Recognized as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 23, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Creative Options Regina, Inc. was selected as one of Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2018):
- Creative Options Regina employees can relax in an employee lounge complete with fireplace, television (and projector for movies), video games and foosball -- there's even space to exhibit works by local artists and monthly visits from a registered massage therapist
- Employees at Creative Options Regina can balance their work and personal lives through a variety of alternative work options, including flexible hours, telecommuting, shortened and compressed work weeks
- Creative Options Regina employees receive a fitness subsidy as part of their health benefits plan and can extend their benefits through an additional health spending account
COR focuses on taking care of the caregivers
Visitors to the office of Creative Options Regina (COR) might wonder if they've come to the right place. A loft-like space kitted out with videogames, foosball and a coffee bar, it looks more like a tech startup than a non-profit caring for people with disabilities.
"We are a bit atypical," says Executive Director Michael Lavis. "You don't really see this work environment in our sector." But then there's nothing typical about COR's approach to caregiving. COR provides in-home support based on the philosophy of Gentle Teaching, placing relationships at the heart of everything it does, and tailoring care to every individual's abilities and interests.
Fulfilling that mission depends on finding employees that match COR's culture and values. "We hire for fit over skill," says Rory McCorriston, Director of People and Culture. "We look for people who are really interested in supporting others. If they don't have all the necessary qualifications, we'll provide training opportunities."
Kinesiology graduate Matt Chin helped design COR's health and wellness program, then became a frontline caregiver, learning new skills to support people with intellectual disabilities. Today he's a Home Supports Coordinator, leading caregivers across five home support teams.
Such progression isn't always obvious in a sector many view as a stepping-stone to another job. "A lot of people we end up hiring didn't even realize this was a career option," says McCorriston. COR recruits from a wide range of backgrounds, but pitches compensation for Home Team Leaders at a comparable level to entry-level teaching or social work positions.
Not that wages alone are the primary motivator for most employees. "I ask myself what brings people to our doorstep and, more importantly, what keeps them here," says Lavis. "I know that if we deliberately focus on the needs of our caregivers, they're going to provide exceptional support to the people the government contracts us to care for."
Completely flexible hours and a benefits package custom-fitted to the young workforce (average age 28) are welcome. But what keeps most employees at COR is the ability to bring what they love to work -- sharing their passions to provide meaningful companionship to the people in their care.
Chin brings a passion for paintball and soccer to office teambuilding, but has an eye on the ball where his career is concerned, too. COR is expanding into youth programs. "With that will come new leadership roles and management positions," he says. "I hopefully see myself growing with COR as we branch out."