Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 19, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Covenant Health was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
- Covenant Health helps employees prepare for the future with retirement planning workshops and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan or matching RSP (depending on employee group) -- the organization also helps retiring employees transition to life after work with phased-in work options
- Covenant Health created a dedicated wellness strategy and program to support positive healthy behaviour at work and at home -- along with an onsite fitness facility, employees can enroll in workshops on stress management, as well as mental and spiritual wellness or sit down and meet one-on-one with dedicated Wellness Champions
- Covenant Health supports ongoing development through a number of in-house training initiatives, along with generous tuition subsidies for courses both related and not directly related to their current position
Covenant Health serves the vulnerable and marginalized
Melissa Sztym has been an occupational therapist since 2006 at St. Mary's Hospital in Camrose, part of Edmonton-based Covenant Health. For the past five years, she has been team lead for the Stroke Early Supported Discharge program, which provides in-home rehabilitation services to stroke survivors who live within an hour's drive of Camrose.
"It's rewarding to help our clients return to their previous roles and reintegrate into the community," she says. "Their recovery often means being able to cook, going for walks, swimming or - because many are farmers - looking after livestock or getting back on the combine."
Covenant Health is a not-for-profit organization that provides Albertans of all faiths with quality health care based on Catholic values. Covenant operates 17 facilities and employs 11,000 people in the province.
"We have a diverse group of employees providing services across the continuum of health care," says chief executive officer Patrick Dumelie.
The workplace culture derives from Covenant's mission. "We are called to serve, focusing on the vulnerable and marginalized, to bring them to the centre," says Dumelie. The emphasis is on serving seniors, people with mental illness and addiction and those needing end-of-life care. It has facilities in Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and smaller rural Alberta communities. "It's not about religion; it's about, are you committed to serving your fellow person?"
Covenant promotes continuous learning by supporting its employees. It runs a staff education fund to support those wishing to upgrade their skills externally. More than 216 employees have reached their education goals through the fund, with 272 currently pursuing programs.
In 2017, with Covenant's support, Sztym completed the University of Alberta post-baccalaureate certificate in stroke rehabilitation. Her program included a project to test whether Skype-for-Business is an effective tool for interacting with rural stroke survivors. ("It is," she says. "Up to 75 per cent of our clients are able to make some use of Skype.")
CLiC, Covenant's proprietary internal learning system, offers 240 online modules and courses - from the latest approach to intravenous management to a first aid program for the mental health of employees. The learning system also enables staff to connect with one another through discussion boards, blogs and workspaces. "With its interactive component, it's like Instagram meets Twitter meets online adult education," says Dumelie.
Covenant also offers three in-person leadership development programs. Sztym feels the one she took a decade ago contributed big-time to her career. "Covenant sees the value in developing leadership skills in its employees," she says.