In the April issue of CBJ, we introduced you the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR), the sector council for the Canadian minerals and metals industry, and MiHR Innovate, the latest resource developed by the Council to share knowledge and effective HR practices and initiatives. With over 100,000 skilled workers needed by 2020, the Council developed MiHR Innovate to help mining companies across Canada address the skills shortage by sharing practices that could be developed into tailored HR solutions.
MiHR Innovate provides mining HR professionals with a platform to open up the dialogue and engage with fellow members of industry in the world of mining HR. In our first look at MiHR Innovate, we introduced you to the companies who are participating in the program. Since that date, the list has grown, and now includes the following leading Canadian companies: AREVA Resources Canada Inc., Baja Mining Company, Barrick Gold Corporation, BHP Billiton, Cameco, De Beers Canada, DMC Mining Services, Goldcorp, Hy-Tech Drilling, IAMGOLD, Kinross Gold Corporation, Noront Resources Ltd., NovaGold Resources, PotashCorp, Quinsam Coal Corporation, Teck Resources, and Vale.
The practices highlighted through MiHR Innovate will be featured alongside interactive discussion groups to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration amongst mining industry HR professionals to help the mining HR community strengthen ideas against an industry sounding board. MiHR Innovate will achieve a positive profile for mining employers to attract motivated talent aspiring to work for employers who value their workforce. This is part of a strategy to change perceptions of the mining industry and reposition it as modern, technologically advanced and culturally diverse with great opportunities. This profile will also reinforce engagement and pride of existing mining employees about their industry and their employers.
In the second of the MiHR Innovate series in CBJ, we are pleased to share practices brought forth by Teck Resources. Teck is one of the participating companies engaging in forward-thinking practices designed to improve the HR landscape in mining.
Teck is Canada’s largest diversified mining, mineral processing and metallurgical company. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, the company is world leader in the production of copper, steelmaking coal and zinc, molybdenum and specialty metals, with interests in several oil sands development assets.
Teck owns or has interest in 13 mines in Canada, the U.S., Chile and Peru (Antamina), as well as one metallurgical complex in Canada. The company has expertise across the full range of activities related to mining, including exploration, development, smelting, refining, safety, environmental protection, product stewardship, recycling and research. They are currently actively exploring in countries throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa.
According to the company, “Teck is committed to creating value for its shareholders while continually improving its performance as a responsible corporate citizen and a leader in its industry. We pursue development of new technologies that make mining more economically and environmentally sustainable and strive to be a Partner of Choice wherever we operate and with whomever we are associated.”
Clearly, Teck has put in place programs that will see the company set the bar for employee development and growth.
Professional development: Insight from Teck
Teck currently employs almost 10,000 people at its offices and operations around the world.
The company strives to create value, and ensure future success by “paying particular attention to the development of the technical personnel within our organization.” Teck classifies a technical employee as a person who is with the team because of their technical skills. Mary Gilzean, Director, International Human Resources at Teck, told CBJ about managing human resources and developing staff at Teck.
CBJ: How does managing human resource development differ between the mining and oil and gas initiatives? What about in terms of technical knowledge development?
MARY GILZEAN: Teck provides performance feedback and development opportunities to its employees across all business units and functional areas. Our priority is to attract and retain highly productive employees through strategic and progressive HR practices and high quality service. We look closely at each regional area and business unit to align our human resource strategies with the current market trends in both mining and energy. With regard to specific technical knowledge development, each business unit manages training opportunities for their respective employees.
CBJ: How does your professionals-in-training program stack up to others in the industry?
MG: Professional development is a priority for us at Teck and we provide our employees with a supportive atmosphere in which to excel and contribute. For technical employees in the first few years of their career, Teck has developed a professional-in-training development program, which ensures that emerging technical employees have the skills and knowledge they need to perform well in their roles and to gain the breadth of experience required to continue on a challenging career path. Each professional-in-training has a series of core technical skill sets to develop and critical functional exposures to experience within a structured timeline, which provides an overall road map for the employee’s learning. Teck’s professional-in-training program ensures that participants acquire the exposures and experience required to develop into well-rounded technical employees and obtain professional status.
CBJ: Do you think that your employee programs offer Teck a competitive edge?
MG: Attracting the best available talent is a priority at Teck, particularly as the baby boom generation transitions to retirement. We have developed new recruitment programs, including a diversity initiative to reach women and groups that have been under-represented in our operations. Aside from our professional-in-development program, Teck offers employees opportunities such as pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, an MBA program, language training opportunities, and educational assistance to ensure that all employees remain on the cutting edge of their field. Our commitment to our people also extends to their families. For example, we offer a scholarship program for our employees’ children who further their education at a post-secondary institution. For employees whose children are pursuing excellence in sport, we have funding programs for athletes who compete at national and international levels in Olympic or Paralympic events.
CBJ: How do you help longer-term employees strategize to develop their own skills? Can you explain your feedback process with regards to maximizing employee growth?
MG: We know that a rewarding career is a big part of every employee’s commitment, and that continuous feedback and career growth opportunities are key. We invest in our employees at Teck with technical and “soft skills” training, competitive compensation and benefits, recognition programs, and career development opportunities. A core tool in talent development and career growth at Teck is our performance management program. Employees and supervisors work together to set performance and development objectives that enable growth and encourage career planning and opportunities. Results from the individual conversations are fed into a business unit-wide talent review, which is then fed into a corporate-wide review. We offer a variety of formal development programs that are designed to outline the path for individual and team success. From the day to day coaching of employees through to formal reviews, the communication between employees and their supervisors is crucial to ensuring the best performance of our employees and the greatest success of our company.
It is clear that there are many career options for Teck employees, and many Teck team members shift roles within the company over the years. Teck has set the benchmark for career and personal development within its staff, and leads the industry in doing so.