ON FEB. 7, the Ottawa Citizen announced that the University of Ottawa made the 2012 list for the National Capital Region’s Top 25 Employers. The 2012 ranking marks the third consecutive year the U of O has been included.
“Being recognized in this way for the third year in a row is truly a reflection of the quality of those who work here,” said Allan Rock, U of O president, in a press release from the university’s media room. “We are thankful for the daily efforts of our professors and support staff, for it is their contributions that make U of O such a fantastic place to work.”
The annual competition accepts employer applications and is sponsored by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The National Capital Region’s Top Employers list ranks workplaces based on eight factors: Physical workplace; work and social atmosphere; health, financial, and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. The list represents companies that a selection board has deemed progressive and forward thinking in comparison to their peers.
“The University of Ottawa has an exceptional community,” said Maria Scopelliti, University of Ottawa’s media relations officer, in an email to the Fulcrum. “A strong emphasis is placed on providing a workplace where employees want to stay and make long-term contributions—staff retention is extremely high.”
Scopelliti noted the criteria for making the list match up closely with the university’s own goals to offer employees “total compensation.”
“Total compensation at the U of O includes reduced summer hours; extended holiday season vacation; flex hours; free tuition for employees, their spouses, and children; free second-language training for spouses; subsidized gym membership; free access to select sports services; library access; study leave; sabbaticals; defined benefit pensions; phased-in retirement for professors; free training and development workshops; scholarship programs; [and] opportunity to serve the community,” she explained.
Scopelliti also said the university is working to ensure it remains a desirable place to work by catering to the unique needs of each employee, from the time they begin working through to retirement. The school seeks to foster a strong sense of community through things like volunteer projects, fitness activities, community barbecues, and celebrating special events.
“Our continuous effort to offer staff the best all-encompassing work experience will allow us to uphold our reputation as a highly respected employer,” said Scopelliti.
Catherine Boutin, academic assistant for the Faculty of Social Sciences, told the Fulcrum the ranking didn’t surprise her, as her two years of employment with the university have been enjoyable.
“The pay is good, the time off is good at Christmas—it doesn’t count as your vacation time, so that’s always a bonus,” said Boutin. “So far my experience with my employer through my supervisor has been very good, so that’s probably one of the things as well. There’s a lot of training available for people who want to get better at stuff, so I suppose that’s all part of it.”
Boutin also noted the university is looking into implementing a new customer service training project so employees will have the tools necessary to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, which she thinks will add to her already positive experience.
“It’s been really good,” said Boutin of her employment. “The team here is a lot of fun to work with, everyone’s supportive, and it’s nice to see immediate consequences to what you’re doing.”