Shaping Our Corporate Culture: City of Edmonton Recognized Nationally

Shifting the direction of any sizable organization is often compared to steering a large ship. You need a strong lookout focused on charting the course to success and a motivated team on deck to guide the ship to shore.

Debbie Figuera is part of the City of Edmonton’s 400-membership crew also known as the Culture Ambassador Program. Her role as an Ambassador means being a leader in her work environment and being approachable if colleagues have ideas or suggestions on how they can work together.

“What a difference the past eight months have made since becoming a Culture Ambassador,” says Debbie. “Who knew that by taking that initial step, it would open so many doors for me. This program has given me an opportunity to become an asset in my department by sharing information with my colleagues on the front lines. ”

Over the past five years the City has steadily been investing resources into creating a corporate culture that would support the delivery of the Way Ahead strategic plan. On February 2, 2015 those efforts received national acclaim.

The City of Edmonton received Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures award in the Broader Public Sector category from Waterstone Human Capital, an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting for fit.

Edmonton is the first municipality to ever receive this designation. The award, in its 11th year, recognizes the best corporate cultures of Canadian organizations–those that contribute to the engagement of their employees and the performance of their organization. The winners were chosen by a panel of experts based on six measurement criteria, including: vision and leadership; recruitment and hiring for fit; cultural alignment and measurement; retention, rewards and recognition; organizational performance; and, corporate social responsibility.

“One of the conditions for success for the Way Ahead plan is an environment where employees are able to work more efficiently and collaboratively in the way they serve citizens,” said Simon Farbrother, City Manager. “This award is a significant achievement for our organization and one that we are very proud of. The success of our efforts to date is solidly grounded in the leadership of our employees.”

So, what is it about the City of Edmonton that contributes to a great corporate culture?

Well, it could be our award-winning Citizen Dashboard, the grassroots Culture Ambassador Program, internationally-recognized social media recruitment initiatives, designation as a top Canadian diversity employer, the City’s focus on developing leadership capacity, community outreach programs, The Way Ahead strategic plan or our high level of employee engagement.

“The City of Edmonton has put a lot of time into thinking strategically about building a great city,” says Jennifer Mondoux, Managing Director, Waterstone Human Capital. “Terrific leadership from City Manager Simon Farbrother and great examples of cultural alignment and accountability, particularly through the implementation of a Citizen Dashboard. Some very innovative things are being done here and they are well deserving of this award and recognition.”