Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 29, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Ottawa, City of was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2019):
- City of Ottawa manages an extensive employee recognition program to celebrate and honour exceptional performance and achievement in a variety of areas, including creativity and innovation, diversity and inclusion, heroism and lifetime achievement
- City of Ottawa maintains a Workplace Wellness and Productivity Network to provide employees with access to resources on physical, mental and emotional health and well-being, and offers a variety of workshops and training to help managers incorporate wellness into the workplace
- City of Ottawa supports employees who are new mothers, fathers or adoptive parents with maternity and parental leave top-up payments, ranging by employee group, and provides flexible work arrangements to help them adapt to their new roles as parents (also ranging by employee group)
Commitment and camaraderie at the City of Ottawa
When Ottawa was struck by high winds and tornadoes last September, city staff were responsible for getting the community back on its feet. Because many residents didn't have phones or other sources of information, the City of Ottawa set up community meeting places, especially in hard-hit areas.
At one such gathering, Donna Gray, the city's general manager of service innovation and performance, encountered a member of the municipal road staff. He'd spent four days working virtually non-stop clearing roadways. When he got up to speak, people applauded. Later, Gray was asked if his own house was hit, and he replied, "Yes, but I haven't had a chance to go and assess how badly it was damaged because it was nothing in comparison to others in my neighbourhood."
That level of commitment, Gray observes, is typical of the employees - from paramedics to firefighters to public health nurses - who responded to the disaster, and of City of Ottawa staff in general. "What that breeds is camaraderie. We have about 17,000 staff with a wide range of roles, and we have about 110 lines of business within the city. But there's a real culture of one city, one team, to meet residents' needs. Our services touch every single citizen, from when they wake up and turn the water on and then drive on our roads to get their kids to child care."
Gray also notes that since Steve Kanellakos became city manager in 2016, the organization has stepped up investment in employees, "leveraging our numerous training programs, mentorships and job-shadowing to develop people to their highest potential." There's also a new focus on communication with, and consultation of, staff - including regular webcasts from Kanellakos
Because of the breadth of the city's services, employees can have a whole range of careers there, notes Liz Marland, director of human resources. "I've been here 33 years and I have worked in finance, social services, public works, information technology and now HR. That makes it a very rewarding place to work and is why we've been able to attract talent."
Such opportunity to grow has been a boon for Chantal Borst, program and project co-ordinator in Gray's department. "I've had six different work opportunities - all variety of things, including leading the engagement of public sector partnerships for the 2017 sesquicentennial celebrations - and some temporary placements. My experience working for the city has been so varied and exciting that I can't believe it's only been eight years."