Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 21, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Coquitlam, City of was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
- City of Coquitlam supports new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments, to 95 per cent of salary for 17 weeks and offers a variety of alternative work options to help them adjust to their new role as parents
- City of Coquitlam keeps employees engaged with a variety of social events throughout the year, including an annual staff and family picnic as well as a number of seasonal activities, such as a pumpkin carving and costume contest for Halloween, an Easter egg hunt, and a family skate and lunch to celebrate Christmas
- Employees at the City of Coquitlam are encouraged to plan for the longer term with retirement planning assistance and generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
City of Coquitlam balances opportunity and liveability
For Michelle Frilund, working for the City of Coquitlam is about achieving equilibrium.
With about 1,600 employees in a variety of occupations, the organization is large enough to offer a broad range of opportunities for growth and development. On the other hand, says Frilund, the workforce is still small enough for each employee to make a meaningful contribution.
"The culture is collaborative and the leadership is accessible," says the senior communications and engagement specialist. "You really feel you can make a difference."
Living in the community offers a similar balance. Coquitlam, Frilund says, has the big-city appeal of a vibrant, dynamic culture, including a wide range of festivals and events she and her young family can enjoy. At the same time, abundant green spaces remain within easy reach for outdoor pursuits.
Nikki Caulfield, director of human resources and corporate planning, agrees the quality of life that Coquitlam offers is a huge draw. Central to this, literally and figuratively, is Town Centre Park, a 42-hectare site, which is directly across the street from Coquitlam City Hall and was named Canada's best public space by the Canadian Institute of Planners in 2017.
Still, when it comes to working for the city, Coquitlam's liveability and accessibility are just part of the story, Caulfield says. "We're one of the fastest-growing regional urban centres in the Lower Mainland and the new rapid transit line is continuing to change the landscape," she says.
Managing that growth responsibly and sustainably presents not only challenges, she says, but opportunities. There are great jobs for those in a variety of occupations, including city planners, financial planners, engineers, labourers, emergency services workers and a variety of other professionals.
Coquitlam offers its employees a supportive work environment with competitive salary and benefits. It also places a high priority on professional development and offers extensive in-house and external training programs. "We want employees to feel a great sense of personal accomplishment," says Caulfield.
That's what Frilund has found in the five years she's been with the city. Significantly, exceptional work-life balance hasn't come at the expense of meaningful work and opportunities for advancement, she says.
Today, Frilund's participating in the city's award-winning Leading with Purpose leadership development program. As well as the mentoring and training, she says, she enjoys connecting with peers in other departments she wouldn't have met otherwise.
"If you're looking for opportunity," says Frilund, "this is the place to get it."