Alberta’s Best Workplaces: Best Overall Workplace (101-750 Employees)
Vermilion Energy: for keeping families together
by Alberta Venture Staff
Best Overall Workplace, More Than 750 Employees
Head office: Calgary
CEO: Lorenzo Donadeo
Number of Alberta employees: 291
Photograph Bruce Meyer
The leadership at Vermilion Energy recently surveyed employees to find out what they think makes the company stand out. Number one on the list? Caring about and investing in the community. In particular, says Mona Jasinski, the company’s vice-president of human resources, employees wanted the company’s philanthropic efforts to make a long-term, sustainable difference in the community. “They wanted to focus on root causes and to assist families and youth,” she says, “not just throw some money in and disappear. What we’re looking for is sustainable, real difference.”
So the company has partnered with the YWCA of Calgary on its employment resource centre; employees organize a week-long campaign every year to raise money for the United Way; and for the fifth year in a row, Vermilion will be the presenting sponsor of the Hockey Helps the Homeless tournament in Calgary.
But its flagship program is a $1-million partnership with Wood’s Homes, a children’s mental health centre in Calgary. Wood’s Homes provides outreach programs and services for youth and their families in Calgary, Lethbridge, Canmore, Strathmore, Fort McMurray and Fort Smith, N.W.T. In many cases, the work involves efforts to integrate kids back into family and school settings. One hindrance has always been that there was no place for families to stay. “Wood’s Homes needs to be able to work on a regular basis with these families and kids, to help them get up and make breakfast and get to school,” Jasinski says.
The result is Vermilion Energy Family Centre, now being built at the organization’s Bowness Campus, which will open later this year.
Other top reasons to work for Vermilion, the survey said, include the international opportunities. While many overseas oil and gas jobs are in, shall we say, challenging locations, Vermilion’s assets are in Australia, France, the Netherlands and Germany. “Placements are typically five years at a time,” says Jasinski. “We have people across the age ranges, from early career professionals to people who have been in the industry for 20-plus years.”
Think local and work global. Not bad.
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Also a finalist in the Environment category, the authority provides a defined contribution pension plan, contributing 5.5 per cent of an employee’s salary.
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In the week after Skylar White’s father died, while he was in mourning, 15 of his work friends (with company support and encouragement) finished roofing the family home he had been building but left unattended. “Whether you choose Scott Builders or not,” he says. “I know that I am privileged to work here.”