Written by: Andrew Duffy, Times Colonist Reporter

  Jim Hamilton doesn't mind the joke that it's a wonder any work gets done at EDS Advanced Solutions.

In fact, the president of the IT firm, a division of HP Enterprise Services, suggests just being able to make the joke is actually good for business because the firm offers a variety of seemingly non-work-related perks to its employees.

It certainly helped EDS get recognized as one of the province's top 55 employers in a survey done by Mediacorp Canada.

"We believe that getting engaged employees, employees who really enjoy what they are doing, enjoy where they are working makes a huge difference in terms of their performance and the way they treat the clients," said Hamilton.

"If they are happy our clients seem to be happy."

And that leads to a healthy bottom line. "(Being recognized) has been a great vindication, … it really does confirm we are on the right track," Hamilton said. "One of our top three objectives for this year was to make [EDS] a great place to work. It was right up there with making our financials and delivering great service to our clients."

To keep the 390 employees at EDS engaged and happy, the company has provided access to a free onsite fitness facility, an on-site meditation room, and maternity and parental top-up payments.

The company also helps employees make the transition to retirement with phased-in retirement work options and assistance with succession planning. There is also a flexible work schedule and, because EDS is part of the HP family, employees have access to discounts on HP and Compaq computer equipment and employee prices for vehicles, hotels and travel.

Because EDS is located at the Vancouver Island Technology Park, there is also the attraction of an environmentally responsible workplaces as the park is rated LEED Gold.

The park also means EDS employees have access to foosball tables, darts and employee lounge areas, a series of forested walking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, secure bike storage and onsite dry cleaning.

"To say we value our employees is an understatement," said Hamilton. "They are fundamental to everything we do. There is no lip service in our company; we really do provide a great place to work."

The company maintains its employees are appreciated, understood and developed, noting employees collectively developed our company vision statement — "To be recognized by industry, clients, and employees as Canada's No. 1 provider of labour-friendly business process and technology services."