Maintaining a Healthy Work-life Balance
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance matters to us and is an important aspect of our workplace. Team members are stimulated to participate in outside-work activities that will keep them going when the science gets rough. Many of our team, including staff, postdocs and PhD students, have families. Many immerse themselves in outdoor opportunities provided by Calgary’s geography, or other activities.
Open and Transparent Communication
Open and transparent communication is of vital importance. Our team was an early adopter of Slack, which we still use very actively. We also regularly have workshops on aspects of inclusion, such as differences among cultures, personalities and mental health. When inviting speakers and guests, we invite diversely, so that team members can connect to possible role models.
Create a Positive and Inclusive Training Environment
By creating a positive and inclusive training environment and avoiding favoritism, we try to build trust and self-confidence. This enables our team members to benefit from honest and critical feedback, leading to effective learning and success. Our expectation is that by creating a positive experience, more trainees with diverse backgrounds might make positive choices for rewarding careers.
Inclusiveness is also realized by recruitment procedures. We advertise new positions on social media and at conferences to build diverse pools of talented candidates. The entire team inclusively participates in the selection process, to enable a well rounded assessment of the candidates. For each candidate, we ask ourselves what they bring to the table, which we do not yet have. That way, we stay complementary to each other, fostering diversity and collaboration.
Training for a Mix of Career Trajectories
We value ambitions without judgments and provide trainees with multiple options for career trajectories. This enables us to discover where our passions lie. For example, team members participate as trainees in outreach activities, commercialization activities (such as pitches and networking) and as trainers in teaching activities, such as our international metagenomics workshop series. Trainees present their progress in formal group meetings every six weeks, preparing them to present their work to others, for example at conferences where they can grow their passion for science.
"Together, this team strives to make respect, diversity and equality a priority in the workplace and have made a strong contribution to the development of a positive and engaged community. Under their leadership, the Energy Bioengineering and Geomicrobiology (EBG) Research team has fostered an open, tolerant and highly cooperative workplace that brings together more than 30 researchers from diverse scientific disciplines, cultures and geographical backgrounds. Through their collaborative efforts to increase dialogue and participate in group discussions, seminars and weekly meetings, this team has created communication spaces where members can share knowledge, insights and experiences. Through inclusive activities and gatherings, this team acts as role models and demonstrate a high standard for well-being and positivity in the work place that can inspire us all. Congratulations!"
Personal and Interpersonal Development
Every sixth weekly group meeting is devoted to improving and developing ourselves and our group. We bring in experts from within and outside the group to lead a “workshop” that teaches us skills to succeed in life. Chosen topics are those of interest to the group and cover a broad spectrum.
Community Produce Purchase Program
We run a communal produce program similar to a community supported agriculture (CSA). As part of the program, interested EBG members sign up each month for which they want to participate in the program. The subscription starts at one share of $10 for the month. The money collected is then used to make purchases of the bulk and “not-pretty-for-store” produce and is split on a per share basis among all signed up members. The programs started in March of 2019 with just 8 members and since then it has served 19 members sharing over 100 lbs of produce every month.
Team Building and Retreat
The group heads outside of the UofC campus and explores the world together. It may be checking out the dinosaur fossils in the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, supporting our favorite hockey teams live or discovering our curling skills.