Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 21, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Edmonton, City of was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2017):
- The City of Edmonton helps employees maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal lives and hosts an annual employee wellness fair which features health and wellness exhibitors, activities and interactive presentations on a variety of topics such as nutrition, mental health, pet therapy and spiritual wellness
- The City of Edmonton ensures it reaches out to the next generation through apprenticeships, summer employment and co-op programs, and organizes a dedicated student conference for participants of its summer student program
- The City of Edmonton organizes a number of social events throughout the year including the Manager's Cup Hockey Tournament, an annual tournament that featured 24 different teams in the past year
City of Edmonton staff take pride in service
Arseni Temirov joined the City of Edmonton's procurement team four years ago while he was pursuing his designation as a Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP). He found the City a supportive work environment and was encouraged throughout the three years that it took to complete the program.
"It worked out really well for me. It motivated me to work even harder for the City," says Temirov, 31, who earned not only the SCMP but a promotion to his current position of Senior Materials Management Specialist. In that role, he - and two buyers who report to him - help prepare tenders to solicit bids from vendors, then participate in the technical analysis to evaluate the bids.
"The best part of my job is collaborating with the City's internal client groups - such as fleet services, transportation operations or waste management - to help them define their requirements for the tenders," says Temirov.
The City of Edmonton's workforce is itself the size of a small city - with almost 10,000 full-time and up to 4,000 part-time employees spread over six departments. It hires for roles as diverse as engineers, planners, lifeguards, transit operators, labourers, trades people and seasonal staff.
"It is a workplace where we value innovation and initiative," says Margaret Blair, Director, Recruitment. "And we value people who know how to collaborate and work together." Despite the variety of business units and occupations, City personnel are united by a shared pride in service to the public and in a commitment to fiscal and ethical accountability, she says.
All new hires receive mandatory training on the City's Code of Conduct, respectful workplace best practices, and safety procedures. In addition, the City has recently developed mandatory Indigenous awareness training with a focus on residential schools history, inter-generational impacts and reconciliation in the workplace. Some 4,500 employees have attended this program in its first two years.
For employees with leadership ambitions, the City offers an Aspiring Supervisors program, which comprises a monthly classroom session from September until April and formal mentoring every two weeks.
"The mentorship was the most useful thing," says Temirov. "It helped me identify some of my gaps and bridge them. It's one of the best programs I've ever participated in. It helped me grow and continue developing certain competencies. It set me up for opportunities in the future."
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."