BGC Ottawa (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa) is a charity that provides programming for children and youth in vulnerable neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Founded in 1923, it was established to help young people avoid crime through programming that encourages development and by offering safer spaces to play. Their free, multi-layered programs (including programming pillars), summer camps, and other services strive to give kids of all backgrounds new opportunities, friendships, and skills that will last their lifetime.
Adam Joiner, CEO for two years and staff for more than 20, attests to the unbelievable growth he’s witnessed at BGC Ottawa. With the club reaching almost 200 employees, he knew it was time to find a solution that would support the organization and its people.
Adam’s journey with BGC Ottawa is a unique one, beginning at nine years old when he joined the club looking to make new friends. He started as a worker in coat check, and over time his role evolved from front desk, to youth worker, manager, director, and now, CEO. Through the years, he witnessed the organization’s incredible internal growth. As CEO, he also quickly realized that his HR department was not being supported in their day-to-day practices the way that they needed to be.
“The HR manager was responsible for every sick day, every time off request, everything that was happening…nothing was automated. So it really created a huge workload. Especially as we grew; with a small team, that's manageable, but with a team of over 150 to 200 people, depending on the season, that becomes almost impossible.”
The organization had been using mostly traditional processes: think, spreadsheets and paperwork galore. This created a huge amount of work for HR. Seeing as the club was also hiring many part-time employees, there were a lot of contracts to push out, documents to collect, and signatures to acquire everyday. They were so overwhelmed with transactional work that they were not able to do what HR is built to do – support people and culture properly.
“When we started looking into the Humi system, we were at that breaking point where we were like, okay, we either need to hire one person just responsible for transactional information, or we need a system that's going to help us manage that.”
BGC has a strong network of clubs across Canada, and knowing that his own club needed a change in systems, Adam approached his colleagues at BGC Saskatoon. They introduced Adam to their solution: the Humi platform. He saw immediately how it could help BGC Ottawa run their business.
“I was really impressed ... [BGC Saskatoon] is the same as us, with multiple locations. Information trying to be fed into one place was incredibly challenging. Humi alleviated a lot of those issues for them. So I was blown away by it.”
Adam recognized the potential Humi had and quickly brought it to his HR department’s attention. They reviewed other systems and competitors, but eventually decided on Humi thanks to its clean interface, user-friendly platform, and most importantly, the experience.
“When we looked at your system, it really made a lot of sense. We really liked the interface. We liked how easy it was to use. And we enjoyed the people… your team at Humi have been very supportive and great to work with.”
He specifically recounts experiences with Humi’s co-founder and CCO, Drew Millington. Drew and the Client Experience team continuously work closely with BGC Ottawa to ensure they’re being supported.
“On Drew, he’s an amazing leader… our experiences have been phenomenal. He’s been really positive, and he helped us along the way, many times, with different things. And I think that just speaks to the company culture. When you have your founder coming in, supporting a non-profit, I think that speaks volumes to the type of culture that you’re trying to build.”
Beyond customer service, Adam also speaks to how important it was to align with a company whose values reflected those of BGC, and how it ultimately sealed the deal for them.
“Right from the beginning, we felt that [Humi] mirrored the club's values and that's a big part of why we decided on Humi.”
After Humi, Adam speaks of the many tedious tasks that have been made easy through the platform. Accurate time-off information, company-wide announcements, performance management, and document signing are just a few of the things that Humi has helped with at BGC Ottawa.
“For me, personally, the piece around sick time: you have Humi Mobile where you can check your balances. This was stuff we didn’t have before … Also, the ability to input performance goals, performance applications, and performance reviews is pretty cool. And then also training. So when we want to send a mass note or training to all employees, we can send a link through Humi and every employee has it and they can even sign off on the system.”
Adam indicates that acquiring signatures through Humi has been especially helpful, with the future of work evolving and remote-work becoming the norm. He also speaks to how Humi has helped BGC Ottawa reshape their HR team to concentrate on the culture of the club.
“Our focus moving forward is making people a priority at the club and making our culture and engagement even better. When we’re not focused on the transactional nature of the HR department and we’re focused on people and culture, it’s going to allow us to really support the people the way that they need to be supported.”
He touches on how Humi has helped BGC Ottawa focus on what really matters: its people.
“It’s a system that allows you to work in a way that creates room to do the important stuff of your job. It removes some of the barriers of that transactional nature of work to allow you to focus on what’s important. And that is the people that you work with.”
Above all, Adam hones in on the significance of shared values between the BGC charity and Humi, and why it’s important to them to work with companies that share the same vision.
“I really want the focus to be how the company's values reflect a charity like ours. I think that really is a selling feature… you want a culture that you’re working with to reflect the values that you reflect, and the values of Humi, from what I’ve seen, reflect what we’re trying to do.”