Recognized as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 25, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Graham Group was selected as one of Alberta's Top Employers (2021):
- Graham Group highlights healthy habits and provides resources on wellness as part of its Healthy Workplace Month campaign in October and provides a mental health practitioner benefit of up to $1,000 per year
- Graham Group encourages employees to keep their skills up to date through a variety of training initiatives, from apprenticeships and trades programs to online training initiatives to the extensive in-house Builders Framework program -- employees can also take advantage of tuition subsidies for courses at external institutions (with no annual max)
- Graham Group cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan and helps employees save for the future with a defined contribution pension plan -- employees can also take advantage of retirement planning assistance services and ease the transition into retirement with phased-in work options
Graham builds upon learning and mobility
In her 12 years at Calgary-based Graham, project manager Stephanie Grundke has been a part of a wide range of projects, including an earth dam, tank farms and, most recently, a municipal bridge in Edmonton.
“I’ve never built the same thing twice,” says Grundke. “You work on a project for a couple of years, then get to start building something completely new. The changes keep things interesting and allow me to widen my knowledge base.”
Graham is a 95-year-old company that operates in five Canadian provinces and three U.S. states. At any time, they are building hospitals, schools, multi-family residential facilities, roads, bridges, wastewater treatment plants, industrial projects and oil and gas infrastructure, among other things.
Currently, the company is developing a formal, two-year program to ensure newly hired engineers, especially those with freshly minted degrees, can gain experience in various divisions and work with different managers.
“We want to expose them to as much of the business as possible so that two years in, they’re more broadly developed than if they’d just worked on one project,” says Alisdair Dickinson, vice-president human relations.
Graham encourages mobility throughout an individual’s career and employs a mobility specialist to assist employees and their families who are relocating.
Dickinson adds that the company also provides learning and development opportunities for employees at all stages of their careers, and has developed its own in-house training program focused on operational excellence called Builders’ Framework. There are also programs for those moving into supervisory or management roles, and those being groomed for leadership positions.
In a typical year, Graham hires upwards of 200 student interns for the summer. The company cut back slightly this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dickinson adds: “We tried to keep things as normal as possible for as many people as possible while ensuring everyone stays safe.”
The company recognized the gravity of the pandemic at the outset and immediately took steps to implement additional safety protocols on its construction sites. “We’ve developed crews with staggered start and break times, increased cleaning and physical distancing, and made masks mandatory when proper distancing wasn’t possible,” says Grundke.
Graham has long been committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates and 2020 was no exception. On July 25, the company organized a One Walk event to raise money for local food banks. Some 465 employees participated, resulting in a contribution of $28,000 divided among 11 food banks.