Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 11, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why George Brown College was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- George Brown helps employees find a balance between work and their personal lives with 3 to 4 weeks of starting vacation allowance, personal paid days off (which can be scheduled at the employees' discretion) and paid time off during the winter holidays
- George Brown provides exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 93% of salary for 52 weeks) as well as parental top-up for fathers and adoptive parents (to 93% of salary for 35 weeks) -- employees working at the College's main campus can also take advantage of subsidized access to onsite daycare when they return to work
- As part of the organization's role as an educator, George Brown encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies and variety of in-house and online training programs
George Brown College fosters lifelong learning
During her final year in the Special Events Planning diploma program at George Brown College, Edna Hagos had the best of both worlds - she was a full-time student and a part-time employee.
"Working as an information officer in the Registrar's Office was a great opportunity for me to see what working full-time for George Brown would be like," says Hagos. After graduating in 2010, she was hired part-time as assistant to the associate registrar. In that role, she helped plan the college's biggest event of the year: Convocation.
Hagos chose George Brown because it had a program that interested her and was unique in its delivery, including a co-op component, which provided her with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and build the soft skills sought by employers.
Shortly after her graduation, George Brown hired Hagos as a full-time permanent employee working as a transcript records specialist. Just over a year later, she took on the role of assistant to the associate registrar full-time, then academic records coordinator, and since August she has been Acting Manager, Registration and Audit.
"Providing opportunities for personal and career growth are important priorities and part of the culture at the college," says Leslie Quinlan, Vice President Human Resources and Organizational Development. Stories like Hagos's are great examples of the value that George Brown places in its employees to ensure that their experience at the college is challenging and rewarding, she says.
"We are focused on creating a lifelong-learning environment that encourages employees to think about their personal development and to work with their managers to create plans to help them achieve their individual and career goals," says Quinlan.
To support this, the college offers generous tuition assistance subsidies of up to $20,000 (lifetime maximum) for post-secondary programs, as well as a variety of in-house and online training programs. In addition, many Continuing Education courses cost only $20 for employees. Hagos has taken several workshops and courses, including Excel and portfolio development, and is planning to use the Tuition Assistance Program to earn a master's degree in education.
Another unique and powerful aspect of working at the college is that employees are united around ensuring the success and future employment of the students. "Our brand promise is that we understand employment, and our employees work collaboratively in a team-oriented way to make sure that promise is upheld," says Quinlan.
One of the positive features of George Brown's downtown Toronto location is the diversity of students and employees, who reflect the diversity of the city itself. "The college strives to maintain a caring culture, where everyone can work and learn in a respectful, diverse and inclusive environment," says Quinlan. Hagos says her co-workers reflect every walk of society, and "this enriches our work experience because it helps us relate better to the students."
Team building and cooperation are enhanced by employee-engagement activities like "fun teams" in various departments. For example, in the Registrar's Office where Hagos works, "Team George" has organized outings to Blue Jays games and wine classes. There are other perks, too, including student-run fresh fruit and vegetable markets, and employees can eat affordable meals at the Chef's House, which is staffed by Culinary Program students.
As for Quinlan, she joined George Brown in July 2015 because she wanted to be part of an organization that was making a difference in the community and contributing in a positive way to people's success. "It's satisfying to work with a motivated group of individuals who are helping support and shape the lives and future careers of our students," she says.