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 Saskatoon, City of was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2017):
- City of Saskatoon employees are encouraged to keep in shape with subsidized access to a number of fully-equipped community fitness facilities located across the city -- interested employees can also take advantage of fitness club subsidies as part of their health plan and low-interest loans for sports or fitness equipment
- City of Saskatoon employees can apply for an unpaid leave of absence or defer a portion of their salary and take a self-funded leave of absence for up to 1 year in duration
- City of Saskatoon supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 95% of salary for up to 15 weeks) and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence -- employees can also take advantage of a variety of alternative work options to help balance their work and personal lives
The City of Saskatoon taps its employees for ideas
In 2009, Saskatoon, the "City of Bridges", was at a crossroads. It was growing -- fast. And Catherine Gryba, General Manager, Corporate Performance, says the City administration was having a hard time keeping up.
"The expectations of the public were changing in a way that the skills and abilities of our old, sleepy-town Saskatoon government and our employees just weren't meeting," she says. "So we started our journey of becoming more results-oriented, more goal-oriented, responsive and adaptive."
To get there, they adopted a "continuous improvement" approach where the key to success was tapping the expertise of the City's 3,000-plus employees. Now, employees regularly work with managers to determine what Saskatoon's 265,300 residents want from a service and find ways to deliver it more efficiently. Their ideas aren't just heard, they're acted on.
"That's true employee engagement, when employees provide input and they're part of figuring out what the solutions are," she says. "That's started to permeate across the organization."
Continuous improvement also applies to supporting employees with programs and benefits that include flexible work hours, subsidized access to fitness facilities and generous parental leave.
And for Janaya Wintonyk-Pilot, the City's tuition support program did much more than open new doors.
"It opened the world," says Wintonyk-Pilot, an administrative assistant in the Building Standards Department. "It was the best opportunity I could have ever been given."
Not only did the City subsidize Wintonyk-Pilot's tuition and books, it allowed her to change hours so she could work days while going to business school at night to earn her Administrative Assistant Diploma.
That flexibility and support allows Wintonyk-Pilot to keep a healthy work-life balance and gives her a chance to give back as a peer advisor for the City's Employee and Family Assistance Program.
"I get to learn what our employees are going through and I connect with the counsellors so that when somebody comes to me, I'm that bridge to get them to counselling. It's amazing," she says.
Not only has the City's journey transformed the lives of employees like Wintonyk-Pilot and improved services to Saskatoon's citizens, it's improved the bottom line.
"By doing things differently, we've saved over $310 million," says Gryba. "Our collective efforts are producing savings for the taxpayers. The impact our employees are having is very real. That's the beautiful thing about working for municipal government -- you can see the impact of your work immediately and our employees are part of that."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Saskatoon, City of was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- The City of Saskatoon provides Heavy Equipment Operator/Class 1A pre-employment training for First Nation and Métis peoples, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Tribal Council, the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and the Gabriel Dumont Institute -- and hosts workshops to provide information on career development for seasonal Aboriginal employees working within the Parks department
- The City of Saskatoon created a dedicated Aboriginal Employment Action Plan and collaborated with the Saskatoon Skills and Trades Centre to design and deliver pre-employment training to Aboriginal candidates interested in fireman or custodian roles -- the organization also collaborated on the development of a Landscaping Technician course, which includes a 2-week placement with the City
- The City of Saskatoon offers temporary work placements to help new Canadians gain work experience, offered in partnership with settlement agencies such as the Open Door Society