Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2021):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 12, 2020)
Here are some of the reasons why Nutrien Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2021) and Saskatchewan's Top Employers (2021):
- Nutrien supports ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies (to $5,000 annually) for courses related and not directly related to their current position -- the company also offers extensive apprenticeship and trades programs in a variety of fields, as well as leadership development programs
- Nutrien supported over 1,700 charities and community organizations in the past year, focusing its efforts on initiatives related to sustainable agriculture and food solutions, environmental stewardship, and diversity and inclusion -- the company also offers employees the opportunity to give back to their local communities with a paid day off to volunteer
- Nutrien helps employees save for the future with contributions to a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan (depending on employee group) and provides retirement planning assistance
Nutrien helps lift all boats in the pandemic
For Nutrien IT analyst Jared Pritchard, it was no big deal. After his friend, a pediatrician, sent him a picture of clips that hook on to a face mask and take pressure off the ears, Pritchard designed one and used his 3D printer to print it. “My friend said it was a life saver because it took the strain off from wearing the masks all day long,” says Pritchard, who has been with the Saskatoon-based agriculture solutions provider for the past five years.
Word got out about Pritchard’s invention, and before he knew it, his 3D printer was whirring away all day and he had shipped hundreds of his mask clips to those in need. “It was a unique way I could help,” he adds. “It did definitely give me a routine and gave me a purpose. In my opinion it was really minor, but it felt good to help out.”
Like Pritchard, many Nutrien employees were eager to lend a hand to those who needed it, particularly in the early days of COVID-19. In response, Nutrien raised their one day of paid leave for volunteering to five, almost immediately. And the resulting outreach has been incredible, according to Mike Webb, executive vice-president and chief human resources and administrative officer. “Volunteer hours have just skyrocketed.”
The global company also quickly realized that a number of charitable groups were getting perilously close to running short of money and supplies. “We approved an additional $1 million U.S. to focus specifically on organizations that were in really difficult financial circumstances,” explains Webb. “It was very broadly spread around the world.” The company also provided loans to help farming businesses survive the pandemic.
A 30-page COVID-19 “playbook” guided the company’s efforts, documenting policy and protocol on everything related to the virus, from human resources and legal perspectives to communications and IT. And then they shared it with anyone who needed it – including large organizations that would have traditionally been considered competitors and farming customers who run small businesses. “It was just like, ‘Hey, all boats rise with the tide,’” says Webb. “This is not a time to hold back something that other people can benefit from.”
And because Nutrien staff routinely use masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), the company has relationships with logistical organizations and manufacturers – and they leveraged it, donating thousands of PPE items to hospitals, among other places. “When you get a note from a neonatal hospital saying you really made a difference with the N95 masks – boy, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Webb says.
When Nutrien formed in 2018, he explains, the leadership considered what it wanted the company’s core values to be. “Our two values are safety and integrity, and these are things that we really wanted to stand for,” Webb says. “But they were really tested.
“When you get into a crisis, you see whether what you’ve done is going to work, and if we hadn’t got it right, I think this all would’ve looked really different,” he says. “And it demonstrated to our employees and to stakeholders that even during a period of crisis, this is what we stand for as a company and we’re going to live up to it.”
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
By Kristina Leung, Stephanie Leung, and Jing Wang, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 18, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Nutrien Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2021):
- Nutrien manages a dedicated Aboriginal internship program as well as a diversity and inclusion internship for Aboriginal and female students enrolled in disciplines such as engineering, business, and IT -- students participate in mentorship, networking, and community initiatives, and work in a variety of business areas including corporate support, finance, and law, to name a few
- Through Nutrien's four-year rotational engineer-in-training program, students can combine their technical training with hands-on work experience, with guidance from an experienced mentor
- Nutrien manages apprenticeships and skilled training programs for millwrights, instrumental technicians, electricians and welders (to name a few), providing funds to cover the costs of required training as well as offering full pay for program participants
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2021):
By Kristina Leung and Stephanie Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2021)
Here are some of the reasons why Nutrien Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2021):
- Nutrien develops diverse pipelines for future talent through scholarships and internships for Indigenous and female students, and partners with Indigenous student centres at post-secondary institutions as well as Indigenous employment centres
- Nutrien offers training and education on a variety of diversity related topics including unconscious bias, Aboriginal awareness, LGBTQ awareness, and events and workshops to recognize National Aboriginal History Month
At Nutrien, diversity is key to nurturing a business
In the nine years since Wendy Ng joined Nutrien, the corporate conversation about diversity and inclusion has evolved from being largely gender-focused to supporting a much broader understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion concepts.
Ng is co-chair of the Calgary chapter of Women in Nutrien (WIN), one of six employee-led resource groups at Saskatoon-based Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs, services and solutions. “Our mission is to create an inclusive environment where leaders support women’s success,” explains Ng, vice-president of internal audit. “We’re focused on driving change by developing initiatives that support the talent pipeline for women, inspiring management to support workplace diversity and giving back to the community.”
One of WIN’s recent initiatives was hosting mentorship circles – virtual events where one leader and three employees discuss career development, among other things. “The conversations are meant to be intimate and aligned for honest discussion,” says Ng. In the name of inclusion, she adds, all employees are welcome, though gender and diversity topics are the focus of the chats.
And the conversation has increasingly involved men. “We’re finding many more male ambassadors that truly speak out about diversity and inclusion and support it,” Ng says. “Support from men is critical for getting us where we want to be.”
Already, her group has made some strides in terms of highlighting and spotlighting women leaders. “There’s a willingness to have open conversations about it and not just focus on targets,” says Ng. “We’re talking much more openly, and we’re looking at things more from an action perspective.”
But commitment to diversity and inclusion is not something that Nutrien leadership merely relegates to a few employee groups. The company believes that to be successful, it needs the varying perspectives that contributors from diverse backgrounds and perspectives can share.
“We’ve got a very sophisticated board of directors that expects us to have a sustainable business,” explains Mike Webb, executive vice-president and chief human resources and administrative officer. “The only way we’re going to have a sustainable business in every way is by attracting and retaining the top talent we need to grow.”
In fact, he says, the organization has made it clear that all employees need to support equity, diversity and inclusion. Among other things, 600 employees have already gone through unconscious bias training.
“We keep very close tabs on our hiring statistics and to what extent our diversity candidates make their way through the long list to the short list and ultimately appointment,” Webb explains. “And frankly we know which managers get it and which managers need to do better, and that gets discussed when we have our talent reviews.”
Apart from setting up a new centre of excellence for diversity, equity and inclusion, and putting financial resources behind its employee-led groups, Nutrien has also created an employee learning hub. There, resources provide insights into the experiences and perspectives of colleagues and community members of different backgrounds.
Nutrien has also enhanced its maternity, adoption and parental leave policy to include up to 160 hours of paid leave for a primary caregiver and up to 80 hours for a secondary caregiver, Webb says. “That has really hit the mark.”
All these changes, Webb says, make for really exciting times at Nutrien. “The board is aligned, the executive leadership team is aligned, and our employees are aligned with the fact that we need to do better,” he adds. “We’re not there yet. We’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of momentum, a lot of great things happening, and we’re really excited about what it means for us.”