Diversity and inclusion

We are committed to a culture of inclusion at Suncor, and we know this means we must change the way we think and act across the organization.
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    We believe diversity of thought, experience, skills and background across our workforce leads to better outcomes and is proven to improve innovation and performance. We also believe:

    • a culture of inclusion allows us to attract and retain a broader range of talent
    • intentionally bringing people together who think differently adds value to the conversation and helps make better, more innovative decisions
    • in creating an environment where all employees are treated respectfully and feel valued

    We proactively review our representation, retention, development and demographic data to understand our progress, guide our focus areas, help tell the story and ensure our workplace reflects the demographics of the communities in which we work. Suncor’s success in diversity and inclusion (D&I) is not solely about metrics, it’s about the power of inclusion and the impact this has on our business outcomes.

    “This is about more than equal opportunity or demographics. We are moving forward on integrating diversity and inclusion into our people processes and reducing the unconscious bias of employees and leaders across our company,” – Pat White, vice president Talent, D&I Council chair.

    Managing and enabling D&I

    How D&I is managed

    • Suncor’s Board diversity policy
    • our CEO’s goal to ensure Suncor has the competent, engaged and diverse leadership, workforce and culture it needs to achieve its triple bottom line objectives
    • Suncor’s D&I Council, which was formed in 2017 with cross-functional leaders who represent Suncor business and functional areas
    • our Standards of Business Conduct Code
    • Suncor’s social goal
    • a harassment and violence-free working environment policy

    How D&I is enabled

    Suncor’s D&I strategy and its five focus areas:

    1. Leadership and ownership
    2. People processes
    3. Awareness and skill development
    4. Employee networks
    5. Community and industry

    Leadership and ownership

    • Our D&I Council members are senior leaders from across Suncor.
    • Leadership development programs are built on developing core competencies and focused sessions on leveraging differences. Inclusion is a core competency for all people leaders at Suncor.

    People processes

    • With unconscious bias training, we reduce systemic bias by leaders and our Talent Acquisition recruitment team through our people processes (hiring, coaching, promotion, etc.).
    • Hiring Leader Training: In 2017, we held six sessions to strengthen leaders’ abilities to hire and select employees with skills, abilities and backgrounds that will support our success. This included helping leaders be aware of how unconscious bias can affect a leader’s review of applicants and hiring decisions.

    Awareness and skill development

    • Aboriginal Awareness web-based training (WBT) and classroom-based learning sessions: These programs are intended to increase knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and to build a culture that’s aligned with Suncor's Aboriginal Relations Policy. At the request of our employees and several organizations, Suncor’s Aboriginal Awareness WBT is publicly available in English and French. The training has been helpful in raising awareness about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and changing perceptions.
    • Aboriginal Culture Learning Experiences: There are a variety of experiences to choose from, each intended to support further understanding and awareness of Aboriginal Peoples and their unique history, rights and cultures. We partner with Elders and communities to make content that is relevant and meaningful for participants.

    Employee networks provide learning and connection opportunities in the following areas:

    • Aboriginal
    • inclusion
    • women
    • multi-disciplinary teams
    • community and industry

    Summer Aboriginal Student Program

    As part of our Early Talent hiring program, Suncor provides Aboriginal post-secondary students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the oil and gas sector through summer terms. In 2017, our program grew significantly to 17 students up from eight students in 2016.

    We are also members of the following external organizations:

    • 30% Club of Canada – member, CEO Steve Williams
    • Canadian Centre on Diversity and Inclusion – corporate member
    • Catalyst – corporate member
    • Indigenous Works – corporate member

    Progress and strategy

    Our progress and strategy will be determined by the D&I Council to support the CEO goal and appropriate measurements. We will also encourage and oversee D&I progress of senior leadership teams across the business who steward their own plans within their area.

    In 2017, significant progress has been made to advance an inclusive culture at Suncor, including:

    • The D&I Council stand-up was a significant milestone, as we understand that this culture must be enabled by leaders across the business who understand the outcomes we are trying to drive and who will enable the steps we take towards making progress.
    • D&I enterprise and senior leadership team goals:
      • Long-term goal – ensure Suncor has the competent, engaged and diverse leadership, workforce and culture it needs to achieve its triple bottom line objectives
      • 2018 goal – ensure diversity is improved, valued and optimized
      • 2018 metric – 2025 D&I metrics and plans
    • We continue to see active participation across the D&I employee networks:
      • Aboriginal Employee Network had a 40% increase from 2016 membership
      • Downstream Workplace Inclusion Network launched in 2017 and now has more than 400 members

    Learning opportunities

    Participation in our formal learning opportunities for employees and leaders is one of the ways we will build understanding and awareness of why D&I matters, how it will drive better business outcomes, and how we need to change the way we think and act to accomplish our objective of an inclusive culture.

    • Unconscious Bias Foundations: the vast majority of Suncor’s mid-level leaders have completed classroom or virtual Unconscious Bias Foundations training, with plans to begin delivering this learning opportunity to frontline leaders in 2018. By the end of 2017, 98% of all leaders above director level have completed Unconscious Bias Foundations, with training rolling out to frontline leaders in 2018.
    • Aboriginal Awareness WBT: close to 5,000 employees and contractors have completed the WBT since 2015.
    • Unconscious Bias classroom-based training: participation has focused on leaders above director level completing the program first, and has rolled to manager level for participation in 2018.
    • Introduction to Aboriginal Awareness classroom-based training is open to all Suncor employees and leaders. Participation increased over 25% from 2016 registrations for both Introduction to Aboriginal Awareness and Unconscious Bias across the organization.
    “I always thought I had an understanding of the history of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. After today, I now know, there is so much I do not know.” – feedback from Introduction to Aboriginal Awareness participant.

    Women Building Futures (WBF)

    • Established in 1998, WBF is Canada’s first trades training facility for women. WBF trains women in heavy industrial trades and places them into the Alberta workforce with an employment rate of 90%.
    • A pillar in WBF’s vision is meaningful and impactful engagement with Indigenous women, communities and organizations. They are focused on addressing the barriers to economic participation, increasing the number of Indigenous women who are trained and employed in construction and maintenance, and supporting capacity building in Indigenous communities.
    • Suncor, through the Suncor Energy Foundation, has been engaged with WBF since 2004. To date, our total commitment to WBF has been more than $2.5 million.

    Early Talent hiring programs

    • In 2017, there was a substantial increase in female Early Talent hires. Suncor improved from 21% female candidates from 226 Early Talent hires in 2016 to 29% female candidates from 418 Early Talent hires in 2017.

    Partnerships and collaborations to further integrate D&I

    WBF partnership for female heavy equipment operators and technicians

    Suncor is working hard to attract and recruit mid-career, motivated women with the physical and mental confidence to work at Suncor mine operations. Our partnership with WBF helps us find women with these qualities.

    In 2013, Suncor approached WBF to create and deliver a program that would help engage women in the workplace and increase the number of female heavy equipment operator candidates.

    The program was designed to provide participants with essential safety certification, productivity awareness and workplace culture training to prepare them to enter a three-month paid co-op to become heavy equipment operators at the Millennium Mine. During the three-month co-op, participants receive ongoing training and coaching from WBF and Suncor to support learning and cultural integration. Upon successful completion of the program, employment assistance and job retention support are provided to ensure long-term success for the graduate.

    In 2014, Suncor and WBF launched their first customized program for Millennium Mine. As of February 2018, four classes have graduated, and the fifth program will conclude in May 2018. The program was also extended to Fort Hills, with one class completed and the second beginning in November of 2017. So far, this partnership has resulted in 66 women hired at Suncor. Of those women who graduated, 15% were Indigenous. The average wage increase for graduates was 112%, which significantly impacted the lives of the women, their families (including 40 children) and their communities.

    Through the WBF program in 2017, Suncor hired 30 female heavy equipment operators for our Oil Sands operations and eight for Fort Hills, as well as four heavy equipment technicians.

    “By empowering women to be successful in their careers, not only do we strengthen communities, but we increase the size of the talent pool that Suncor draws upon.” – Shelley Powell, senior vice president, Oil Sands operations

    Innovative approaches

    Aboriginal Awareness web-based training on Suncor.com

    At the request of our employees and several organizations, Suncor’s Aboriginal Awareness WBT is publicly available in English and French. The training was developed by Suncor in 2015 and designed for our employees by ICOM Productions, and has been helpful in raising awareness about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and changing perceptions.

    Employees told us they wanted to be able to share the training with family and friends, and community organizations asked us to share it to enrich their own training opportunities. We are offering this training to anyone, free of charge, to learn more about the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples. Several groups have found it beneficial to view the training together and have a discussion afterwards. By sharing experiences, we can all continue to learn from, and with, each other.

    Aboriginal workforce development advisor

    Meeting workforce development commitments to advance Aboriginal participation in energy development requires ongoing connection and communication with Aboriginal communities where Suncor has agreements and commitments in place.

    Suncor’s Aboriginal workforce development advisor works primarily in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The advisor works directly with communities and their community employment advisors and/or committees, to understand community needs and initiatives, share information on Suncor’s workforce needs, understand who has similar objectives, and collaboratively work with others to strengthen the employment readiness of potential Aboriginal candidates.

    The advisor also provides insights and advice to internal stakeholders to drive Aboriginal inclusion in people processes and programs.

    Summer Aboriginal Student Program

    As part of our Early Talent hiring program, which includes summer students, co-op students and new graduates, Suncor provides Aboriginal post-secondary students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and exposure to the oil and gas sector through summer terms.

    Thanks to leaders who opened positions in their area, we successfully placed 17 Aboriginal students in Fort McMurray, Fort Hills and Calgary in 2017 – our highest number of Aboriginal student placements to date.

    Recommended readings
    Social goal
    Stakeholder and Aboriginal relations