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Proud to be named a Saskatchewan Top Employer (2021)

On February 4th, COR was recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers for 2021 – our 4th straight year to receive this recognition! We are both humbled and proud of this accomplishment. Thank you to our entire COR family; we are so tremendously grateful to work alongside such compassionate, caring people!

Dedicated employees propel leading Saskatchewan employers

Support workers at Creative Options Regina don’t see themselves as punching the clock, earning a wage or, to quote a classic rock tune, working for the weekend.

“It’s that whole sense of making a difference,” says Michael Lavis, chief executive officer of the non-profit organization that provides a variety of at-home social services for individuals with mental health and/or intellectual disabilities.

“We’re typically working with a group of people who don’t necessarily fit into traditional models of care,” Lavis says, adding that clients face challenges involving health care, mental health, social services and justice.

That means crafting care for each individual client.

“With us, it’s about meeting the person where they’re at,” he says.

Workers at the organization take that duty to heart, continuing to serve clients even in less-than-ideal conditions — such as a pandemic.

The importance of their work is one reason why Creative Options is among Saskatchewan’s Top Employers in 2021.

The Top Employers program, managed by Mediacorp Canada Inc., recognizes workplaces not only for offering excellent compensation, exceptional workplace culture and nifty perks. It also selects organizations that are exceptionally good at engaging their employees.

And no workers are more engaged than those who believe their role is to make the world a better place.

Employees at First Nations Bank of Canada — another Top Employer in Saskatchewan — also feel that sense of doing good through their efforts at the financial institution that serves Indigenous people, businesses and their communities.

“In some places, we are the only bank around,” says Leigh Solomon, vice-president of retail banking at the bank. “And so many employees have taken great pride in still being open to serve these communities during the pandemic.”

Their roles have included providing in-person banking to a handful of clients who lack internet and even phone connections. At other times, they have walked customers through the process of using online banking services so they don’t have to visit a branch.

Kevin Michael, vice-president of commercial banking, says First Nations Bank of Canada employees recognize their role isn’t just providing financial services. It’s about helping Indigenous communities build their economies and generate wealth.

“What we do really benefits people’s lives in northern communities,” he says, adding many employees are from northern Saskatchewan.

A similar sense of purpose is shared among Creative Options Regina employees, which is a good thing because demand for services has expanded during COVID-19, Lavis notes.

The fact the organization has been able to meet this demand is “testament” to the efforts of its staff.

“We attract good people because of what we do,” Lavis says. “Still, even I’m just really amazed how everyone stepped up in this difficult time.”

As an employer, Creative Options Regina has looked to help its staff be at its best by creating a workplace that meets their needs while addressing any concerns. That has built a united organization.

“When you have that sense of common purpose — you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself and you’re making a difference — the job doesn’t feel much like work anymore.”

 

2021 Winners

Here are the 2021 winners of the Saskatchewan’s Top Employers competition. Click an employer name to read our editors’ full Reasons for Selection:

Read the full article published in the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon Star Pheonix on February 4th, 2021: https://www.canadastop100.com/sk/

 

Our families our coming together!

Over the past several months, COR and Inclusion Regina have been working together to unite our families — consolidating our operations will enhance the programs currently available for people experiencing disability within our community.  Considered complementary to one another, the two organizations will benefit from joining forces because of the increased critical mass that will result, allowing the expansion of services and the potential to add new services.

The people served by Inclusion Regina and Creative Options Regina deserve the best opportunities we can provide. People served, their families and employees will see ‘more’ and ‘better’ as we join forces to make the best use of our resources; our funders will see greater efficiency and stronger outcomes too.

We look forward to an exciting future — building an inclusive community — together!

Visit: www.inclusionregina.ca or www.creativeoptionsregina.ca

 

 

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!!

One of the most important questions I ask every new applicant that wants to join COR is why did you apply here and most will say it’s because they want to help people. Whenever I’m gathering feedback in our annual survey about what everyone likes about COR, the vast majority of answers will say they love the people. And whenever I’m meeting with someone to do an exit interview, I’ll ask what they will miss the most about COR and everyone always says they’ll miss the people.

It is with a heavy heart that I announce I will be transitioning out of my role with COR to join the Human Resources Team at the University of Regina. This is something that found me by surprise and presents an opportunity to further my professional development in such a way that I couldn’t miss out on. Although I am excited for this new challenge, it feels bittersweet because I’m also saddened to leave you all. There’s nothing that can replace the culture at COR. We’ve got something really special here and I’m forever grateful that I got to be part of it. I’ve grown as a person in ways that I could never have imagined and probably still haven’t fully realized.

I remember applying for the position on a whim with tempered expectations and soon after found myself feeling excited about the possibility of becoming part of something very unique. I remember saying I’d be happy to fill any position available and upon stepping into my role I felt like it was too good to be true. I remember thinking about how I didn’t want to fail or let anyone down or have someone find out I wasn’t good enough. For the first several months I referred to a dozen different sticky notes and jotted down things like “don’t say shift!” or “what’s a CLSD?” What I learned very quickly was that COR is a safe place to learn and grow. You can make mistakes, step out of your comfort zone and truly make a positive impact in the lives of others. I’ve been lucky enough to be here for almost four years and in that time I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming many of you into this family and watching many others develop into absolute rock stars.

You are all amazing people and you have taught me so much in ways I cannot describe. You are the most caring, compassionate and supportive people I’ve ever met and I’m grateful to have worked with you. As COR continues to thrive in the community, challenge the status quo and change the way our society views and values people, I am excited to watch and support all the work that will continue to make our community a better place.

Thank you COR for taking a chance on someone who didn’t know much other than the fact he wanted to help people. I am grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had to grow personally and professionally. It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!!

Rory McCorriston,

COR Family Member

 

Caring for the caregivers is key for Creative Options Regina

Caring for the caregivers is key for Creative Options Regina

Employees at Creative Options Regina with a client. Supplied photo  

The job of providing supports for people with disabilities or those struggling with their mental health can take a heavy toll, though Creative Options Regina discovered when you care for the caregivers it benefits both the clients and the company.

This is their second year being named as one of Saskatchewan’s top employers. This year will mark Creative Options Regina’s 10th year in business though executive director Michael Lavis notes it was about seven years ago when the company started to refocus their efforts to create a healthier and happier work environment for their employees.

“The field of work we are in may not be physically demanding, but it’s very emotionally demanding,” he explained. “We need to ensure our employees feel supported and have the supports they need to be doing well both physically and mentally to be able to provide the quality care.”

Lavis said the key to providing this supportive work environment was to understand the needs and wants of their employees, which he credits as being the non-profit’s most valuable assets, and make sure they felt valued, respected and that their voices were being heard.

Not only do they offer their more than 200 employees flexible hours — including the opportunity to work shortened and condensed work weeks — and the option to telecommute, they also encourage the employees to share their passions — leading to the introduction of a number of sports teams, clubs and fun nights out.

“It’s about facilitating relationships both in and outside of work,” Lavis said. “When you think about the amount of time people spend in the workplace throughout their life, you would hope they have those relationships and connections with their coworkers.”

Putting these extracurricular activities in place is generally at a very minimal cost to Creative Options Regina, Lavis said. Even when there is a fee — such as the $1,000 entry fee to participate in the Regina Dragon Boat Festival — the amount of time and the number of employees who come out to support is more than worth it.

“All summer long they practice once a week, they’re engaged in this physical activity and connecting by doing something that they all love. So to me, thats $1,000 well spent,” he said. “Sometimes you just have to give it a try.”

Though Lavis notes it’s not always easy to manage the different needs of all their employees, he says this approach has also helped them retain employees longer — which in turn has helped maintain a sense of trust with their clients alongside the high quality of care they are known to provide.

“In the support services sector the turnover rate is quite, quite high and we’ve been year after year between nine and 14 per cent — which is a fraction of the provincial average,” Lavis finishes. “I believe a big part of that is because of the work environment we are cultivating and the attention we pay to our employees.”

Click here to view article on the Leader-Post site.

 

Proud to be a 2018 Saskatchewan Top Employer

On January 24th, 2018, COR became a TOP Employer in Saskatchewan! We are proud to receive this recognition and are truly grateful for all those who have supported us on our journey! A special THANK YOU to our 185+ team of young, passionate professionals who are dedicated to nurturing a culture of compassion in the work place. We too are grateful to our partners, funders, supporters, family members and the people we serve for their continued support. I invite you to read our story below…

Take a peek at COR’s organizational profile online on Eluta.

Read more about Canada’s Top 100 here.

Casino Night – Support Appreciation at the Artesian

Being WITH one another is one of the main lessons I have grown to appreciate since being introduced to Gentle Teaching.

Often when I have the chance to catch up with somebody I have not seen for a while, the question always seems to pop up: “So, where are you working these days?”. This is a funny question for me to answer because when you truly find something that you are passionate about and enjoy doing on a daily basis, it’s no longer considered work – this is how Gentle Teaching has transformed me as a person. After graduating high school, I soon found myself at a job that did not offer any growth for myself as an individual. A cooking job that provided forty hours a week, but had me asking myself if this is really how I want to spend the next however many years of my life, at a job where I simply show up for a nine to five shift, then go home. I can imagine that I was among millions of people who couldn’t wait to be done work to get home and relax, dreading the thought of having to go back the next day. I needed a change, especially knowing that I had much more inside of me than that. COR was an option that I had considered applying for, but was ambiguous about at first. It’s the type of organization that was very unfamiliar to me solely because I was one of many who had the common attitude that people with a disability may be seen as troublesome and based my perception on the idea of their “behaviour”. I took a blind leap into Gentle Teaching and soon realized that a critical part of this culture of gentleness is shedding these beliefs and valuing people for who they are. Now, two years later, I have found myself buried so deep in the lives of the individuals I serve that the thought of not seeing them throughout the week is unnerving.

With COR, I now find myself getting lost in the moment with these individuals that I can honestly call my friends, forgetting about time all-together. From being part of a fast paced, aggressive work environment in the past, to now being a part of a community that practices Gentle Teaching in every aspect in life is truly a blessing. Gentle Teaching has helped me focus on building a sense of companionship and community with those that I serve and that there is no nine to five shift when it comes to being involved in others lives. The relationships you create and maintain with others directly revolves around the time you invest with them, being WITH one another is one of the main lessons I have grown to appreciate since being introduced to Gentle Teaching. This philosophy is truly something special, something you can’t just turn on or off when it fits. I believe it’s the unconditional compassion for others in which we all have inside of us.

 

Sawyer, COR Support