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 Shell Canada Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Alberta's Top Employers (2017):
- Shell Canada encourages ongoing employee development through a variety of training programs including apprenticeships, a dedicated women's career development program and a variety of in-house training options hosted at the training centre in Shell's head office
- Shell Canada ranks among Canada's leading corporate donors, supporting approximately 600 charitable initiatives last year, and encourages employees to get involved in their community with up to 3 paid days off to volunteer each year and matching financial donations to charities where employees volunteer their time and donate funds
- Shell Canada provides maternity leave top-up payments for new mothers and offers assistance in finding daycare centres and nursery schools when employees are ready to head back to work -- the company also helps employees find retirement residences and eldercare services for those who are caring for older parents
Shell has the energy to offer great opportunities
Teresa Waddington followed her curiosity - rather than her passion - after graduating from Queen's University in 2004 with a degree in chemical engineering. She was passionate about the outdoors and dreamed of a job designing and manufacturing skis and bicycles. Instead, she took an entry level position with Calgary-based Shell Canada and it has worked out better than she ever could have imagined.
"Shell has given me remarkable opportunities," says Waddington, who currently manages a maintenance team of 70 tradespeople and technicians at the company's Albian Sands bitumen mining operation, located 75 km north of Fort McMurray. "I've had the opportunity to work on difficult, exciting, high-impact jobs, even as a young person, and I've been supported by a community of experienced and skilled coaches."
Shell is a diversified energy giant with operations that span the globe. It has interests in almost every aspect of the oil and gas business, from the wellhead to the gas pump, from exploration and development to refining and processing. Shell has also laid out its commitment to a sustainable future and is investing in lower-carbon energy sources and clean technologies. As such, the company offers a remarkable array of careers and promotes employee development through tuition subsidies, apprenticeship programs and a whole suite of in-house training programs.
Robert Collings joined Shell in 1989 as a junior operator at the company's Waterton gas plant in southwestern Alberta. Today, he manages a staff of 200 at the Jumping Pound and Caroline gas plants in central Alberta – facilities which strip the feed gas of methane, propane and various other components destined for a variety of uses and markets.
"I don't know too many other places where you could start as an operator on the floor and end up running two big gas plants," says Collings, adding: "Along the way, I've pretty well done every job one can do at a gas plant."
He benefitted from the company's Operator and Supervisor Development Training program. Over a three-year period, he attended nine one-week sessions at Shell's Roberts Training Center in New Orleans and honed his managerial and leadership skills.
"It was definitely a game-changer for me," he says. "I went from a command and control guy to having big ears and asking lots of questions."
Shell encourages its employees to broaden their horizons by moving from one division or line of business to another. Andrea Brecka has taken advantage of that philosophy and it has led to a remarkably diverse career. Currently, Brecka is General Manager of Shell's retail division, which employs 150 people directly and oversees the company's nationwide chain of some 1,300 service stations.
"It's been really fantastic," says Brecka, who joined Shell in 1994 after earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Alberta. "I've been able to have a very diverse career without leaving the company."
She started in the information technology division and has since worked at the Scotford refinery in Edmonton and at head office in Calgary in the Trading & Supply and Oil Sands areas.
Brecka had also take advantage of the company's rich offering of in-house training and development programs. She has completed the Senior Leader of Teams, Senior Leader of Communities, Women's Career Development and Women's Senior Connect programs.
"The amount of effort and focus we place on developing talent is exceptional," says Brecka. "We've moved into more structured leadership development programs targeted at women, but the company makes an extraordinary effort to develop talent regardless of gender."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Shell Canada Limited was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- For nearly 30 years, Shell Canada has partnered with Indspire to support the development of Aboriginal peoples, providing scholarships and industry training to Aboriginal students -- the company also maintains in-house Aboriginal awareness training as well as a dedicated network for Aboriginal employees
- Shell Canada actively tracks its recruitment activity, noting employee attendance and participation at internal and external events, such as diversity recruitment fairs and employee network membership, and shares metrics with HR on a quarterly basis -- additionally, Shell Canada's annual employee survey includes a diversity and inclusion index with specific questions to help the company track its overall progress
- Shell Canada created a 14-week career development program to help female employees achieve personal and professional goals and manages "Senior Women Connect", a dedicated leadership program for senior-level women
Shell embraces inclusion from the top
Donna Oberg was born with cerebral palsy, a disability that means she has limited use of the left side of her body. But that hasn't stopped her from enjoying a long and rewarding career at Shell Canada, thanks to a corporate culture that embraces and promotes diversity.
"At Shell, we eat, breathe and live diversity," says Oberg, who has held nine different positions in her 22 years with the company and is currently Canada Retail Finance Manager. In that capacity, she leads a team of five colleagues who are responsible for ensuring that financial data for the company's 1,200-plus retail outlets are properly reported monthly, quarterly and annually.
Apart from being an equal opportunity employer, with a suite of policies to promote employment equity, Shell supports affinity networks for women, people with disabilities, people from the LGBTQ community and First Nations, to name a few. The network for those with disabilities, called Enable, has close to 75 members, meets monthly and organizes a number of events annually.
"We have all sorts of networks that are hugely supportive," says Oberg, who is treasurer of Enable. "We have Diversity Days to highlight the different networks we have at Shell. We all have tables in the lobby where different groups make presentations to fellow employees and hand out literature to raise awareness."
Shell's commitment to diversity starts at the very top of the organization, says Zoë Baldwin, General Manager of Natural Gas Liquids Sales and operations for Canada. "Our overall corporate objective is to become the most competitive and innovative energy company in the country," says Baldwin, who previously spent two years as business advisor to former Shell Canada President Lorraine Mitchelmore. "Senior leadership, including the president, sees diversity as a key tool to advancing that objective."
Shell's openness was immediately apparent to Theresa Acchione, who was first exposed to the culture as an outside consultant. An accountant, she was employed by a firm and worked at Shell on a contract basis.
"The accounting firm was very male-dominated," says Acchione. "When I came to Shell, one of the things that was obvious was that there were many women in senior leadership positions. It was very noticeable and helped shape my decision to come to Shell."
She joined the company full-time six years ago and is currently a senior tax advisor in the finance department. She and her colleagues are responsible for ensuring that Shell's various legal entities file accurate tax returns and that tax information is properly reported in financial statements.
"Shell is a very culturally diverse organization," she says. "We have operations in countries around the world, which gives you the opportunity to work with different people and different cultures. I deal with people in India, Manila, Poland, London, the Netherlands and a number of other countries."
Acchione belongs to the Shell Women's Network, which publishes a monthly newsletter and organizes a broad array of events such as volunteer days and lunch-hour lectures seminars on professional as well as parenting issues.
In her six years at Shell, Acchione has taken two maternity leaves and was away for a year both times. "The company has been completely supportive," she says. "They told me to take my leave and my job would be here when I came back. They've been supportive with work hours and allow me to leave at four o'clock to pick up my kids. The flexibility has been amazing."
Openness and flexibility certainly apply to those with disabilities, says Oberg. She notes that Shell provides specially adapted keyboards for people such as herself who can only work with one hand. The company's intranet site also has an accessibility portal, which, she says, "helps people procure things that they need to make their jobs easier.