Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Alberta Pensions Services Corporation / APS was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2023):
- APS walks the talk with retirement planning assistance services and helping employees prepare for the future with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan
- APS starts new employees with three weeks of paid vacation and offers employees a combined total of 16 paid personal and sick days annually (senior employees start with four weeks of paid vacation)
- APS developed the Agile APS program to manage its hybrid and flexible work options for employees, including onsite work (minimum of 80 per cent of the time), hybrid (determined on a case-by-case basis) and fully remote
Alberta Pensions Services puts a premium on values
Christopher Osomo says he had his sights set on Alberta Pensions Services Corporation (APS) for several years before he started working there. Indeed, he could even see APS headquarters from his home in southwest Edmonton.
The proximity was intriguing. But what he really wanted was the opportunity to make better use of his degree in business and commerce than he’d had in jobs to date. Osomo says he was also attracted to APS’s reputation as a values-driven employer that supports its people in meaningful ways.
So, when the opportunity arose in 2016, he joined the Crown corporation – and has been in his element ever since. His responsibilities as a member services representative include fielding a wide variety of questions from current and retired public sector employees about their pensions.
“I love to talk and I particularly love to talk about pensions,” Osomo says. “I feel it’s a privilege to make sure our members have the information they need to make informed decisions.”
Founded in 1995, APS provides pension administration services for more than 500 public sector employers in Alberta, including municipalities and hospitals as well as various provincial bodies. Administering about $6 billion in pension funds annually, APS also provides pension-related services to over 370,000 members and pensioners.
Darwin Bozek, president and CEO, says that as an organization that administers pensions on behalf of its clients, APS doesn’t have a prominent public profile. Still, he’s not surprised when new hires say they first heard about the organization through word of mouth.
Many are attracted to how the organization embodies its mission and values of service excellence, quality and accountability, Bozek says.
“We are a caring organization,” he says. “We care about the important work we do and we care about the people who do the work.”
That attitude is reflected in how APS prioritizes employee growth and professional development, says Tamara Janzen, vice president, human resources and organizational development. She speaks from experience.
“I wasn’t a vice president when I started here in 2011,” Janzen says. “But somebody saw something in me and made sure that I received the mentoring and training that I needed to move ahead in my career.”
APS offers employees a variety of educational opportunities, both on site and through external learning programs. She adds that in addition to a formal career development program, managers are being equipped to incorporate regular career development discussions into weekly employee one-on-one sessions. That helps keep people on track whether they want to advance or transfer as their career evolves.
APS also has initiatives to maintain a collegial, engaging work environment, Janzen says. In addition to an employee-led committee that organizes various activities to create staff connections and support diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the year, the organization hosts such events as regular townhalls, online activities and a holiday luncheon.
When the majority of employees were working from home during the pandemic, some get-togethers were held virtually. Despite their limitations, says Janzen, the virtual events still helped employees feel connected.
“In 2022, when we held in our first in-person summer barbecue in two years, it was like a big family reunion – everybody was so happy,” she adds.
APS has since adopted a hybrid model and, like other employees, Osomo works primarily at home and with some days in the office. The way APS has taken care of employees’ health and well-being throughout the pandemic is the latest addition to a long list of reasons why he says he appreciates working there.
“I’ve always felt listened to, that my ideas and contributions are valued,” Osomo says. “It’s been everything I expected and more.”