Fostering a sense of community amongst staff

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Ancil London spends his days at Sunnybrook assisting with audio-visual requests for the hospital’s 10,000 , volunteers and physicians.  Every Wednesday evening, he hits the basketball court and blows off some steam for a couple of hours.  What’s different about his basketball team?  Ancil is sinking hoops with other Sunnybrook employees from across the hospital.

“We’re literally an interdisciplinary team,” says Ancil, audio-visual technician at Sunnybrook, with a laugh.  “The team is a mix of staff providing frontline care, support staff and everything in between.  Thanks to the basketball team, I’ve built amazing friendships with people across the hospital that I would have likely never met under normal circumstances.”

The basketball team is just one of several sports teams formed as a result of Sunnybrook’s Quality of Work and Life Program.  The program’s overarching goal is to ensure staff are coming to work in the best possible mental and physical condition.

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“Over the last few years, we’ve focused on building teams at work to develop, more and more, our sense of community,” explains Marilyn Reddick, Vice President of Human Resources, Organizational Development and Leadership at Sunnybrook.  “Forming basketball, soccer, volleyball and hockey teams at the hospital has created a sense of fun, allowing staff to play together and keep stress in check.”

Sports teams are not the only focus of the Quality of Work and Life Program.  There are other wellness programs, including yoga, pilates and Zumba classes, as well as onsite fitness centres at two of the hospital’s campuses. Another element includes fostering a family-friendly environment, with an on-site daycare at Sunnybrook’s largest campus and opportunities for flexible work schedules.  The hospital strives to attract and retain staff with families, and was named as one of Canada’s Top Family-Friendly Employers for several years in a row.  And of course recognition and celebration are an important part of the program, with opportunities for development for all roles across the hospital.

“By supporting life-long learning and career development through courses, financial assistance for education, and a culture where we are all teachers and learners, we are ensuring that you can live and grow your career at Sunnybrook,” says Reddick.  “We want to ensure our staff are happy, challenged and rewarded for the hard work that they put in everyday.”

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For Ancil, the experience of bonding with fellow staff has helped contribute to his satisfaction at work.  “I look forward to coming to work every day,” says Ancil.  “It often feels like the people I work with are more than just colleagues, they’re teammates.”