Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) and Hamilton-Niagara's Top Employers (2016):
- ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. directs its community support through a Corporate Community Investment Fund and a longstanding Employee Donations Fund (raising over $40 million over the course of its 70 year history) -- employees also volunteer for numerous community initiatives every year through the "Team Orange" volunteer program
- ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. ensures that employees and retirees (and their family members) have free access to the F.H. Sherman Recreation and Learning Centre, which features a training facility and fully-staffed fitness centre, featuring soccer, tennis, baseball and hockey programs
People are the strength behind ArcelorMittal Dofasco's steel
The telephone was a novelty and so was the automobile back in 1912 when ArcelorMittal Dofasco began producing steel in the mid-sized city of Hamilton, Ont. The world has changed beyond recognition since then and so has steel-making, but this company's people-come-first corporate ethic has never changed.
"Our people are our competitive advantage," says President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Donnelly. "They truly understand our customers, they develop new technologies and imagine new products. They are at the root of everything we do."
Less than one per cent of companies - big or small - last a century, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco has achieved remarkable longevity by relying on employees to come up with innovations to improve its processes and its products. "Improvement is driven by people," says Donnelly, "and that's why we have such an extensive system that allows our people to take the lead and drive our improvement and our success."
The system is called World Class Continuous Improvement and is based on a bottom-up rather than topdown approach, says Gino Giardino, a 28-year veteran who is currently Assistant Team Leader in the electric arc furnace steel-making facility.
"The system is designed so that everyone can provide feedback and we're getting that even from those who would not normally feel comfortable voicing their opinions," Giardino says. "Everybody on the shop floor is now a problem solver."
ArcelorMittal Dofasco, which is part of the world's largest steel and mining company, currently employs 5,400 people at its Hamilton site and they work in dozens of different occupations. Research scientists develop new products, engineers work on improving processes and products, skilled operators manage equipment and systems, journeymen in 12 different trades maintain and repair equipment while a wide range of professionals handle corporate services such as accounting, marketing, sales, human resources and communications.
The company invests heavily in training and development through its global ArcelorMittal universities and the campus for the entire Americas is located in Hamilton. Local employees can take job-specific courses at the ArcelorMittal University or they can select from a diverse range of professional as well as personal development courses available through the in-house learning and development department. There are courses on the basics of steel-making for those not directly involved in production while those newly elevated to management ranks can hone their skills through courses on decision-making and organizational effectiveness.
"I've taken numerous leadership courses, which have helped me in the position I now hold," says Giardino. "They've helped me learn to manage a team and listen to new ideas and input. That has resulted in improved performance for our team."
The company's healthy workplace strategy promotes both the safety and well-being of employees. The company has an extensive Health and Safety program, while an in-house team provides medical services and manages an extensive wellness program. Three on-site gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they are staffed with personal trainers who develop fitness and conditioning routines for employees.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco is currently in the midst of a large-scale workforce renewal initiative since more than half of the employees at its Hamilton facility are eligible for retirement. The company holds "play to win" orientation sessions in the spring and fall in which groups of new hires spend three days at a conference facility near Orangeville, Ont., some 80 kilometres north of Hamilton
The orientation sessions are part of the company's broader commitment to learning and development. "It's not just a case of learning about your job," says Donnelly. "It's about stretching yourself in order to grow professionally and personally."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top 100 Employers winners, published November 9, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.