The Correctional Service of Canada is working toward a goal of becoming a top 10 employer of choice within the federal government.
A call was put out to employees and alumni to find out what makes CSC a great place to work right now - what pillars of strength currently exist within the organization on which we can build to reach this goal.
Staff from across the country volunteered to express what keeps them engaged and inspired every day.
Unscripted and impromptu interviews with 25 of these volunteers quickly revealed that from coast to coast and throughout the organization, at every level, employees are saying, "I love the people I work with." "I'm supported in developing my career." "I believe in the work that I do."
We have excellence in our midst. We have success. We have passion.
Together we point the way forward, building on our strengths and shaping our future.
For me, the great leaders are the ones who say: "Here is the knowledge, let me share it with you."
They just always encourage us.
It's encouraging your staff. Giving them support and confidence, showing them that you value their work.
They really empower the people they work with to do their jobs to the best of their potential.
Engage your employees. Make them want to come to work and want to work for you.
They have a positive influence in our workplace. They're always helping us and giving us feedback.
It's always positive reinforcement. It's always: "What if we can do this?" or "How can we do this better?" You're always part of what's going on.
It's about the interaction with people, with your staff; that's leadership. It's about giving a clear and uncompromising direction and vision.
Here are our objectives, here's what we want to do and why we need to do it. That's when you know everyone's on the same page working toward a common goal.
They are able to make decisions and give us clear direction.
We feel supported in our decisions.
There's a sense of entrepreneurship, a feeling that you are able to do things differently.
One thing I notice with a good manager is a willingness to sit down with people to quickly resolve problems.
The leadership at the top is calm, cool and collected. That filters down to the employees.
It's easy to meet with your managers or send them an email. The door is always open, which always makes any staff member feel important.
The openness. No matter what your level, it's easy to speak to your manager, or even your manager's manager.
We have that good relation where I don't feel intimidated, and I don't feel ashamed, but I feel like: "Oh, well I can really build on this and improve."
The human element is always the most important. I've seen special accommodations made for employees, not just for myself, for others too, that are just amazing. I think: "They do that in the Service? Wow!" That's really great.
At the end of the day, a pat on the back or a handshake, "Hey, thank you for a great day and for all your hard work."
We do serious work here, and we are serious about our work, but we don't necessarily take ourselves too seriously.
Somebody from a senior management level, somebody from a warden level has come down and actually cares about what they're doing, interacts with them. And that pays huge dividends.
They ask you how your day is, ask you how your job is, how is the family?
Having a good leader who engages you in the process of change is indefinable. It makes the biggest difference.
And that's when I've seen some wonderful, amazing leaders, who have said: "I can't wait for you to be my boss." Isn't that great?
The most important thing for a successful team is that people have the same vision for the outcome.
No matter what endeavour I'm tasked with, or what challenges I take on, I'm supported by a large team here at CSC.
People are great, very supportive, very much a team.
Not only is my job interesting, but my coworkers are also second to none.
The feedback that you get from them, just knowing that you are there for each other.
We are all different. We have our strengths and weaknesses. We complete each other.
The camaraderie we have with everybody. I know everybody is willing to help one another.
They have a great sense of camaraderie between all the staff that works there, and I just find that it's a really fun place to work
I love the people I work with. We have a great time at work, and not only do I trust them on a work level, but also on a personal level.
Guilain Boulay :
You feel as though you belong, and you become a family. We're attentive to each other's needs.
We're like a family.
It's almost like a big family, so that you feel part of it. You feel that what you do matters.
Recognition has a positive effect in the workplace and on everyone. Whether it's as simple as "Good job!" or "Glad you're here today", or "Thanks for your contribution." Just little things make all the difference in the world.
When someone goes to recognize the work that you've done, I think it lets us step back and recognize that we're doing a good job. And then we can go home and be satisfied that we've helped somebody.
At the end of the day, managers will come and tell you: "It's been a hard day, but you did excellent work and I know what you did today."
They're not afraid to walk into your office and tell you you've done a great job, or send you an email. It's nice to know that someone higher up is actually reading what you send up.
The quiet person working diligently on maybe a less high profile job but just as important a job gets recognized as well.
And when we do a good job, say in a situation or anything, we always do get a call from the warden or one of the managers telling us what a good job we do. In most cases they would send it via email.
We have a good team of managers who aren't afraid to recognize their staff's hard work.
It just validates that I'm important as an individual in the workplace, and my work is appreciated.
Recognition can often be conveyed in just a few words. A simple thank you, an expression of appreciation.
We have people from various ethnic backgrounds, we have more Aboriginals working here, we have persons with disabilities. We have a lot more awareness of diversity and we have a lot of programs that help people to come into the workplace and to adapt to the workplace, for those who are disabled and might need special accommodation.
The organization has developed an Aboriginal correctional strategy which is beginning to produce results.
We've done remarkably well in attracting Aboriginals to being part of the employees' group.
We go to a lot of communities to try and talk to people of visible minorities and encourage them to come in and try CSC.
We work with people from various backgrounds.
When they can speak with employees from their home country, it certainly creates a different type of connection.
You learn about other cultures, you learn about diversity.
Johanne Vernet :
And this diversity brings something new every day. Along with new knowledge, it promotes personal growth and learning.
The organization does an excellent job at providing training or learning opportunities.
Continuing education. We get a lot of training, in many different fields of work.
They have offered funding for students to excel or accomplish goals, like getting a university degree or designations
Management has said that funds are available for learning, which means that some expenses can be reimbursed.
CSC provides an enormous amount of training. Some of it is voluntary, some of it is mandatory. They have all kinds of training for whatever you wish to do.
By promoting learning and by showing openness and understanding as to how continued learning can affect its employees; the organization is promoting a higher standard of excellence for its staff.
It's an amazing organization because we deal with real issues, we deal with real human beings, and you have the opportunity to do whatever you want to do.
The world is your oyster. There are so many opportunities, and so many rewards. It's really an exciting field of work.
When you come through the doors of CSC, you can roadmap your future. And if you want to stay in your position, that's fine. And if you don't want to, you have opportunities to move up.
There is opportunity for advancement and movement, and that's what talented people are looking for.
I was lucky enough to have managers who didn't hold me back by telling me: "No, you're needed here, you can't go."
I've had the opportunity to work in a multitude of areas dealing with a broad range of issues, from women offenders, Aboriginal issues, to health and mental health issues.
This employer offers work opportunities from coast to coast. I've worked in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, and now I'm with National Headquarters.
Within CSC there is a lot of room to do job shadowing so you can experience other jobs.
You get to see new things. You're not always doing the same thing. You get to see every aspect of your job.
To act in positions…
They'll let you act in different positions, and it really gives you an opportunity to try different things, so you never get bored.
For me, I don't feel I have to go anywhere different to do something different.
There is no more complex, dynamic or rewarding work in the public service than working in the Correctional Service of Canada
Working with the Correctional Service of Canada isn't just a job, it's a vocation.
Every day there is a different issue, there's something else going on.
Nobody's the same. No two days are the same. It's always a challenge.
We have some of the most advanced programming in the world.
All the things that you can learn in our business.
It's not a dream, it's a passion.
Great people that I'm working with, that are dedicated.
Every day has been like my first day. It's wonderful. We're a passionate bunch, we believe, we really believe it. And what a wonderful thing after 21 years to still feel like a kid. I still sometimes wake up at three in the morning thinking: "My God I'm so excited!"
I know I made the right choice.
I am who I am because I've been here. And who I'll be, I'm not sure. But I'll be with CSC - that I know.