Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 1, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Universities Canada was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2021):
- Universities Canada helps employees balance work and their personal lives with a variety of flexible work arrangements and provides five paid personal days per year -- additionally, the organization supports employees in taking time for themselves with a generous time off policy of four weeks of starting vacation allowance, moving to five weeks after five years on the job
- Universities Canada offers excellent maternity and parental leave top-up payments, up to 70 per cent of salary for a full year for new mothers and 35 weeks for new fathers and adoptive parents -- additionally, employees can take advantage of onsite child care when they are ready to return to work
- Along with investing in the development of its current workforce, Universities Canada supports the education of the next generation through academic scholarships for children of employees, up to $6,000 per child -- and offers co-op placements, paid internships and summer employment to help students and new grads gain career-level experience
Universities Canada’s mission keeps staff uplifted
Jessica Simoneau had been working at Universities Canada as a translation assistant just a few weeks when she found herself seated next to the president and CEO, Paul Davidson, at a meeting.
“That made me very nervous, but he was so welcoming and down-to-earth,” says Simoneau. “And getting such a positive sense from our leader really set the tone for the workplace.”
“During that meeting, HR shared that the most recent employee satisfaction survey results were extremely positive. I knew then and there that I wanted to work at Universities Canada for a long time.”
Four years later, Simoneau is now a full translator with the organization, which represents Canada’s universities at the national and international level.
That mission, says Philip Landon, vice-president and chief operating officer, “is something all of our employees hold dear to their hearts and is very important for their job satisfaction. What we do for our university members has a great impact on our country. And we recognize that having an engaged and happy staff means we serve our members best.”
Universities Canada staff have many reasons to be happy: an array of attractive benefits, including generous maternity and parental top-ups, a fitness subsidy, on-site daycare, scholarships for the children of staff, and at least five paid personal days a year – plus extra days as needed during the pandemic.
Maintaining esprit de corps is also important to Universities Canada, especially recently. “During each staff meeting on Zoom, they give us a chance to catch up with colleagues in small breakout rooms,” notes Simoneau. “The groups are random, so each time we have the opportunity to chat with different people.”
And while the pandemic ruled out an in-person all-staff retreat – an annual one-day affair combining work, fun and a good meal – the organization got creative. “Before our Zoom meeting, we sent out breakfast food baskets with croissants, fruit and marmalade to everybody,” says Landon.
Creating that sense of togetherness is something that Universities Canada has been fostering throughout the pandemic, says Landon. The organization has also been striving “to show a lot of flexibility, understanding and empathy toward young parents or people who had older parents to take care of. We didn’t try to adopt a one-size-fits all approach but to ensure that everybody recognized the different reality that their staff were working under. I think that showed why it’s an excellent place to work.”
No matter who you sit next to at a meeting.