Using the Right Supports to Build a Resilient Team

The unique demands of working in emergency services have been exacerbated over the past few years. E-Comm’s dedicated team of emergency communications professionals take extreme pride in being able to get members of the public the help they need as quickly as possible, so it can be very challenging for them to see people in need of help waiting to have their calls answered.

When dealing with life-threatening emergencies and high-stress situations is the norm for an organization’s employees, it is critical to adapt to their evolving needs so they can be supported in the best ways possible. As an organization, E-Comm is currently exploring enhanced ways to foster and support its teams, so they can keep providing the important public safety service that they are so proud of while looking after their own mental health and physical wellbeing.

From call-taking to dispatch, an emergency communications centre can be a difficult environment to work in. It is critically important that the right people are working in these roles and, even more so, that they are receiving the right support from the organization to ensure their success. As part of E-Comm’s work in this area, finding new ways to offer realistic job previews to those interested in joining its team is a continued priority. To better prepare these new recruits for a fulfilling career in emergency communications, recent changes have been made to existing call taker onboarding and training processes. On-the-job training improvements by way of a new Peer Coach program have been instituted. Borne directly from staff feedback, this new program is meant to better coach and develop the newest members of the team.

“This new team of peer coaches focuses on transforming our approach to on-the-job training by creating a safe and learner centric environment, creating consistency and enhancing the experience for our new call takers. This is such an important milestone for E-Comm, offering not only a team dedicated to our new call takers but a valuable resource for others in the emergency communications centre to turn to as well.”

Jeremy Gordon,
Supervisor, Coaching and Development
People Illustration Clip

E-Comm is also focusing recruitment efforts on identifying a wide-range of diverse candidates who embody the right skills and motivation to provide critical frontline emergency communications services to the communities it serves. Whether hiring for Technology, Human Resources, Finance or another department, a proactive approach is being taken to attract candidates who are purpose-driven and empowered to work collaboratively on meaningful initiatives that truly make a difference.

To support employees with the demands and pressures associated to the work they do, E-Comm has partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser in adapting its Resilient MindsTM training specifically for the organization to build resiliency within teams and focus on destigmatizing the need for support. This program is being created with the understanding that the unique day-to-day challenges E-Comm staff face requires a dedicated approach to one’s overall wellness including an individual’s physical, emotional, financial and psychological wellbeing. This training will be launched in 2022 in addition to the other resources, training modules and programs that currently exist to support E-Comm staff, including the Critical Incident Stress debriefing program—an important support offered to all staff following a difficult call or stressful incident.

Representatives from E-Comm's Team Lead, Peer Coach and Training groups learned about coaching best practices to better support our emergency communications centre staff. Pictured from top left: Kareema Chaudhry, Sam Bruehler, Michelle Beaubien, Mehran Khanjian, Jeremy Gordon, Candice Windbiel, Medina Kovacevic, Meagan Sloan and Natalie Harding.

Efforts are also underway to ensure the organization better reflects the diverse communities it serves in British Columbia, and continues to take steps to learn in the areas of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. E-Comm recognizes that learning and unlearning biases in addition to finding new and meaningful ways to partner with community allies in areas of recruitment, learning and development, and employee engagement will help the organization evolves its culture.

As part of this work, E-Comm is committed to building safe spaces for its employees to learn and feel supported as they continue to show up for others. These transformational changes will occur through conversation, training and programs that are currently being invested in at the corporate level.

When teams are supported, E-Comm’s partners and British Columbians get the excellent service they deserve. The organization continues to seek out new ways to build the team of the future. One that is diverse, resilient and passionate about the work they do so we can work together to make British Columbia the safest province in Canada.