Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Dynacare was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- Dynacare supports employees who are new parents with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 75% of salary for 15 weeks, including adoptive parents) -- and offers an option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Dynacare encourages ongoing employee development through subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation and an onsite learning centre, equipped with computers, internet and a variety of continuing education and learning materials
- Dynacare manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who are interested in pursuing post-secondary studies (to $1,250 per child)
Compassion and ingenuity rule at Dynacare
Many of those who work at Dynacare are not only employees, but also patients who have benefited from the caring, compassionate health-care professionals administering one of the medical tests the company provides.
Marketing Coordinator Rosemary Holm is one of them. When she joined the Brampton head office as a marketing assistant in 2008, she had routine blood work done at the on-site patient centre. "I was well taken care of, and it was a positive experience," she says. "It was reassuring to have someone who was calm and professional take my blood."
Dynacare (formerly Gamma-Dynacare) operates 220 laboratory and health services centres in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and eight laboratories across Canada that provide such services as blood collection, transportation, cancer screening and prenatal testing, among others. In recent years, services have expanded to include advanced genetic testing, digital health and corporate wellness programs, as well as a number of specialized services for the insurance industry.
Vice-President Human Resources Donna Pascal is touched when she hears stories like Holm's. "I have a friend who's going through a health issue who had blood taken at a Dynacare lab," says Pascal. "She told me that the phlebotomist was so professional and gentle, her arm didn't bruise. This level of compassion and caring makes me feel proud."
There's no question that hiring the very best front-line employees is vital. "We look for people who are customer-focused, collaborative, accountable and compassionate," says Pascal. "They also must ideally have ingenuity."
An example of such ingenuity: a Dynacare phlebotomist in Quebec had to take blood from an autistic child. Using pictures, she came up with a way to explain the procedure that allowed the child to be calm enough to have the blood test. "This reassured both the child and the parents," says Pascal. "It's that kind of caring and initiative that leads to our best practices."
Best practices are core components of Dynacare's values and mission. For employees, they include flexible scheduling such as compressed workweeks and job sharing, professional development such as lunch-and-learn sessions, an employee-led social committee that supports local charities, and post-secondary scholarships for employees' children.
Holm has four children ranging in age from 15 to 22. Her oldest, a daughter who attends the University of Guelph, has received two $1,250 scholarships that she put toward tuition. "This is a program the company values and employees appreciate because it's a big financial help," she says.
For five years, Holm has been a member of the employee-led Social Network Committee. With its annual budget, the organizers arrange summer picnics, holiday parties and charity drives. "We ask ourselves, where can we help as many people as we can?" she says.
In May, Holm took the lead in organizing a 5K walk to support the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, which aims to end global poverty. "Being part of the social committee helps unite employees and promotes a positive workplace environment," she says.
It's easy to foster a happy workforce with managers who are supportive when their staff suggests creative ways to get their work done during, for example, a short workweek or through a job share. "We recognize that this helps with retention," says Pascal. "When you have talented people and you help them create harmony between work and home, they'll give you 10 times more in return."
Holm agrees. "I feel like my employer cares about me," she says. "I have an encouraging boss who is my mentor and champion. I love to come to work each day."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Greater Toronto's Top Employers winners, published December 8, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.