Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2022):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 24, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why Gibson Energy Inc. was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2022):
- Gibson Energy offers a range of financial incentives, including a share purchase plan (available to all employees), year-end bonuses for all, and referral bonuses of up to $1,500 for successful hires
- Gibson Energy's health benefits plan includes a flexible spending account of $1,000, which employees can allocate to a health or wellness spending account, and separate coverage for mental health support (to $2,000 per year)
- Gibson Energy provides training and development opportunities for individuals at various stages of their career, from career planning services and leadership training for current employees, to paid internships and co-op placements for students and recent grads just starting out
Gibson Energy builds flexibility into its plans
For Niki Horn, getting a job at the Gibson Energy facility in Hardisty, minutes from her home, was an easy decision. That was 13 years ago, and Horn, now supervisor of the control room at the facility, hasn’t regretted being part of a fixture in her community for a second.
“When we were kids, we drove by here every day and we looked for the trucks when we were on the road,” she says. “It seemed like somewhere people worked for a long time.”
While Gibson has been a major feature of Hardisty for more than 60 years, a few things have changed, most recently because of COVID-19. “The pandemic caused us to develop some of the tools we use now, even though some of us are back at work,” says Horn. Those include the addition of a monthly operations and engineering coffee chat, during which her team can check in with upper management in Calgary.
Krista Weir joined Gibson Energy’s Calgary head office as vice-president of human resources two years ago. “I was here six months before the pandemic hit,” she says. “Much longer in a pandemic mode than in a normal business mode.”
She saw right away how accessible the executive leadership team is and, only short months later, how responsive it was to the challenges that the pandemic presented. As it was for most companies, the first priority at Gibson was to ensure employees’ physical safety both in the office and in the field.
But there was also an “instant realization,” Weir says, that support for employees’ mental health was going to be equally important. As a result, three months into the pandemic, Gibson increased the employee benefit for mental health support to $2,000 from $500 — “a recognition,” she adds, “that the pandemic was hard for everybody.”
The company also introduced an online mental health support tool called People Connect, which virtually links employees with counsellors. Special staff rates for the sessions are much reduced — $37.50 for half an hour – which helps stretch the $2,000 benefit even further. Not surprisingly, the usage rates have risen and fallen along with the waves of the pandemic.
Senior leadership at Gibson also realized that while everyone was missing their colleagues, there was still a desire among them for work flexibility. As a result, leadership came up with a plan to start in January 2022: Tuesdays to Thursdays in the office and the option to work from home Mondays and Fridays.
Having people in office on the same days “really emphasizes collaboration and face-to-face problem-solving and strategy planning,” Weir explains. Work from home will be more “head-down analysis, spread sheets, PowerPoints and all those kinds of things.”
Another new initiative is “Work from Anywhere August,” which, as its name suggests, means employees can work from wherever they like through the month as long as they take meetings and work during head office hours. “It’s good for families, while the kids are out of school,” she adds. “It’s just something that’s a little bit different, and we’re hugely excited about it.”
That focus on its people is part of what has turned the sons and daughters of long-time employees into long-time employees themselves. “Basically, everybody in Hardisty just considers Gibson theirs,” says Horn. “Everybody knows somebody who works here or is related to somebody who works here. There’s a real understanding that people have lives as well.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2022):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 7, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why Gibson Energy Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2022):
- Gibson Energy set targets to increase the representation of women, racial and ethnic, and Indigenous persons in the workforce, senior leadership, and board of directors, as well as targets for candidate shortlists (comprised of a minimum of 50 per cent women and 50 per cent racial and ethnic or Indigenous peoples
- Gibson Energy introduced a company-wide course on Conscious Inclusion and tied course completion to employees' annual short term incentive program -- course completion is also required for new employees, and the company offers a learning platform with access to over 500 diversity and inclusion related courses
At Gibson Energy, different perspectives ensure success
Lincoln Sekkappan moved from India to Canada in 2014 and joined Calgary-based Gibson Energy, a liquids infrastructure company, in 2019. Even though English is not his first language, he says he has never experienced any of the stresses that his friends in other companies have, where their opinions are often not acknowledged and their pronunciations are sometimes laughed at.
“People know that I take some time to give my feedback and my language is a little bit different,” says Sekkappan, maintenance management co-ordinator. “But they understand, and my opinions are always heard. I feel really included here.”
What initially attracted Sekkappan to Gibson Energy were the company’s values, as well as the emphasis it puts on unity, diversity and equal opportunities for every person.
“Gibson’s greatest asset is its people, and we want the very best talent,” says CEO Steve Spaulding. “I’m a big proponent of being around those who contribute different perspectives and experiences, because this propels us forward in ways we wouldn’t have identified if we all had the same views. We all have our blind spots.”
In 2019, the company introduced a Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which was expanded two years later, to add different perspectives and experiences at the board and leadership team level to ensure the company’s long-term success.
Gibson Energy has also made a conscious effort to give people from different backgrounds the opportunity to interview for jobs there. Last year, Sekkappan experienced this when he was hiring a summer student. “We even try to keep the people who are getting interviewed as diverse as possible,” he says. “It can be very hard to get an interview when you have a surname like mine. At Gibson it was not a big thing.”
Spaulding prefers to look beyond a list of qualifications when he’s hiring. “The best employee is maybe not the one who looks best on paper but the one who works well with others, who’s focused and open-minded and who brings a lot of the soft skills too,” he says. “I want the person who can grow into a job and also do many other jobs.”
Diversity education is an on-going affair at Gibson Energy. A diversity and inclusion committee sent out surveys in 2020 and 2021 and, based on the feedback, implemented several changes. One is a calendar that highlights not just Canadian holidays but important days for people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions.
There are training sessions on unconscious bias – “which is pretty eye-opening,” Spaulding says – as well as micro-aggressions and stereotypes, plus an online learning portal where different and ever-changing diversity and inclusion topics are discussed. When company values include staying focused and open-minded, Sekkappan notes, that kind of education is essential.
“We encourage everyone to continue to learn and develop themselves,” he adds. “And, with the board, we put together targets that we want to achieve – Indigenous Persons, women, people of different ethnic backgrounds. They’re not quotas but they’re targets.”
For Spaulding and Gibson Energy, it’s the right, and only, thing to do. “We want to be one of the best places to work in Alberta,” he says. “And to do that, we want our workforce to reflect the diverse population of the province.”