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Staff and students enjoying the new Active Living Centre

Staff and students enjoying the new Active Living Centre

U of M named one of Manitoba’s top employers

November 23, 2015 — 

Maintaining its position at the head of the class, the University of Manitoba has once again earned top marks as an exceptional employer.

Its commitment to providing the best possible workplace is embedded in the post-secondary institution’s latest strategic plan that hinges on communication at all levels.

For Gregory Juliano, associate vice-president of human resources, it’s evident the University of Manitoba is a place where people want to work.

“We have incredibly low staff turnover rates,” he says, “and we hear from employees that there are a lot of great things they like about working at the university.”

To start, the University of Manitoba offers outstanding initiatives that include top-notch pension plans and a full range of employee benefits. Like many staff members, Juliano appreciates the onsite child-care centre, which is subsidized by the university.

“It’s important to us to have good work-life balance and to be effective at work,” Juliano says. “Child care is one of the critical supports.”

With a focus on continuous learning, employees have access to ongoing educational programs including a full calendar of 191 sessions offered this term.

“Employees really love it because they can get training in-house that is customized to the university environment,” Juliano says.

“That gives them an edge to compete for promotions and helps them plan a career path through the university.”

Employees are also encouraged to engage in broader training opportunities bolstered through a tuition reimbursement program that allows them to pursue for-credit courses at the University of Manitoba and beyond.

Dedicated to creating an inclusive environment, the University of Manitoba encourages diversity and seeks ways to break down barriers to accessibility on campus.

Lukas Neville, an assistant professor at the Asper School of Business, values the university’s commitment to creating a respectful work environment. Through his involvement on the President’s Advisory Committee on Respect, Neville conducts research on people’s experiences of respect and disrespect in the workplace.

“What really strikes me is the openness of the university to this kind of research. It’s a great place to work, and they’re interested in finding out what’s happening for employees in order to improve it on an ongoing basis,” Neville says.

“We see a lot of different organizations that are not interested in different perspectives or in hearing about problems. One of the things that’s unique and special here is that there’s this openness towards improvement.”

Christine Cyr, director of the Indigenous Student Centre, also appreciates the university’s supportive environment, which fosters a sense of belonging for its 2,100 self-identified Indigenous students.

“As an Indigenous person, I feel so proud to be part of the work that’s happening here. It’s amazing. Probably one of the most important things is that I feel connected to the university. I feel like I belong here,” she says.

“There is a true commitment from the university towards Indigenous achievement and success. The opportunities that we have to connect with the non-Indigenous community on campus are also incredible.”

The university’s mental health strategy is another aspect Cyr appreciates.

“We’re doing a lot of things from a holistic perspective that focus on wellness, so that’s in line with my personal values,” she says.

She is also grateful for the opportunity to have been chosen as the successful candidate from the university to participate in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. This experience allowed her to travel across the country to meet the leaders from government, industry and social service organizations.

“Because of my experience, I’m going to be the champion every year to make sure that somebody from the University of Manitoba is able to go,” she says. “The value that it brings to the work that I’m doing here is immeasurable.”

John Danakas, executive director of public affairs, continues to enjoy the invigorating atmosphere after nearly two decades of working at the University of Manitoba.

“You’re around people who are pursuing their dreams in the students. You’re around people who are experts in a wide variety of fields with professors. You’re around people who are committed to and enjoy facilitating learning,” he says.

“It’s just a great energizing environment and I continue to enjoy it after almost 20 years.”

This article was originally published in the Manitoba’s Top 25 Employers 2016 supplement that appeared in the November 23, 2015 issue of the Winnipeg Free Press.

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