Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 19, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why UFA Co-operative Limited was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2019):
- UFA Co-operative recently hosted a wellness fair to raise awareness and help educate employees on a variety of related topics, including heart health, ergonomics and in-depth information on the organization's health benefits plan
- Along with helping employees save for the future, UFA Co-operative offers year-end bonuses for all employees and referral bonuses for those who recruit candidates from their personal networks (up to $3,000 per successful hire)
- UFA Co-operative supported more than 350 Alberta-based grassroots and provincial not-for-profit organizations in the past year -- employees participated in the selection of organizations to receive the co-operative's support and also donated over 4,400 volunteer hours to local initiatives
UFA promotes a culture of openness and equality
There are a number of things Adriana Templeton enjoys about working for the United Farmers of Alberta Co-operative Ltd. (UFA). There are the career development opportunities, educational assistance, flexible work schedules, and the organization's culture of openness and equal opportunity.
"I've been very welcome in the organization," says Templeton, who is a procurement co-ordinator in commercial operations and joined UFA five years ago after immigrating from her native Romania. "I've always felt that, as a woman and an immigrant, I would have the same opportunities as every other employee."
The Calgary-based agricultural co-operative serves farmers, their families and rural communities through its retail agribusiness, commercial agribusiness and petroleum business streams. It offers its employees multiple professional development opportunities, including two leadership development programs - LEAD, which is designed for frontline managers, and DEVELOP, which is designed for employees who are not yet managers. The programs are a blend of online project work and in-person instruction that take six months to complete.
"We connect our employees from across the organization by bringing them to Calgary for two days of in-person instruction," says Carol Kitchen, president and chief executive officer. "They learn about different parts of the company, among other things."
UFA also offers educational assistance for programs offered by external organizations. Templeton, for her part, completed a diploma program in supply chain management offered by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Then she took a professional designation program offered by the Supply Chain Management Association of Canada and finished third among her cohort nationwide and first among her fellow Albertans.
"They were expensive programs and the support from UFA was invaluable," she says. "Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford to take both."
Under UFA's performance management program, employees are required to set development goals and are encouraged to plan for career development with UFA. The organization emphasizes flexibility and mobility. "There are jobs that can lead to regional leadership positions," Kitchen says. "Alternatively, people can relocate to Calgary or vice versa. They can spend time here, then go back to the field, if that's what they prefer."
UFA offers its employees flexible work schedules with start and end times varying to meet ongoing business needs. "I enjoy that because the work I do is seasonal," Templeton says. "It's much more intense in the spring and less intense in the fall and winter."