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 NAIT / Northern Alberta Institute of Technology was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
- NAIT encourages employees to keep fit with an incredible array of options for staying in shape, including a salt water pool, climbing wall, an NHL-size arena, indoor running track, racquetball and squash courts, personal training services and a variety of instructor-led classes
- NAIT provides maternity leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers (up to 95% of salary for up to 16 weeks) and offers a number of flexible work options when they are ready to return
- As part of a focus on overall health, NAIT employs a dedicated Mental Health Coordinator and recently hosted a professional development day dedicated to overall employee well-being
Values drive NAIT's ambition to be the best
For Kate Andrews, being treated as a valued employee - and person - at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is one of the reasons she loves coming to work every day. "You feel like you matter here," says Andrews, program chair of NAIT's Personal Fitness Trainer Program. "From the get-go, I have felt respected. It's the people that make NAIT a great place to work."
Andrews joined NAIT a dozen years ago as a long-distance anatomy instructor and then became a part-time instructor on its main campus in Edmonton. NAIT supported Andrews as she went back to school to get a master's degree. She subsequently obtained a full-time position and became chair a year ago. "NAIT encourages you and provides you with an opportunity to grow," Andrews says. "You have autonomy, and you have all the support you need."
Given that, why introduce a formal program that promotes respect at the institute? "Because," answers NAIT president and CEO, Dr. Glenn Feltham, "respect is a NAIT core value and needs to be fostered. The program helps create deeper understandings and richer conversations about respect."
He adds: "Respect is the glue that holds us together. If we start with respect, everything becomes possible."
Feltham hastens to add that the 90-minute online program that addresses bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination was brought in to build on a value collectively shared. Andrews agrees. "It shows NAIT is always, always trying to improve," she says. "Leaving 'as is' is not good enough. We want to be the best."
In less than two months, just over half the staff completed the course. "That's an incredible uptake," says Feltham, who attributes the high participation rate to the "quality of our people and their desire to grow and to work better with others."
There are other, concrete benefits that make for a loyal workforce. Opportunities for professional development abound. NAIT provides free access to courses and programs. For those wishing to pursue certificates, diplomas or degrees unavailable at NAIT, tuition is subsidized up to $5,000 annually. Tuition support for NAIT courses or programs is also available for spouses and dependents.
As well, NAIT offers flexible work opportunities, from modified hours to compressed weeks. Vacation provisions are generous: up to nine weeks annually for instructors.
But in the end, it comes down to a culture of respect. "It means being heard and treated the way you want to be treated," Andrews says. "At NAIT, you are truly respected for who you are."