"We trust our people to do good work." — How (and why) to get a job at BCLC

Director of people rewards and recruitment Rob Annett talks the crown agency’s tech, province-wide team, and social purpose.

The How (and why) to get a job story series is supported by VanHack. Hire from VanHack’s 300K+ diverse tech talent pool, fast.

BCLC’s director of people rewards and recruitment Rob Annett. (photo supplied)

If you were to flip through your mental Rolodex to find the province’s most robust employers of tech talent, you may be cataloguing your cards for a while before you stop on BCLC. It’s fair to think of unicorns (pardon me, centaurs) like Clio or multinationals like Microsoft before you got to the plucky crown agency. But, that delay may actually be shortsighted. As Rob Annet – the director of people rewards and recruitment – points out, there are a few hundred employees working on the tech side of things at BCLC. Here are the rest of the highlights from our conversation, as part of our How to get a job series.

This interview was condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

James Matthews: How did you end up at BCLC?

Rob Annett: I came about six years ago now. I’m from the rewards and recognition side of the business. It’s what we call people and culture but most organizations call human resources. Many organizations that I've been part of prior to this were always looking for ways to cut their rewards programs as small as possible: to get as much as they could for as little as they could, scale it back without employees noticing, that kind of perspective. I was looking for a place that was interested in investing in people. BCLC was pleasantly surprising. You know, it's a crown organization, but it's got a really entrepreneurial bent that can compete with the private market space.

JM: Your role is now director of people rewards and recruitment. How would you describe it?

RA: It’s a sandbox. For a few years, we've been enhancing our benefits. We switched carriers and we keep looking for ways to grow that make it valuable to our employees. We invested in their salaries and relaunched our recognition program to a new peer-to-peer program where employees can give points directly to each other. We've developed a new wellness strategy and worked to help people find the value in their pension. Those are some of the things I've been directly involved in.

JM: Can you provide an overview of the tech roles at BCLC?

RA: Technology is very big here. Out of our roughly 1,200 employees, almost a quarter of them are in business technology. So, it's not a small shop off the side. It really drives our business in a big way. We have a very broad technology stack. Some are built in-house, some are external. I'm not a tech expert, but they are the kinds of things that new people or experienced people alike are interested in being part of. It's not archaic. We're trying to compete with all the private sector organizations that are out there. We really are leading edge. And, because of the nature of our business, we have the resources to pursue new technologies.

JM: That leads me to the most basic of tech stack questions: Macs or PCs?

RA: Pretty much all PCs.

JM: How would I go about joining the team?

RA: Our careers page. I mean, it's kind of the standard answer, but all of our available opportunities are on there. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with it and find something that resonates with you. We talk a lot there about what we offer, what we do, and the social impact and purpose that we have as an organization. Find something that really resonates with you, and then just click on that. Being ready to talk about it would really stand out to our team.

Also, there are lots of places where we’re involved in the community. I wouldn't put those as a recruiting venue. But, if you're interested in talking to somebody, there are lots of places around the province where we are out in the field. It would be a chance to just talk to someone about what it's like to work at BCLC.

JM: Does the team work remote or in person?

RA: We give our people a lot of choice. I think we have a few roles that have to be in-office, but most of our employees have the choice to be remote, in the office, or hybrid. I think we have a small group of people who have chosen to be fully in-office. So, nearly all of our people are at least hybrid or even fully remote. And by hybrid I mean they choose to come in one, two-ish days a week — just to have that connection to the office — and the rest of the time they’re working remotely.

JM: Speaking of the workplaces, I know BCLC has its HQ in Kamloops and an office in Vancouver. So, where do the folks who work at BCLC live?

RA: Let me try to do the math off the top of my head: We are a little less than half in Kamloops. It's probably 40-ish percent. And then I think about 30 percent in Vancouver, and about 30 percent are distributed around the province at the various casinos, gaming facilities, that sort of thing. But, as we've gotten more hybrid, that's become broader, right? People don’t need to be directly in Kamloops, they can work in Chase. Not massively — our main population is still Kamloops — but we are seeing it disperse more.

JM: How are work hours managed?

RA: Moving to hybrid has really changed the approach to this. But, we do have core hours: roughly between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. we like people to be around and available. But, it is quite flexible. Some people start earlier, some start later. Some even do midday — if you have kids to pick up or other obligations, sign off for a little bit and then come back. We trust our people to do good work.

JM: What can you tell me about BCLC’s social purpose?RA: That's something we've been working through quite a bit in the last while: Why do we exist? Last year, we placed our mission statement alongside our social purpose, which is that we exist to generate win-wins for the greater good. It’s constant reinforcement that we aim to create good change in the province. Every decision that we make, we try to really come back to that social purpose.

We've also been doing lots of work to develop our approach to sustainability; diversity, inclusion, and belonging; and Indigenous relations. We have over a dozen grassroots committees and the organization is really happy to support them: physical wellness, mental health, Pride, green, photography club, and so on. It’s a real breadth but they all just want to make a difference.

JM: Seems like quite the workplace.RA: It's been a really interesting place to work. It's not stagnant, it's always growing. We’re always trying to make it a bit better for our people so they can make it a bit better for our customers. That kind of idea.

The How (and why) to get a job story series is supported by VanHack. Hire from VanHack’s 300K+ diverse tech talent pool, fast.

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