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 Irving Oil was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Atlantic Canada's Top Employers (2017):
- Irving Oil provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents) of up to 100% of salary for up to 17 weeks as well as the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Irving Oil offers academic scholarships to children of employees interested in pursuing post-secondary studies (up to $2,000 per child)
- Irving Oil maintains a charitable focus on initiatives that support the community, the environment and education, and encourages employees to be active in their community, providing up to five paid days off to volunteer
Irving Oil leads the way on the east coast
The philosophy that Irving Oil Chairman Arthur Irving has applied throughout his 65-year career at the company his father, K.C., founded in 1924 gets passed down to every employee - act with integrity, work hard, treat your customers well and you will succeed.
There certainly haven't been any limitations to Kevin Scott's 24 years with the Saint John, N.B.-based company. He became Chief Human Resources Officer in 2013, but he first began working at Irving Oil in 1991 as a summer student while studying chemical engineering at the University of New Brunswick.
Scott so impressed his managers that they encouraged him to apply for a full-time job before he graduated - and he had one waiting for him in May of 1992 after earning his degree. Since then he has held these varied positions: Process Engineer, Crude Oil Trader, Director of Supply and Trading, Director of Refining Growth and now his HR title.
"I feel like I've trained for my current position for 20 years," says Scott. "I've worked in many different roles and with different people. All of that has been a good grounding for this role."
When recruiting, Scott and his team look for candidates who are interested in considering new opportunities that might at first glance appear outside their existing skill set. "To be really successful here," he says, "you have to want to take on new challenges, because they're important growth steps in an employee's career path."
If someone is willing to work hard, the opportunities are endless. Retail Marketing Manager Janelle Shillington has only been at the company since 2013, but she has already taken steps to expand her role. Within two years of joining Irving Oil, Shillington held a key leadership position in the development and execution of the largest summer retail promotion in the company's history, working collaboratively with other leaders across the organization and external partners.
"Our managers want to maximize their employees' potential, and they're very supportive in doing that," says Shillington, who recently started an MBA through Dalhousie University. She receives financial support from the company for tuition, and she doesn't have to take vacation days when she needs to attend in-class sessions and exams. "I'm so grateful to Irving Oil for this investment they're making in me," she says.
Irving Oil also invests in its local communities, which is a source of great pride for employees. Shillington has taken part in Fuel the Care Day, where employees volunteer at an Irving Oil gas station pumping gas, washing windshields and thanking customers for their patronage. Customers don't have to donate directly - $1 of each gas purchase on that day is funneled to Fuel the Care, a program that has helped more than 50,000 families across Atlantic Canada, New England and Quebec with the cost of travel between home and hospital.
Shillington and Scott both hail from the Saint John area and speak highly of their Chairman and his daughter, Sarah Irving, the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer. "Our company's strong leadership starts with the family - you feel their pride and loyalty, and you feel part of that as an employee, which helps connect you to the company."
Even more important, employees like Shillington feel their opinions are heard and their contributions are valued. "Our senior leadership team recognizes the company's greatest asset is its people," she says. "We're encouraged to think big, use our creativity and run with new ideas. This leads to an immensely rewarding work experience, and one that translates into a strong culture of respect and collaboration."