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Performance Area: We’re improving Aboriginal workforce development through hiring, retention and advancement of Aboriginal employees across our businesses
Advancing Aboriginal employment at Suncor means more than increasing the number of self-identified Aboriginal Peoples working at Suncor. While this continues as a priority, we also know that to truly create lasting positive change, we need to build a culture of greater inclusion at Suncor. This means changing the way we think and act so that all diverse groups are respected, valued and engaged in our workplace.
We recognize that having Aboriginal Peoples working at all levels and across Suncor’s business provides an important connection to other Aboriginal employees and communities across Canada.
Inclusive recruitment processes
In 2015, Suncor enlisted the help of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC) to conduct an independent review of our recruitment and selection practices. The AHRC report recognized the positive activities taking place related to Suncor’s Aboriginal recruitment and selection efforts. It highlighted recommendations to strengthen attraction activities and to encourage Aboriginal candidates to apply for Suncor opportunities.
A number of these recommendations have been actioned:
- Suncor shares Aboriginal job postings with Aboriginal employment coordinators in many communities in the Wood Buffalo region. This is helping us to attract more qualified candidates for open positions.
- Suncor has developed new marketing tactics and has increased the number of outlets that we share our postings with to reach this important talent segment Canada-wide, including partnership with the Aboriginal Link network.
- A Suncor representative visits local Wood Buffalo Aboriginal communities on a regular basis to review resumes, talk about what it’s like to work for Suncor and share additional information about education and training programs.
- Suncor has an Aboriginal workforce strategy for our Fort Hills operations. The strategy has helped us to consistently increase Aboriginal hiring and retention.
- Suncor actively participates in Aboriginal recruitment events, as well as community outreach events (i.e. Saddle Lake).
- Suncor actively participates in Aboriginal recruitment events, as well as community outreach events (i.e., Saddle Lake). Suncor’s Aboriginal summer program resulted in a record number of student placements at our operations in Calgary, Fort Hills and Fort McMurray, so far.
Aboriginal Employee Network
The Aboriginal Employee Network is an employee resource group developed by and for Suncor employees wanting to play a part in advancing Aboriginal inclusion and creating a safe and supportive workplace culture for Aboriginal employees. Approximately 400 people joined the network since its launch in the summer of 2015, and membership continues to grow steadily. The network is structured around four focus areas being advanced by small work teams called Circles. Each Circle has five to eight members from across Suncor’s business, who meet regularly to develop programs and initiatives in support of four key objectives:
- Aboriginal Community Circle: build a community of support for Aboriginal employees at Suncor
- Aboriginal Outreach Circle: develop a pool of Suncor ambassadors to visit Aboriginal communities, with a focus on youth
- Aboriginal Advisory Circle: create a way for Aboriginal employees to advise Suncor on how the company works with Aboriginal Peoples
- Aboriginal Awareness Circle: to increase awareness and understanding within Suncor of Aboriginal experiences
While not a program targeted specifically at Aboriginal inclusion, we have introduced the concept of unconscious bias to our leaders. We began offering an unconscious bias course to our mid and senior level leaders in 2016. In addition, conversations aimed at mitigating bias are embedded in key people programs:
- succession planning
Identifying and addressing unconscious bias is foundational to changing the way we think and act. Leader education and ongoing application of learnings will assist in mitigating bias in our talent management processes to provide fair access to opportunities and rewards. Our belief is that this training, coupled with Aboriginal Awareness training for all employees, will lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Suncor’s Diversity and Inclusion and Talent Acquisition teams are working to build relationships with Aboriginal communities. We are focused on First Nations communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB), as well as with the Aboriginal SET holders in the RMWB and Edmonton areas. The discussions are helping us to:
- understand the employability, needs and interests of Aboriginal Peoples in the areas where we operate
- gather labour market information regarding the skills, education and availability of potential candidates for Suncor
- identify interested, qualified candidates for current job opportunities
- understand the challenges and opportunities relevant to our Aboriginal workforce development plans