunteered to be a member of the City's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, representing the Financial Services branch. That committee is charged with helping the City achieve its vision of attracting and retaining a talented workforce that reflects the community it serves.
To that end, the City is committed to improving participation from several target populations, including Indigenous Peoples, newcomers to Canada, people with disabilities, students and youth, visible minorities and individuals transitioning from the Canadian Armed Forces. The City is also working to address the gender gap in targeted occupations.
Agozar says she got involved with the Diversity and Inclusion Committee to help others feel as welcome as she has felt since joining the City.
"I want to help create a culture of inclusiveness," she adds. "We need to be a workplace that respects everyone regardless of where they come from and allows them to share their experience, knowledge and abilities. That's why I'm doing this. I like to mentor and I like to help people."
According to Jeff MacPherson, the City of Edmonton's Human Resources Branch Manager, a key component of promoting diversity is to make connections and build relationships at the community level.
"When it comes to newcomers to the city, we work with groups like the Edmonton Regional Immigrant Employment Council," he notes. "We partner people coming through their programs with current City employees, who act as mentors. An added bonus is that our employees come out of this experience having broadened their leadership skills."
The City also works with Edmonton-based Campbell College, which helps newcomers and others develop the skills needed to secure gainful employment. Observes MacPherson: "Over a five-year period, we've taken in about 75 individuals for a practicum. About 54 of them have completed that and been successful in finding jobs."
Edmonton has a significant Indigenous population and The City works with many organizations to recruit and retain Indigenous employees. For example, a team of senior City managers are dedicated to the Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative, a joint federal/provincial/municipal government partnership to increase participation of Indigenous peoples in the labour market.
Edmonton sits on Treaty 6 land and the City has been working closely with the Treaty 6 First Nations on a robust Indigenous peoples training program for City employees related to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"We are one of the few organizations that's done that," says MacPherson, "and I think as you present yourself as an employer in that fashion, you start to make connections that are quite unique."
Another diversity initiative the City is strongly pursuing focuses on individuals with intellectual disabilities - a group that often has a particularly difficult time securing meaningful employment.
The Abilities@Work program sees the City working with several community partnership groups to identify potential recruits and match them with appropriate jobs. To do this, the City has secured the support of its unions to bypass the usual recruitment procedures. Over the past 18 months, some 25 individuals with intellectual disabilities have been hired in this manner.
While diversity makes sense for all employers, MacPherson says it has particular benefits for his organization. "Edmonton itself is a very diverse city. Having a diverse workforce allows us to better understand, interact with and serve our community."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Best Diversity Employers winners, published February 24, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.