Enbridge Lays Down the Pipelines for Immigrant Talent to Succeed

Enbridge gas workersEnbridge has long been deliberate about creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace, making it an employer of choice for immigrant talent. 

  • “The treatment and equitable possibilities for immigrants are remarkable. Enbridge is a leader in promoting, supporting, and embracing diversity in the workplace. An intercultural space is the norm in the company.”
  • “I’ve been treated with respect, kindness, and at times like family by my direct leaders and co-workers.”
  • “Enbridge is not an employer that measures just business performance; our leaders truly care about the people who work here.”

These are excerpts from letters written by a handful of internationally educated professionals that Enbridge Pipelines employs. The company had submitted the letters in support of its winning application for the 2014 RISE (Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton) employer award for welcoming workplaces initiated by the Edmonton Mennonite Center for Newcomers.  This is the third time it is being recognized with a RISE award.

“We work hard to make Enbridge a welcoming workplace for internationally educated professionals (IEPs),” said Lori Campbell, Enbridge’s Diversity Manager, “and we’re thrilled to receive such an award.”

So what makes Enbridge a welcoming workplace for IEPs?

“We believe in professional development, and have developed a series of diversity-based educational courses for employees who speak English as an alternative language,” said Jill Chesley, HR Advisor on the company’s diversity team.  These courses, both online and onsite at the workplace, are offered in partnership with NorQuest College and include advanced language and management subjects. They are either free or the fee is reimbursed by the company.

“We also promote inclusion initiatives, and support an employee resource group (ERG) for IEPs and allies called Enbrace, a play on Enbridge+embrace,” said Ms. Chesley.

Feminen, an ERG for female engineers, also has a discussion forum that serves internationally trained engineers with questions about certification issues.

The ERGs are employee-led and driven and they host several events that interest their members, including Lunch and Learns for inter-cultural understanding, networking sessions and career panel discussions. “The success of an ERG is gauged by measuring participation, learning and feedback,” said Ms. Chesley. “For IEPs these groups are also a potential vehicle to get more involved with the organisation and showcase their leadership skills.”

Preparing diversity champions

Enbridge also encourages its employees to become diversity champions to embed the culture of inclusion and take it beyond being just compliance issue. To achieve this goal, Dr. Campbell collaborated with Ricardo Carlos, former associate director at the Centre for Race and Culture to co-design a course specific to the company.

To date the four diversity workshops offered to employees were fully subscribed. The intent of this effort is to continue to build foundational knowledge among employees at all levels of the organization around what an inter-culturally competent organization looks like and how to contribute to that.

“Enbridge’s commitment to diversity means a commitment to hiring people whose skills and abilities contribute to the success of the organization and who reflect the communities in which we live and work,” said Ms. Chesley.

She said that commitment has lead to Enbridge being named as one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers for 2014 in addition to receiving the three RISE Awards and two Alberta Business Awards of Distinction: 2014 Diversity Leadership Award of Distinction and 2014 Employer of Persons with Disabilities Award of Distinction.

Tips for employers:

  • Follow fair recruitment practices and consider international job experience when developing and preparing job offers
  • Commit to making workplaces diverse and respectful
  • Build a workplace that is equitable, respectful and free from harassment
  • Encourage diversity because different backgrounds, abilities and perspectives will ensure innovation and dynamism
  • Support communities by partnering with immigrant-serving organizations and give employees a chance to get involved
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