A trio of Red River College initiatives focused on staff positivity have helped land RRC on Manitoba’s Top Employer list for the eighth year in a row.
Those initiatives include the College-wide wellness strategy known as Healthy Minds, Healthy College; Cheers for Peers, an ongoing peer-to-peer recognition program; and a day-long professional development event called RED Forum.
“These are the kinds of programs that can engage staff, help them interact with each other and dedicate time to growing themselves. It’s important for us to provide these types of resources on top of things like a solid health benefits plan, pension, and vacation to ensure staff are motivated and feel proud to work at the College,” says Lindsay Allen, Acting Director, Human Resource Services at RRC.
“These initiatives are positive incentives for self-improvement and peer recognition.”
Over the past year, major investments in the wellness and mental health of RRC employees have resulted in the hiring of a new, full-time Mental Health Coordinator responsible for the Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative, and for ensuring that RRC is a mentally healthy place to work and learn.
Healthy Minds, Healthy College achievements over the past year include a #SICKNOTWEAK talk by TSN and Bell Let’s Talk Day speaker Michael Landsberg, who raised awareness and sparked real conversation about mental health with staff; the College-wide adoption of a new mental health training program from the Mental Health Commission of Canada; the second annual Get Movin’ Challenge, which saw more than 320 employees attempting to log a minimum of 7,000 steps per day; and RRC’s first annual THRIVE Mental Health Awareness Week in October, which delivered 23 events to staff across all campuses.
“Our employees and students are thrilled to see all this happening — the education, activities and conversation. They know help is available, and the conversation creates a greater feeling or normalcy,” says Laureen Janzen, Manager of Counselling & Accessibility Services at RRC. “We’re hoping to send the message that RRC is a place where everyone is encouraged to take care of themselves and each other — mentally and physically.”
This past year the College also launched Cheers for Peers, built on two years of research and consultation with over 150 employees. The result is a simple recognition experience between two employees via a handwritten card. Since the program was launched, more than 1,600 cards have been written.
RED Forum is a new, full-day professional development event for all 2,600 full- and part-time College employees. Focused on Relationships, Education and Direction, the inaugural RED Forum was launched in May 2016. Sessions were delivered by employees and external facilitators on a broad range of professional development topics. The day is also an opportunity for staff who may only know each other by email to connect and get to know each other face-to-face.