2011-12 EMPLOYEES’ CHOICE AWARDS (excerpt)

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal newspaper and website.
Jan. 23, 2012 (& Jan. 24 on OBJ.ca)

(The following three profiles are part of a collection of 10 articles written by Krystle Chow, Elizabeth Howell, Peter Kovessy and Greg Markey, highlighting the best workplaces in Ottawa as chosen by their employees.)

Ernst & Young LLP: Accounting for employee goals

Ernst & Young employees.
From left: Angel Estrada, Deanna Monaghan, Natalie Proctor, Carlos Lewis and Amy Yang.
Photo by MARK HOLLERON for the Ottawa Business Journal.

Founded: 1906
Employees: 163
ECAs: 3

For three-time Employees’ Choice Awards winner Ernst & Young LLP, the key to having happy employees is constant communication and ensuring that workers’ needs and long-term aspirations are met.

But perhaps one of the most distinctive initiatives Ernst & Young has is its counselling program, in which each employee is assigned a coach to help with career planning and achieving their mid- and long-term professional goals.

“It’s important for us to understand people’s objectives and goals from a professional perspective and make sure that is what we can offer to them,” says Ms. Monaghan, adding this has helped the company attract and retain skilled staff in a tight labour market.

Ernst & Young’s global reach means employees also have the opportunity to take advantage of overseas training and work terms, giving them new challenges and variety in their work. For instance, the firm has taken on staff for a two-year transfer from the Middle East, Italy and Switzerland, while Ottawa employees have done exchanges to Chicago and New York City, among other locations.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn different cultures and see other parts of the world, while continuing in the same professional capacity,” says Ms. Monaghan.

Understanding employees’ needs also includes offering employees the flexibility to adjust their hours or work from home, she adds.

It all helps to foster an environment where people feel their ideas and views are welcomed and valued, Ms. Monaghan says.

“One thing staff tell us all the time is how there’s a positive, strong culture where people enjoy working with each other. It’s very co-operative and people team well, with a strong culture of respect, and there’s a variety with the work performed so it’s not repetitive and people are challenged by the work they do.”

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