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 Pembina Pipeline Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018) and Alberta's Top Employers (2018):
- In addition to the company's regular health benefits plan, Pembina offers a health and wellness spending account of $1,000, allowing employees to flex levels of coverage to suit their personal needs
- Pembina cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan and encourages employees to prepare for the future with retirement planning assistance and contributions to defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans as well as a matching RSP program
- Pembina is active in the community, supporting a number of local, national and international charitable organizations each year -- the company also encourages employees to give back with matching charitable donations as well as donations to organizations where employees volunteer their time ($500 for every 50 hours volunteered)
There's a pipeline of inspiration at Pembina
In a recent town hall meeting at Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corporation, one of the questions for management was, "Will we still maintain the family-oriented feeling with all the growth we're going through?" The answer? "It might feel larger, but we're going to fight every step along the way to keep a family culture."
Earlier this year, the company put $3 billion worth of projects into service and acquired Veresen Inc., increasing staff to around 1,600 from 400 in 2010. As Pembina CEO Mick Dilger explains: "We were once owned by a single family and we value our family culture. We work very hard at preserving that."
That culture is one of the many draws of Pembina. Robin Prashad has been at the company for 18 months as an Accountant in the financial reporting stream. At first, he was attracted to Pembina by the competitive salary and benefits -- "fantastic," he says, compared to other, similar businesses. One standout is the $1,000 each employee receives for anything health-and wellness-related -- a gym membership or a new bicycle, for example.
But Prashad has come to appreciate the many other benefits of working there, particularly how important it is for management that employees are engaged and challenged in their work. "At Pembina, it's ingrained in the culture to have your leader supportive of your career," he says. His boss checks in with Prashad quarterly to see, among other things, if there are any other roles in the company he might be interested in. "There's a lot of emphasis on advancement and trying different things," he adds. "They don't want you to get bored and leave."
Pembina also pays for courses that help staff to grow and develop into different roles in the company. And they offer secondments so that employees can try different jobs. "Leaders are good at finding out what direction you want to head in and they make every effort to get you into something similar in the company," says Prashad.
Making employees feel valued is important to Dilger. "When people complain about the company they work for, it's usually because they don't feel like a valued part of the organization," says Dilger, who has been with Pembina for 13 years.
Recently, Pembina gave every employee an additional week of holiday in 2018 as thanks for the hard work and extra time spent on implementing its
record capital program and on the acquisition of Veresen. "Due to techno-logy, people are almost always connected to their work and that's an expectation most companies now have," he says, "but it's not lost on us that you have to give something back to make it feel like a fair deal."
Pembina gives back to more than just its employees. Not only does it support everything from fire departments to food banks in its operating communi-ties, but the company also encourages its staff to do the same, matching employee donations to no limit and providing grants for volunteer hours. Through its signature community investment initiative, Fuel 4 Thought, Pembina helped provide 120,000 breakfasts for children in local communities during the last school year.
Dilger says the purpose of his company is fourfold, and without giving equal consideration to each of the four, "you're doomed." To Pembina, success comes from having happy employees, growth and expansion, doing a good job for the customers who pay the bills, and having a good relationship with stakeholders. "We believe those investments in the community and our employees have a high return," he says. "It's not quantitative, it's qualitative. If you have 1,600 inspired employees, that's how you make money. They don't want to let you down."
Pembina's talent pipeline is based in the community
To a company like Pembina Pipeline Corporation, having a good relationship with the communities in which it operates is essential to doing good business. It's one of the mandates of the Calgary-based company, and its commitment to giving back does not go unnoticed.
Tyler Hadden is Steam Chief at a 27-person plant near Empress, Alta. When he started there in 2012, many people in the small community hadn't heard of the company. Now, Hadden says, everyone knows Pembina. "Pembina is always striving for expansion and growth, and that creates jobs," he adds. "Not just Pembina jobs but jobs for contractors and restaurants and hotels."
Pembina also gives financial support to non-profit and charitable organizations that serve or are based in the communities in which they operate, focusing on education, the environment, community space, and health and safety. "Everyone recognizes it's a company that's creating jobs and investing in the area," says Hadden.
For CEO Mick Dilger, community support is key. "Hydrocarbon investment comes with some impact," he says, "but we work hard so that the positive impact outweighs the negative and they welcome the investment." Pembina encourages employees to give back to their communities, matching their donations without limit and providing grants for volunteer hours. And as an ongoing corporate initiative, last year Pembina helped provide 120,000 breakfasts for children in local communities.
Just as important to Pembina is the engagement of its employees and the preservation of its family culture, even as the company continues to grow. "We work hard," says Paul Murphy, Senior Vice-President of Corporate Services, "but we treat people well and we recognize hard work through all kinds of different venues."
Murphy has been with Pembina for almost seven years, first as a business unit vice-president, then through several positions to where he is now. "We like to see people move around, right up to the senior executives," he says. "We put the onus on employees to come up with a career plan and we'll do what we can to make it happen. Basically, we want our employees' next best job to also be at Pembina, not somewhere else."
Hadden considers himself lucky to be a part of a company that's full of opportunities. "If you're willing to step up to the plate, I can't see a limit to what I can achieve under Pembina's flag," he says. "They're more than willing to invest in you because they know they'll get it back many times over."