Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why George Brown College was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- George Brown is an advocate of diversity and inclusion and manages a positive space campaign to ensure that the campus is welcoming and inclusive to all of its members, and to create a community free of discrimination and harassment based on gender and sexual identity
- George Brown provides exceptional maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (to 93% of salary for 52 weeks) as well as parental top-up for fathers and adoptive parents (to 93% of salary for 35 weeks) -- employees working at the college's main campus can also take advantage of subsidized access to onsite daycare when they return to work
- As part of the organization's role as an educator, George Brown encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies (up to $20,000 for PhD studies) and a variety of in-house and online training programs -- the College also offers tuition rebates for eligible family members
George Brown College is a centre of learning for all
George Brown College has provided Jackie Tan, Senior Operations Manager, many opportunities for development and learning. Tan, who has a background in hotel industry marketing in her home country of Singapore, was starting anew in Toronto when she was first introduced to the college. With the help of a professional placement for new immigrants arranged by the Career Edge Organization, she soon found her niche at George Brown.
"George Brown has provided me with a very supportive environment," says Tan. "I was able to learn on the job, and learn quickly."
From her standing start in 2004, when she began her internship as a project manager at George Brown, Tan moved into contract work as a project manager, then joined the permanent staff in 2006 and became a budget manager, an operations manager and now, Senior Operations Manager for the Division of Community Services and Health Sciences.
It's a highly responsible position, working directly with the Dean and Associate Dean. "I have a pretty big portfolio," she says. "My main duties involve budgeting, business planning and staff development in a division with seven academic schools and 5,000 students," she says. She also works directly with two of those units, the School of Social and Community Services and the School of Deaf and Deaf-Blind Studies. "My plate is pretty full," she laughs.
As evidence of the support she has received, she notes that she recently returned from an eight-month professional development leave, completing an online MBA from Edinburgh Business School in Scotland. "I had been working on it for four years, but I told my supervisor I couldn't finish it if I had to work as well. So I applied for the leave and I got it." She also received tuition assistance.
Tan feels her talents have been well recognized at George Brown. "From a development perspective, on my journey I was given many opportunities to learn on the job, to grow in my role and to move forward," she says. "I was able to expand from budgeting and day-to-day operations to a much broader perspective. And now my role is transitioning again, to support the division from a more strategic point of view, including the digital transformation of our school. Student learning is changing -- we are going to have a generation who are digitally savvy, so the way we teach has to change."
For Leslie Quinlan, Vice President Human Resources and Organizational Development, career development for people like Tan is a key part of George Brown's success. "We have launched a number of new programs related to career development, including personal development plans, a teaching and learning exchange where faculty can collaborate and share ideas, and improved employee access to learning programs," she says. The college has also added more tools and resources to help employees do their work.
Some of this, she says, came in response to the latest employee survey, in which the college's employee engagement score, already strong, rose two points to 83 per cent over the past two years. "Our turnover rate is very low -- less than five per cent," she says. "People come here and stay for their whole careers."
The reasons, she says, include a strong focus on students that keeps the entire workforce aligned, as well as the generous benefits that all colleges offer. And then there is George Brown's environment. "It's a pretty exciting place to work," she says. "We are located downtown -- right in the heart of the city. There's incredible diversity on campus, both among students and faculty. There's easy access to transit. There are also great projects going on, such as the newly announced building at our Waterfront campus, the Arbour, Toronto's first tall wood, carbon-neutral, net-positive building.
"Most importantly, though, we have committed employees and a caring culture that encourages lifelong learning, which really does make George Brown College an excellent place to work."