Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why North Vancouver, District of was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- District of North Vancouver employees are encouraged to keep their skills up to date through a variety of in-house training programs, as well as tuition subsidies for courses both related and not directly related to their current position -- and also reaches out to the next generation of employees through paid internship and apprenticeship programs
- District of North Vancouver helps employees save for life after work through generous contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
- District of North Vancouver's employee-led "Social Squad" helps to organize a number of fun activities and events throughout the year, including a Christmas party, long-service and Star Awards gala, monthly employee appreciation days, employee hockey games and an annual summer barbecue
The District of North Vancouver empowers excellence
Separated from its big city neighbour by a bridge, the District of North Vancouver was a somewhat sleepy municipality, immune to frequently frenetic development pressures. But recently, the pace of change and the demand for services has transformed the District, challenging both management and employees to deliver.
Instead of imposing top-down solutions, the District looked for answers from within its workforce. And got them.
"Good public service is provided by good people," says David Stuart, Chief Administrative Officer. "Then you ask yourself, 'What do we do to support them so we can ensure strong foundations for continued service excellence?' Everything flows from that very simple premise."
Stuart's management team knew the best way to find out how staff could be supported was to ask them. They initiated an extensive consultation process on organizational values, probing just why staff do what they do. The response confirmed things were on the right track.
"We're hearing words like 'caring organization' and 'service-first organization, being one team.' All this reinforces to me that we're striking the right note with staff," he said.
The proactive exercise is part of a long-standing District culture of providing employees the support they need to excel. In addition to listening to and acting on employees' feedback, the District offers a full package of benefits that include in-house training programs, tuition subsidies and a generous pension plan.
Perhaps most important of all, it empowers them to have some fun through an employee-led "Social Squad." Social Squad leader Felim Donnelly, a Research Analyst, says it's indicative of the District's trust in its employees.
"There's a balance between corporate ideas of fun and what the employees find fun and sometimes they are quite different," says Donnelly. "The organization trusts me and my team to put that together and that's a credit to them."
From family-friendly Olympic activities at the District's recreation facilities to fundraising for women on the Downtown Eastside, the Social Squad gives employees a sense of fun as well as a sense of purpose that's an extension of their work. And that's all Stuart -- a veteran of nearly 45 years' municipal experience -- can ask for.
"We didn't just arrive at being a good employer as of today," he says. "We've had a real interest in our staff and had a collaborative, trusting relationship with our staff for a long time. We recognize the need to create an environment which enables staff to excel while being responsive to change."