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 Teck Resources Limited was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018):
- Teck Resources helps employees prepare for the future with a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan (depending on employee group), retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options where operationally feasible -- retirees may also be eligible for extended health benefits with no age limit, depending on employee group
- Teck Resources invests in the education of current and future generations, offering tuition subsidies for job-related courses for existing employees and academic scholarship for children of employees (to $1,750 per child)
- Teck Resources maintains an exceptional time-off policy, with most employees receiving 3 weeks of vacation to start, moving to 4 weeks after only 3 years on the job -- and, depending on their role, may be able to take advantage of flexible working arrangements as well as paid personal days off
Teck Resources mines its workforce for talent
Once a week, the senior leaders of Teck Resources Limited, including President and CEO Don Lindsay, meet for two hours to discuss issues within Teck's 13 global operational and functional divisions, from Base Metals and Energy to Finance and Corporate Development.
"We call them The Wednesday Group," says Dean Winsor, Vice President of Human Resources at the Vancouver head office.
In addition to their weekly sessions, the Wednesday Group also meets twice a year to spend four hours discussing the company's future leadership.
"In that meeting," says Winsor, "the group focuses on upcoming retirements and on promising individuals, identified by their managers, who might take over the roles."
Even with close to 10,000 employees located on two continents, Teck has developed a consistent and sustainable management system for identifying and cultivating future leaders, he says.
"We have four different leadership development programs," says Winsor, "all part of our strategy called Building Strength With People."
In one of the programs, for example, called Leading for the Future, front-line staff share best practices and learn from their colleagues about strengthening their management and leadership potential. Other programs focus on developing leadership skills of mid-level and senior staff, often with third-party facilitators.
Equally important to its long-term success, managers at every level of Teck's divisions meet with individual staff employees to discuss their annual objectives and again, after six months, to assess their performance and progress and review development objectives and career interests.
As they identify potential leaders, Teck's managers pass along their names to their own division leaders. By the time the Wednesday Group meets for their four-hour bi-annual meeting, they know "who's ready and who's a rising star in the company," Winsor says. "It's important for senior people right up to the CEO to hear the names of upcoming employees."
One of the names that percolates through the company ranks is Kate Lafferty. Graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from McGill University, Lafferty joined Teck partly because she wanted to return to western Canada, where she'd grown up in Powell River, about 120 kilometres up the Georgia Strait from Vancouver. She also wanted to work in the mining industry and had already spent four months at Teck's operation in Trail, B.C. as part of her co-op program at McGill.
In the last nine years, Lafferty has far surpassed her initial objectives. As a future leader, Lafferty has already spent time at five different locations with Teck, including Richmond, B.C., Kotzebue, Alaska, and Millertown, Nfld., where she helped the company in closing its Duck Pond mine. Over that period, she has held a variety of positions, including process engineer and metallurgist, and acquired an MBA.
Now a Business Analyst in Teck's Corporate Development division, Lafferty says, with some understatement, "There's lots of opportunity here to explore different areas."
And Teck has a lot of areas to explore. As Canada's largest diversified resource company, the company is involved in steelmaking coal, copper, zinc and energy production in locations from Alaska and Canada to Chile and Peru.
To manage such a multi-faceted company, Teck's leaders need a broad and informed vision. To this end, says Winsor, "we try to expose future leaders to various parts of the company."
Lafferty, for example, assumed her current role in January 2017 after returning from a leave of absence to obtain her MBA at UBC. Focusing on financial modeling and value assessment of large-scale projects, "I'm learning how the financial side of things works," she says. "Ultimately, I'd like to combine finance with engineering."
When she's ready, it's a sure bet that the Wednesday Group will know about it.