This morning, St.Amant was officially announced as one of Manitoba’s top 30 employers in a special supplement in the Winnipeg Free Press.
As St.Amant approaches a milestone with their 60th anniversary in 2019, the organization continues to be a leader in service delivery for people with developmental disabilities and autism. St.Amant now has over 1,800 staff and offers services in over 100 locations in Manitoba. With a spirit of innovation and a strong desire to carry on the mission of the Grey Nuns, St.Amant is evolving to fill unmet needs in our community.
The organization has initiated the development of their next five-year strategic plan. To ensure the plan is relevant and that St.Amant is indeed meeting the needs of its community and heading in the right direction, their strategic planning process involves wide stakeholder consultation with families, funders, partners and their staff.
“Our staff are the ones delivering services every day and in a person- and family-centred way. We need their input to ensure that as we move forward we’re not only meeting our community’s needs, but taking into account how we best meet the needs of the people we’re already serving. We know that relationships and involvement in the community are important to everyone and our staff are the ones that help facilitate friendships, meaningful work, volunteer opportunities and quality recreation. The input from staff is a critical piece of our planning,” said John Leggat, President and CEO.
St.Amant’s role in the community goes beyond just service provision. As one of the largest disability agencies in the province, they also believe they have a duty and role to advocate for positive change in our province. That means working with other agencies and stakeholders to look at training standards for their staff and how agencies measure success. A person-centred approach means that success is achieved when the people they are supporting are able to reach the goals they set out for themselves. This can be a challenge when our community hasn’t quite learned how to fully include people with developmental disabilities.
“There are people we support who can get all kinds of volunteer work, but what they really want is paid employment. Helping them find employment can be more challenging. Loneliness is also a challenge for people with disabilities. We need skilled staff that can help people with communication challenges make meaningful friendships,” said Leggat.
Employment opportunities abound at this ever-growing organization in all kinds of roles. From clinical staff in the areas of psychology and social work, to nurses and administrative positions, there are always opportunities to join the team. The most common opportunities are in direct support, a role where you work hands-on with people with disabilities to ensure that they are participating in life in a meaningful way. This job lets staff build relationships in the community, with family members and most important, with the people they are supporting. This is a great job for people who are motivated by supporting and encouraging choice and independence and are rewarded by seeing people achieve their goals.
As clichéd as it may sound, the employees really are the biggest asset at this people-focused organization. Knowing that, St.Amant works hard to offer excellent support to its staff. Staff have access to excellent training and development opportunities. Some are formal and required for their role and many are self-directed. The organization hosts an on-site Toastmasters group, English at Work for newcomers, many health and wellness benefits, such as a low cost gym, meditation and mindfulness activities and encourages staff to work together to come up with new and innovative ideas.
St.Amant employees are generous and definitely care about the people they support. In fact, St.Amant has one of the highest staff engagement rates in fundraising to support the St.Amant Foundation. Every year, staff volunteer at the St.Amant Foundation’s signature fundraising event, the Free the Spirit Festival.
“Staff see the benefits of their donations and volunteer efforts. From new connections made through the St.Amant Leisure Guide, to new customized wheelchairs and equipment, proceeds raised at the Free the Spirit Festival have lasting effects all year long,” said Juliette Mucha, Director, St.Amant Foundation.
Staff are truly part of the community and also support other local charities such as the Christmas Cheer Board, Winnipeg Harvest, Manitoba Marathon, Dragon Boat Festival and the Movement Centre Bike Race.
St.Amant is proud of their work environment and corporate culture making them one of Manitoba’s Top Employers for the seventh year.
St.Amant began a pilot program where key staff like Martine Lebron (from left), Lovleen Paul and Linda Tetreault, received training to become mindful practice advocates. These advocates acknowledge and encourage the mindful behaviours and actions that they notice in their co-workers, as well as share information, or mindful moments at shift changes or staff meetings. Photo by Darcy Finley
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