Capilano University recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers

The annual competition names CapU among five other post-secondary institutions.

Omar Salem, Contributor 

As if turning 50 was not enough to be ecstatic about, Capilano University has been recognized as one of British Columbia’s Top 100 Employers. Every year, the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers host a competition recognizing those within the province who provide an exceptional work experience for employees. Also recognized were BCIT, Douglas College, SFU, UBC and the University of the Fraser Valley.  

Associate Vice-President of Human Resources, Mike Knudson, explained that being recognized in this way acknowledges that a certain bar has been met, and that it positions the University well in terms of branding and marketing. “The big challenge for many employers in the Lower Mainland is that it is a very tight market, the cost of living here is expensive,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of people coming into the community because of that, and so, we have to differentiate ourselves.” In a job market that has been described by some as one of the tightest in Canada, this could not be truer. “You talk to our employees, and everybody says… ‘I love the place, I love the students, I love the work environment, I love my colleagues’.  But it’s our North Shore secret – we’ve got to tell other people about it”.  

The annual competition audits employers via the same eight criteria they have since the list was first released 14 years ago. Two areas of focus that seem to have put many employers onto this list were their commitment to developing the skills of their employees and the benefits they offered. With an exceptional benefits package provided to employees, accessibility to administration and ample opportunity for continuous growth, it is no surprise that CapU was recognized.  

CapU administers a fairly regular survey to gauge how employee engagement is trending. Knudson said that one of the things that comes back loud and clear is the amount of time spent developing people’s leadership skills. In September of 2018, the University launched a whole suite of leadership training opportunities for employees, irrespective of their position. When job vacancies open up, administration first looks to hire internally, which is why cultivating a workforce that projects leadership qualities is so invaluable. Moreover, it makes people want to stay. 

Being named as one of BC’s Top 100 Employers, however, does not equate to being satisfied. Knudson made it very clear that here at CapU becoming complacent is not an option, and that the University’s administration is constantly looking for ways to improve so that it can one day gain the recognition as one of Canada’s Top 100. Being recognized at the provincial level is great, but Knudson said there is always room for improvement. “Now that we’ve had a little bit of experience at the BC level, my team and others in the organization are looking at who was successful in the top 100 (nationally), and then say, ‘what is it that they did differently’, and is that something that makes sense for us as an organization to pursue”.  

The Capilano Courier asked Knudson what his personal thoughts were, and what made, to him, CapU a top-100-worthy place to work. “Absolutely the people,” he said. “The benefits are great, the location is great… But at the end of the day for me, it’s the people.”  

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