Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why BASF Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- BASF Canada offers maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents), to 100% of salary for up to 17 weeks -- head office employees can also take advantage of a privately operated daycare located onsite
- BASF Canada helps employees prepare for the future with year-end bonuses, retirement planning assistance, employer contributions to a defined contribution pension plan and health benefits that extend to retirees, with no age limit
- Employees at BASF Canada are encouraged to connect and share their stories with colleagues from across North America through the in-house "eTV" employee television network -- the initiative features employee video blogs and offers company news and information
BASF creates chemistry in every way
With almost 700 employees and 11 production sites and offices across Canada, BASF Canada Inc. strives to create good chemistry with its employees and customers from coast to coast.
"It's critical to be close to our customers," says Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada.
With its head office in Mississauga, Ont., the company provides chemistry-based products and solutions for customers in a range of industries, from agriculture, electronics and construction to pharmaceuticals, automotive paints and coatings.
"We pride ourselves in being an innovative and dynamic organization," says Lu. "Our company strategy is: 'We create chemistry for a sustainable future'. Our employees work together to turn that strategy into reality. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers to meet the current and future needs of society."
While BASF offers career opportunities in roles ranging from production to finance, almost half of its employees work in customer-facing sales and marketing positions.
"Forty per cent of our employees are out in the field, working closely with our customers to help provide them with the support they need," says Paulo Springmann, Aerospace Business Development Manager for BASF Canada in Montreal.
To help employees stay connected, the company strives to create a collaborative work environment with virtual and physical resources. Through internal resource groups, for example, employees can build networks with Canadian colleagues and enhance their knowledge and skills.
"This creates a sense of community and helps employees develop personally and professionally," says Lu. "It's important for us to foster a culture where every employee feels engaged."
BASF Canada also encourages employees to connect with their colleagues through an in-house employee television network. The network accommodates employee video blogs as well as company news and information.
Paulo Springmann joined BASF Canada 11 years ago, attracted by its global scope and depth of expertise. Trained as a chemical engineer, he spent nine years in the company's automotive segment before moving into aerospace.
"In aerospace, we're pushing the envelope," he says. "What was standard in the industry 10 years ago is obsolete today. We're always moving forward."
That forward momentum began more than 150 years ago in Baden, a German territory, where Badische Anilin & Sodafabrik started manufacturing aniline and sodium carbonate. BASF went on to pioneer innovations such as synthetic dyes for clothing, nitrogen fertilizer, magnetic tape, polystyrene and the first three-way catalyst for automobiles. The company now operates in almost every country in the world, employs about 112,000 people and generated sales in 2015 of ?70 billion.
"BASF has production facilities and offices around the globe," says Lu, "so we can offer an exciting variety of roles and opportunities for international development."
To further engage employees and provide access to its global resources, BASF Canada recently formed the Offsite Employee Resource Group (OERG).
"It's a diverse mix of employees from various business units, functions and geographic locations," says Springmann, a member of the OERG. "We want to help deliver information and support to offsite employees and develop initiatives to create a collaborative, efficient work environment."
The goal is to help give employees more time to dedicate directly to their customers.
"That is the essence of our strategy: all of our employees working towards solutions that help our customers conserve resources, ensure good nutrition, and improve quality of life," says Lu. "We're looking for the next generation of leaders and innovators to help bring our solutions to life and join us in our journey of creating chemistry for a sustainable future."
At BASF, diverse employees serve diverse markets
Diversity has played a big role in Irena Kravchenko's career. It attracted her to Canada 14 years ago and, nine years later, it motivated her to join BASF Canada Inc., in Mississauga, where she now works as the company's Manager of Taxation and Real Estate.
Kravchenko left her home in Ukraine to obtain a master's degree in European business at ESCP Europe, but felt curious about life in other countries. "I heard that Canada was open and diverse," says Kravchenko. "So I came to Toronto, by myself, and gave myself a year. I loved it."
While obtaining her accounting designation, Kravchenko worked for several years in Toronto before she joined BASF Canada. "I interviewed with two other companies, but I came here because of BASF's focus on diversity and the opportunities for moving to other countries."
BASF Canada provides chemistry-based products and solutions for customers in a range of industries, from agriculture, electronics and construction to pharmaceuticals, automotive paints and coatings. With almost 700 employees and 11 production sites and offices, the company strives to create chemistry with its employees and customers across Canada. While BASF offers career opportunities in roles ranging from production to finance, almost half of its employees work in customer-facing sales and marketing positions.
"Our customer profile is very diverse," says Terri Howard, BASF Canada's Director of Human Resources. "For this reason, we support a diverse and inclusive workforce that drives innovation and helps us meet our customers' needs."
From its early days as Badische Anilin- & Sodafabrik, manufacturing aniline and sodium carbonate more than 150 years ago in the German territory of Baden, BASF has grown into a multinational organization, creating innovations such as synthetic dyes for clothing, nitrogen fertilizer, magnetic tape, polystyrene and the first three-way catalyst for automobiles. The company now operates in almost every country in the world, employs about 112,000 people and generated sales in 2015 of ?70 billion.
"Diversity is a key to BASF's success," says Kravchenko, who is also chair of the company's Diversity + Inclusion Council. "We make an effort to attract employees with diverse backgrounds."
At the company's Mississauga headquarters, Kravchenko works among staff from all parts of the world, including Poland, Brazil, India and China. "As a European, I really admire that aspect of the company's culture," she says.
In addition to the D+I Council, a group of 15 employees who further the company's commitment to fostering an inclusive and innovative workplace, BASF Canada also maintains the D+I Portal, an internal website that provides access to diversity-related resources within BASF and outside the company.
"Our commitment to diversity and inclusion and our focus on sustainability and innovation is reflected in the values of the employees we strive to attract," says Howard. "Our aim is to foster diversity and inclusion, to maximize the contribution of employees by embedding diversity in everything we do."
With a growing family, Kravchenko intends to stay put for now, but she hasn't lost sight of the opportunities that attracted her to BASF, including the possibility of working for the company in other countries.
In Canada, Kravchenko says, BASF supports employees in many other ways. "I really admire the work-life balance at BASF," she says. "I have three young children, so I appreciate the company's telecommuting option which allows me to work from home, when feasible, on scheduled days."
For the time being, Kravchenko intends to stay with BASF in Canada, but she hasn't forgotten the opportunities that attracted her to the company in the first place. "In the long term, my dream is to work for BASF in another country."