Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Irving Oil was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) 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), to 100% of salary for up to 17 weeks -- additionally, the company offers academic scholarships to children of employees interested in pursuing post-secondary studies (up to $2,000 per child)
- As part of the company's efforts to support diversity and inclusion, Irving Oil maintains the E3 Women's Forum and the "eMERGe" employee group for millennials -- each group organizes networking and learning and development events throughout the year
- In addition to supporting a number of local, national and international charitable initiatives, Irving Oil created the Fuel the Care program to cover fuel related travel expenses for a sick child's medical treatment -- the program is administered in partnership with 7 partner hospitals and has helped more than 50,000 families across Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and New England in the past 15 years
'People Matter' is at the heart of Irving Oil's culture
What's at the root of Irving Oil's success? "It all starts with our people -- our employees and our customers," says Executive Vice-President Sarah Irving. "They're the reason why we're here today."
This sentiment stems from the company's beginnings, she notes. "My grandfather, K.C. Irving, who founded the company in 1924, always gave credit to Irving Oil's employees and customers for helping him to build the business. My dad, Arthur Irving, and his late brother Jack, similarly commended our employees' hard work and our customers' loyalty in helping our company grow.
"That spirit remains at the heart of Irving Oil today," says Irving. "It is the energy that our employees bring to the business every day that drives this company forward."
Julianne deSoto has spent 25 years with the Saint John, N.B.-based downstream oil and gas company. She says that the company's "People Matter" ethos "is hugely important to me. I would not enjoy my job as much as I do if I didn't feel connected to the people whom I work for and with."
DeSoto started at Irving Oil's Saint John refinery -- Canada's largest, processing 330,000 barrels of oil a day -- as a plant technical services engineer involved in day-to-day operations. She was promoted in 2015 to a technical manager role and, in May 2017, to Director, Technical & Planning. In her current position, she is responsible for some 80 employees and has a more strategic focus.
"Irving Oil certainly invested in me and gave me the chance to grow," says deSoto.
The company supported deSoto's education by providing her with the opportunity to attend technical courses and conferences, such as the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers' annual meeting, which is considered the world's premier refining event.
Already an accredited chemical engineer when she first joined the company, deSoto benefited from its support in earning her MBA degree from the University of New Brunswick in 2012.
Helping employees to set, and meet, professional development goals is important to Irving Oil -- so important that the company includes a development objective in every employee's annual performance plan.
The company has been in hiring mode this past year. There were 115 new positions created at Irving Oil in Canada in the last 12 months. The majority of these jobs involved IT, supply management, finance/accounting, professional drivers and engineers.
"In our recruiting efforts," says Irving, "we look for a strong cultural fit -- for individuals who want to be a part of a team, to learn and to grow with our company."
As part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, Irving Oil has two employee resource groups that organize networking and learning and development events for their members. The Women's Forum has been in place for more than 10 years and has more than 700 members focused on engaging and empowering females in the workforce. The "eMERGe" group, led by millennials, started in early 2017 and now has close to 400 members.
As part of its broader commitment to the community, the company provides employees with meaningful opportunities to volunteer with local organizations.
Says Irving: "Across our business, whether we're delivering fuel to a neighbour or volunteering at a local event, we're committed to our customers and to our communities -- to provide the best possible experience. That all starts right here with our team."