Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 8, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why St. George's School was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2017):
- St. George's School offers new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents) maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 80% of salary for 15 weeks) -- a benefit that extends to permanent faculty and administrative support personnel
- St. George's School encourages ongoing employee education through generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions (up to $7,500), subsidies for professional accreditation, in-house training initiatives and formal mentoring
- St. George's School helps employees plan for the longer term with retirement planning assistance along with contributions to a defined contribution pension plan -- and supports employees with the transition through phased-in retirement work options
At St. George's School, it feels like family
To Dr. Tom Matthews, Headmaster at St. George's School for the past seven years, it's all about the boys. Matthews, an award-winning educator with more than 35 years' experience, says people love working at the Vancouver independent school because of their shared dedication to students. "There's a real clarity of purpose, a mission to serve these young men. Everything is designed around that, which builds a real sense of community."
At the same time, St. George's - which has been named a Top Employer for the sixth year in a row - also focuses on each staff member's unique needs. "While we are a mid-size employer with just over 240 employees, we make
every effort to deal with each person as an individual and try to work with them to support their individual needs," says Karen Potter, Director of Human Resources.
The annual employee survey indicates that 88 per cent of staff are happy working at St. George's and would recommend it to others. Whether it's a bouquet sent for compassionate or celebratory reasons or a gift card to welcome a new baby, there is a culture of gratitude and employee recognition at the school. Wellness days, onsite health-care practitioners, staff parties and barbecues are among the tools used to express appreciation.
Nancy Kudryk, an executive assistant at the school for more than 25 years, says that "St. George's absolutely feels like home," and notes that employees tend to stay a long time - the longest-serving one has been there more than 40 years.
The physical setting of the 87-year-old school, next to 847-hectare Pacific Spirit Park, provides immediate access to green space. And the boarding community, which includes faculty, staff and students who live on site, adds a "familial" factor which is palpable at St. George's.
All faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in professional development activities. These may be provided on-site, via conferences around the world or through advanced education courses. These are priorities for the school, with employees serving as models of lifelong learning for the students.
"As the pace of change in the world accelerates, the school continually improves its practices to prepare our students for that world," says Matthews. "We actively promote creative program initiatives, the most recent being a two-day, in-school Global Stewardship Conference featuring presentations by students, faculty, staff and parents, as well as outside speakers."