Vancouver Island Health Authority employee performing environmental health inspection
Chosen as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers and British Columbia's Top Employers for 2013:
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors
(Oct 9, 2012)
Some of the reasons why VIHA
was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013
- unique head office building that features a variety of onsite amenities such as a co-operatively-run fitness facility (with $144 annual memberships), cafeteria with healthy menus, quiet room for reflection and religious observance, and nap room for employees who need a quick break during the busy day
- invests in ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, financial bonuses for some course completion and a unique scholarship program that is available to all employees
- also manages a mentorship program for new graduates entering the nursing industry to help them transition from student to healthcare practitioner
- supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 85% of salary for 17 weeks) as well as the option to extend their maternity leave beyond one year -- and employees at the Queen Alexandra hospital site can take andvantage of an onsite daycare centre
- depending on their position, employees can take advantage of a variety of alternative working arrangements, including telecommuting, flexible work hours and compressed work week options
- encourages employees to reduce their carbon footprints and leave the car at home, offering transit subsidies, onsite shower facilities for bicycle commuters, and a car-pool sign-up system
VIHA provides a full range of healthcare services to residents of Vancouver Island.
The Authority oversees, manages and coordinates healthcare delivery at more than 100 healthcare facilities, which include 11 acute care hospitals, long-term and residential care facilities, and healthcare centres in smaller communities. VIHA also provides rehabilitation services, home care services, and acute and community-based mental health services, while also managing a number of environmental and public health programs. The health authority serves over 750,00 residents of Vancouver Island, the Georgia Strait and mainland communities between Powell River and Rivers Inlet.
Industry: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals.
Major Canadian hiring locations: Victoria BC, Duncan BC, Nanaimo BC, Port Alberni BC, Tofino BC, Campbell River BC, Port Hardy BC.
Full-time employees in Canada: 8,098.
New jobs created in Canada last year: 375.
Part-time employees in Canada: 10,147.
Number of applications received at this location last year: 78,860.
Average age of all employees: 44.5.
Longest serving employee: 44.5 years.
VIHA's physical workplace is rated as above-average. VIHA's employees work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and healthcare facilities in urban settings to remote outposts only accessible by seaplane or boat. The organization's main administrative office is located in Begbie Hall at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, which is a designated heritage building founded in 1936 (with rumours that the ghost of a former matron roams the hallways to ensure order). With the recent state-of-the-art 500 bed Patient Care Centre addition, the hospital uniquely integrates the old with the new and is the largest facility located within a 26-acre campus setting. Inside, employees can take advantage of a cooperatively run onsite fitness facility (with subsidized memberships costing only $144 per year, treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing machines, weights, basketball courts, instructor-led classes, large screen television, and shower facilities); employee lounge (with comfortable seating as well as gas fireplaces, music and television in some areas); nap room; religious observance room; onsite cafeteria (with healthy menus, vending machines); onsite Tim Hortons, Good Earth Coffeehouse and Subway restaurants; secure bicycle parking; transit subsidies; car pool sign-up system; dedicated all-weather bike lockers and shower facilities for bicycle commuters; and a beautiful outdoor garden area surrounding the century old historic chapel.
Work Atmosphere & Communications
VIHA's work atmosphere is rated as very good. On the job, and depending on the position, employees enjoy business casual dress; casual dress Fridays; can listen to music while working; employee sports teams. Employees can also enroll their pets and bring to work through the hospital's Pet Volunteer Program. Across the VIHA, individual departments organize a variety of social events for employees. The Authority hosts events to recognize its longest serving and retiring employees. In a unique and appropriate initiative for a healthcare provider, 50 employee teams participated in the annual "Bike to Work Week" last year. The organization keeps employees up-to-date and gathers employee feedback through a company newsletter; corporate intranet site; traditional suggestion box; email suggestion box.
Financial Benefits & Compensation
VIHA's financial benefits are rated as very good. To keep salaries competitive the company participates in outside salary surveys every 24 months. Individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months. Along with ensuring that its pay levels remain competitive, VIHA provides defined contribution pension plan with employer contributions (up to 8.38% of salary); new employee referral bonuses (to $300 for some positions); life & disability insurance; retirement planning assistance.
Health & Family-Friendly Benefits
VIHA's health and family benefits are rated as very good. The Authority has separate plans for its union and non-union employees. There are four separate health benefits for its union groups, with coverage varying but similar and managed by Pacific Blue Cross. As part of the health plan, the employer pays 100% of the premiums. The maximum waiting period for new employees is 60 days. Family coverage is available on the health benefits plan. The basic plan includes routine dental; restorative dental; orthodontics; eyecare ($250 every 2 years); traditional medicine coverage; alternative medicine coverage; employee assistance (EAP) plan; medical equipment and supplies; physiotherapy; massage therapy; travel insurance. Depending on their employee group, health benefits may extend from 65 years of age to no age limit, with coverage restrictions for all employees after 65. All employees can take advantage of a smoking cessation program that including counselling and reimbursement (up to $300) for nicotine replacement therapies. Additional family-friendly benefits include; maternity top-up payments (to 85% of salary for 17 weeks); health benefits during maternity and parental leave; extended unpaid parental leave option (beyond the first year). Depending on their employee group, some employees receive additional parental leave top-up payments for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents (to 75% of salary for 10 weeks). Additional family-friendly benefits include; flexible working hours; 35-hour work week (with full pay); shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay); compressed work week; telecommuting; reduced summer hours program; earned days off (EDO) program; and compassionate top-up leave payments (to 100% of salary for three days).
Vacation & Personal Time-Off
VIHA's vacation and personal time-off are rated as above-average. New employees receive 4 weeks of vacation allowance after their first year. Vacation increases after 10 years on the job. Long-serving employees receive a maximum of 9 weeks of vacation each year. Employees receive 18 paid sick days every year. Employees can schedule 5 personal days off each year, as needed. Employees can also apply for an unpaid leave of absence. Depending on the position (union and non-union), employees can take short paid leave of absence for marriage leave (to 5 days), paternity leave (1 day), family emergency leave (to 2 days at any one time) and compassionate leave (to 5 days).
VIHA's employee engagement program is rated as average. Employees receive individual performance reviews every 12 months. Managers receive training in how to conduct effective performance reviews. Performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work. As part of the review process employees can provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance. Exit interviews are provided for departing employees; VIHA sponsors its own in-house employee satisfaction survey. VIHA hires an outside consultant to conduct confidential employee satisfaction and engagement surveys.
Training & Skills Development
VIHA's training and skills development program is rated as very good. Employees receive tuition subsidies for courses related to their position. Employees may also receive tuition subsidies for courses unrelated to their current position. VIHA operates a scholarship program in support of ongoing employee development. Scholarships are available to employees with casual, part-time, or full-time employment status, and requests are reviewed by a scholarship committee. Scholarships are provided to a maximum of $650 per applicant each year, subject to available funding, and in special cases, award amounts are greater. Recipients are expected to commit to a minimum of one year of service with VIHA. The Authority also offers sponsored post graduate (specialty) education opportunities to nurses, and if approved, VIHA sponsorship includes education costs and continued salary support. In addition, employees can also take advantage of subsidies for professional accreditations; in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades programs; formal mentoring program; financial bonuses for course completions; in-house training programs; online training programs; online employee skills inventory; new employee orientation program; formal management training program. In 2005, VIHA launched a mentorship program for new graduates in the nursing field. Each year, employee mentors help more than 200 RNs and RPNs in the early stages of their careers make the transition from student to healthcare practitioner -- through this program more than 90% of participants have chosen to continue their careers at VIHA. Based on the success of this program, VIHA has recently introduce a new mentorship program for candidates interested in non-clinical careers in the healthcare industry.
VIHA's community involvement program is rated as above-average. Beyond its mandate to provide quality healthcare services to the people of Vancouver Island, the Authority and its employees actively work with a number of community agencies and charitable organizations towards the same goal. Some examples include the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth Program (PARTY) to educate grade 10 students about the consequences of irresponsible drinking before they can drive; the annual United Way campaign; the Time-Colonist 10K Run; and the annual Bike to Work Week initiative to promote healthy commuting. 2.40.
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