Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why ATCO Group was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2023):
- ATCO encourages employees to share in the company's successes through a share purchase plan (available to all permanent employees) and year-end bonuses for some -- and helps employees save for the future through a defined contribution pension plan
- As part of its benefits plan, ATCO offers coverage for mental health practitioners of up to $2,250 per year, and maintains a Well-being@ATCO initiative to provide employee access to mental, physical and social well-being programs, challenges and activities
- ATCO supports ongoing employee development throughout an employee's career, from paid internships and formal mentoring to tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions to leadership development programs and subsidies for professional accreditation
ATCO takes care of its own people – and others
When Jocelyn Venechuk was studying for a bachelor of science degree in business operations 20 years ago, she had to write a business profile of a Canadian company for one of her courses. After reading a magazine article about Calgary-based ATCO Group, she chose to profile the company that would one day employ her.
ATCO is a diversified global corporation with investments in the essential services of structures and logistics, utilities, energy infrastructure, retail energy and commercial real estate. “It’s hard to grow up in Calgary and not know about ATCO,” says Venechuk. “That article left an impression with me that it would be an interesting place to work, because while it cares about the bottom line, it cares about other factors, too.”
In 2017, Venechuk joined the organization as a proposal specialist, and within her first year she became communications lead for the Employment Equity Advisory Committee. “Our equity program needed an update and a focus, and as a relatively new employee, I was eager to participate,” she says.
The committee soon realized it needed more input from employees around equity issues. Venechuk, who identifies as racially diverse (both of her parents are from the Philippines, and her father is half Chinese), was enthusiastic about soliciting feedback. “We’re the voice of employees from all levels of the organization, not just leadership, but we’re supported by our senior leaders,” says Venechuk. “We take the work that we do very seriously.”
The committee continually surveys employees to give them the opportunity to self-identify as under-represented groups, to help get the full picture of whether they feel they belong at ATCO and what the organization could be doing better. “I’ve noticed there’s a great intent and response to the data that’s collected,” says Venechuk. Examples of initiatives include stronger, more sustainable partnerships with Indigenous communities and greater support for women’s career paths.
While Venechuk is listening to what others have to say, she also appreciates that others listen to her, too. “They aren’t afraid of pilot projects here, and many of my ideas have been implemented,” she says. “I have a hybrid role now, and I receive recognition for it – ATCO allows employees to say where they feel they can add value.”
That kind of comment pleases Deanna Girard, vice president of human resources. She joined ATCO in 2014 as director of human resources, attracted by the sense of broader purpose behind the business, the diverse career opportunities and the global business model that extends far beyond Alberta’s borders.
“ATCO is about creating a better world, which aligns with my personal values,” says Girard. “I love working here because it feels good – it feels right. Our value of caring is core to who we are and has been since day one.”
Girard says that some members of the ATCO team in Alberta illustrated that caring nature when they hosted refugee families from Ukraine in their homes. “At our town halls, our CEO thanked all of the employees who have taken this action to support newcomers in their communities, demonstrating the depth and breadth of caring at ATCO,” she says.
Through a program called Employees Participating in Communities (EPIC), employees donate funds to not-for-profit charities of their choice. In 2021, almost $3 million was raised globally. “It’s a reflection of our values that our people give to the communities they serve,” says Girard.
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 23, 2023)
Here are some of the reasons why ATCO Group was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2023):
- Summer students at ATCO benefit from a wide variety of professional development offerings, including peer-to-peer networking sessions, continuous learning sessions, training for Microsoft Outlook and Teams, and sessions on topics such as resume writing and interviewing
- ATCO manages an Indigenous summer student program, hiring 28 Indigenous students in 2022 -- the program includes a welcome session and a buddy program pilot
- ATCO also supports students working towards their CPA designation through a chartered professional accountant program, where participants progress through various rotations of between six and 12 months across various business units -- students earn the practical work experience required for the CPA designation and receive ongoing mentorship from current ATCO employees
At ATCO, young people can really go places
While visiting Australia in 2018, Claire Pourbaix saw a construction site on the side of a highway with a trailer bearing a familiar name – ATCO, which is headquartered in her hometown of Calgary. “ATCO has such strong roots in Alberta, and you see the brand everywhere there, but this solidified how global they are,” she says.
ATCO is a diversified global corporation with investments in the essential services of structures and logistics, utilities, energy infrastructure, retail energy and commercial real estate. Pourbaix joined ATCO in 2019 as a compensation advisor. “I admired the international presence and diversity of opportunities, and I knew there’d be lots of places to go in my career,” she says.
Although Pourbaix had earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce in 2018, she was interested in moving into human resources. “My first manager supported me expanding my knowledge and put my name forward with an HR manager,” she says. “I really credit him, and the HR manager who took me on, for allowing me to share my role and for my career growth.”
In 2020, Pourbaix was promoted to HR and compensation advisor, and in April 2022 she became a platform specialist with ATCO’s SpaceLab. In this role, she’s helping develop a learning series and platform called Community of Action for employees to develop new projects and skills. “The people are what make ATCO truly great – they’re diverse and intelligent, and you can learn so much from them,” she says.
Employee wellness is a priority, with head office housing a gym and yoga studio. Pourbaix appreciates the discounted, on-site, half-hour massages she sometimes gets before starting her workday. “There’s a big focus on wellness – mental, emotional, physical and financial, with webinars on budgeting and pension plans,” she says.
ATCO also invests in its young people by supporting professional development. Pourbaix’s first manager encouraged her to pursue a Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation and reimbursed its fee. “We support our young employees however we can because we want them to progress in their careers here,” says Deanna Girard, vice president of human resources. “And it isn’t always about moving upward, it can be a lateral move to increase skills.”
Many young employees get their first ATCO experience before they graduate. ATCO supports co-op programs for finance, human resources and engineering students in their first year of post-secondary education. “We see these programs as a feeder to hire young people, but it isn’t the only way in,” says Girard.
ATCO visits university and college campuses to recruit, whether at job fairs or by speaking to students in classrooms. There’s a focus on diversity and increasing the number of Indigenous students – in 2022, 15 per cent of summer students in Alberta’s ATCO offices were Indigenous. “Building lasting relationships with Indigenous communities has long been a hallmark of our company everywhere we operate,” says Girard.
Summer students will be assigned a “buddy” – a mentor who can answer questions. They’ll get meaningful work aligned with their programs, and often it’s fun. For example, one group of students gave presentations as avatars to showcase their technical and creative skills.
Girard looks forward to the influx of students every May to August. “Our young people bring a wonderful energy, engagement and curiosity,” she says. “We support them fully with the hope that they’ll have long careers here.”