Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 11, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why BASF Canada Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2022) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022):
- BASF Canada launched an Employee Assistance Fund to help employees in need of financial support as a result of the pandemic
- BASF Canada invests in ongoing employee development with a generous tuition reimbursement program, offering $25,000 annually for graduate programs and $15,000 annually for undergraduate programs
- BASF Canada supports new mothers and fathers (including adoptive parents) with maternity and parental leave top-up, to 100 per cent of salary for 17 weeks, and offers an option to phase in the return to work -- additionally, head office employees can take advantage of onsite child care
Inclusion makes great chemistry at BASF Canada
When Caitlin Inwards joined BASF Canada Inc. in December 2020 after more than 10 years in various human resource roles in related industries, she knew about the global chemical company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
“It was evident in my interviews that BASF was a front-runner in the DEI space,” says Inwards, now a senior talent & organizational development/learning specialist at the company’s head office in Mississauga, Ont.
Despite a strong desire to get involved, she had only limited experience in developing and administering DEI programs. “I was up front,” she says. “I said I hadn’t had many opportunities in the past, but I saw an opportunity at BASF to focus on DEI.
“Fortunately,” she says, “they had faith in me.”
As one of nine members of the company’s Canada People Team involved in HR and communications, Inwards has worked over the past year with company leaders on DEI initiatives. In particular, she co-chairs the company’s DEI Council, whose members lead the company’s operations across the country and ensure that BASF Canada’s DEI initiatives help in attracting, developing and retaining the best possible talent.
“DEI is at the core of BASF Canada’s strategy,” says Apala Mukherjee, president of BASF Canada. “We believe that when we have a diverse workforce, conscious inclusion, and equity among our team, real impactful work happens.”
A subsidiary of BASF SE, BASF Canada employs almost 1,200 people across the country, including 135 employees at headquarters involved in corporate functions such as communications, ecology, health and safety and human resources.
Over the past year, Inwards has been involved in numerous DEI-related campaigns, including the Inclusion Champions Initiative, in which 30 employees across Canada, all of whom come from different roles, are actively planning and executing impactful actions in six critical areas for DEI at BASF Canada.
“We try to draw in voices from all parts of the organization,” she says, “so we can see how employees’ experience on the shop floor, for example, where they don’t have access to a computer all day, might differ from someone who’s online all day.”
In addition to the DEI Council, a number of employee-led resource groups contribute to the company’s DEI strategy, including Women in BASF, ALLchemie (LGBTQ+ and allies), the Remote Employee Community, and the DEI IMPACT Group, which now focuses primarily on the BIPOC community and allies.
“We want every employee in the company to feel included,” says Mukherjee. “True belonging is a powerful motivator for engagement and is something we strive to provide from the moment a new employee joins our community.”
Inwards felt a sense of belonging from her first day with the company, even though she spent the first 10 months working from home because of COVID-19 restrictions. As her manager introduced her to people who would contribute to her success, Inwards suggested ways to improve the onboarding process.
The response, she says, was reassuring. “Instead of reacting defensively, they replied with a message of empowerment – ‘How can we support you to make the improvements you believe would be impactful?’”
BASF Canada’s parent organization employs 117,000 people in 90 countries and has earned a reputation for developing talent throughout the world. Not surprisingly, within six weeks, Inwards’ manager had enrolled her in a change-management program to further her career with the company.
“It’s one thing I love about BASF,” says Inwards. “The organization really fosters internal talent. Whether it’s a lateral move or a progression in your career, the company supports you.”
BASF Canada builds sustainability from the ground up
When Ravi Chauhan joined BASF Canada in 2019, he brought an outlook on grassroots sustainability that corresponded closely to the company’s community-level objectives. He was also familiar with the local community around the company’s head office in Mississauga, Ont.
Not only had Chauhan studied at the University of Waterloo for a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, environment and business, but he’d grown up in Brampton, only a few kilometres away.
“I’d studied the way companies balance sustainability while growing their business,” says Chauhan, a sustainability and government relations specialist at BASF, “and I knew there had been a strategic shift in the way companies approach sustainability.”
A subsidiary of BASF SE, a global chemical company, BASF Canada employs more than 1,100 people at production facilities and offices across Canada. At its head office, employees administer corporate functions such as communications, sustainability, health and safety and human resources.
In the Mississauga community, the company drives outreach initiatives focused on three key pillars: science, technology, engineering and math; sustainability and diversity; and equity and inclusion through monetary donations, partnerships and employee volunteer efforts.
Most recently, BASF launched a virtual food drive, where all donations went directly to local communities across the country, matched dollar for dollar. Since 2016 BASF has supported Indigenous Canadian students, through a partnership with Indspire, to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees. With BASF’s sponsorship, more than 20 Indigenous students have received financial support for their post-secondary education.
“I’m particularly proud of our team for continuing to give back to the community and finding ways to make an impactful difference, even during the uncertainty due to the pandemic,” says BASF Canada’s president, Apala Mukherjee.
In 2021, the company began an awards program to recognize customers who demonstrate leadership in building a sustainable future. The program pays particular attention to customers who find innovative ways to integrate sustainability goals into their business strategy.
“Sustainability is not just about tackling climate change,” says Chauhan. “It’s taking a holistic view of our impact on the environment, the economy and society.
“In fact,” he adds, “sustainability has been a core part of BASF’s strategy for years. This is what excited me about BASF right from the beginning.”
Chauhan’s work at the company extends beyond his immediate community to other parts of Canada as well, and to all facets of the company’s operations.
“Our corporate sustainability team collaborates with different business units,” he says, “from agriculture and automotive to personal care and construction. It’s critical to connect and understand the challenges facing the customers of these different industries.”
While purchasing renewable energy for its sites, BASF Canada partnered with Bullfrog Power to support a new solar installation for Hiawatha First Nation’s community general store. With the arrival of COVID-19, one of the company’s sites began producing hand sanitizer, which it donated along with personal protective equipment to local Indigenous communities.
“It’s a way for us play our part as good corporate citizens,” says Chauhan, who has worked from home during the pandemic since March 2020, two months after he assumed his current role at the company.
For Mukherjee, sustainability is a key driver of the global organization’s strategy, involving more than 117,000 employees in almost every country in the world.
“In order to truly live by our commitment of ‘we create chemistry for a sustainable future’,” she says, “it’s vital that we contribute to the communities where we work and live. The past year has highlighted its importance.