Recognized as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2024):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 22, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Niagara Health was selected as one of Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2024):
- Niagara Health supports overall employee wellness through a number of in-house initiatives, including the Be Well strategy (which includes an annual wellness fair), The Working Mind training program, the Art to Heart program, and numerous on-going health initiatives from onsite mini-massages to wellness rooms and more
- Niagara Health offers training and development opportunities for employees at all stages of their careers, including tuition subsidies for individuals pursuing additional studies, leadership development programs, and co-op placements and paid internships for the next generation
- Niagara Health maintains a culture of recognition through a variety of initiatives, including the annual Nursing Week Awards, Awards of Excellence, an annual Interprofessional Awards Celebration and the Just Because Cards program to recognize, encourage, acknowledge, thank and congratulate a peer
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 6, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why Niagara Health was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2023):
- Niagara Health incorporated accountability measures to ensure the development of diversity groups through DEI deliverables in performance development goals for all leaders, including the president and CEO and the executive vice-president of people
- Niagara Health ensures that interview panels for leadership positions are diverse to widen perspectives, for both staff and physician roles -- all hiring panels must also complete inclusive recruitment training
- Niagara Health works closely with Care4Nurses, an organization that facilitates the integration of internationally educated nurses into the Canadian healthcare system -- placements are provided for internationally educated nurses within its nursing teams and a mentorship program for internationally educated nurses is being piloted
Building bridges and aiming high at Niagara Health
As one of Ontario’s largest hospital organizations, Niagara Health has made diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) a priority, pledging to ensure that everyone who walks through its doors feels safe, valued and cared for.
Niagara Health’s more than 7,300 staff, physicians and volunteers support a full-range of acute-care hospital services for 450,000 residents across multiple sites in the Niagara region.
President and CEO Lynn Guerriero says she has forged ahead to build bridges despite a plethora of COVID-19 challenges. “Through the stress and strain on our health-care system as a result of the pandemic, we have continued to focus on this important work and have made great progress in a number of areas,” says Guerriero.
Key measures include accepting the federal government’s 50/30 Challenge, with 50 per cent of the leadership team or board of directors being female and 30 per cent from an equity-deserving group. There have also been various DEI processes implemented to reach members of all communities, including an inclusive recruitment process, diverse interview panels for leadership and physicians, as well as inclusive recruitment training, explains Guerriero.
“I think one of the things you have to learn through experience is that having a diverse workforce is a highly valuable asset,” she says.
“Diversity of thought and upbringing, diversity in value systems and life experiences bring a richness and increased value to the team.”
Niagara Health has also worked with Toronto Metropolitan University to establish a demographic baseline, understand experiences and review and revise policies and programs based on best practices.
“We’ve enhanced a lot of our policies and programs to advance diversity and inclusion,” says Guerriero. “Each year, we review all of our policies and our continuing education programs with respect to diversity.”
As part of next steps, Niagara Health plans to launch a mentorship program for staff.
“Part of the program will be designed specifically for equity-deserving groups. We will highlight the individuals that demonstrate leadership qualities and ensure that they have the tools and supports in place to be successful,” says Guerriero.
As the DEI specialist at Niagara Health, Zainab Awad is focused on supporting the organization’s vision as it relates to its team members’ experiences.
“Building bridges means being intentional about creating opportunities for people,” says Awad.
“It is extremely important to feel that you fit in and have potential to succeed at work. This truly has an impact on a person’s sense of belonging, accomplishment and identity.”
Awad stresses that the entire organization, from the board to the senior leadership and management teams, is on side with this focus on diversity.
“The support from every level of the organization and from our DEI committee has been absolutely instrumental in the success in establishing our DEI profile,” she says.
Shining a light on the staff, physicians and volunteers who make a difference in the lives of patients and colleagues every day, Niagara Health is also sharing a series of stories called, ‘We are Niagara Health.’
“These stories have been a powerful tool to build inclusion because they allow us to understand others’ perspectives and how they impact day-to-day experiences,” says Awad.
“Empowering our team members as they build career bridges is what I love about the work I am doing,” she says. “It starts with building a true understanding of the challenges people face and the support they need to overcome them.”