Employee Engagement

Every day, our employees contribute to the meaningful development of our oil sands resources and the relentless pursuit of innovative energy solutions. Toward this, Syncrude provides a workplace where every person is valued, respected and rewarded, where inclusion and diversity are integrated into how we approach our work, and where people can be proud and recognized for a job well done.

by the numbers

In 2020, Syncrude directly employed around 4,900 people. Indigenous representation is currently about 10 per cent of our workforce and seven per cent of leadership positions. Women account for about one-fifth of our employees and close to 18 per cent of leadership.

inclusion and diversity

Syncrude’s Vision and Values are rooted in fostering a workplace where everyone feels able to participate and achieve their full potential. In 2020, the company embarked on the next step in our journey with the initiation of a formal inclusion and diversity (I&D) strategy informed through ongoing employee engagement and championed by executive leadership. The strategy will ensure continued respect and acceptance throughout the organization regardless of not only ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, but also of different viewpoints, philosophies, physical ability, beliefs and personalities – indeed, in any of the ways that make us all unique. Training modules and education campaigns are being developed for initial roll out in 2021.

Women’s interest network

Syncrude’s Women’s Interest Network (WIN), launched in late 2015, continues to see strong engagement with nearly 14 per cent of employees currently members. It is a resource for all employees, regardless of gender identity, and hosts activities that support mentorship, personal and professional development, networking and community involvement initiatives. The intent is to share information, provide experiences and develop skills that enhance life at work and at home. Syncrude’s Senior Vice President is the executive sponsor and a Vice President chairs the steering committee.

engaging the workforce

Engaging employees through ongoing dialogue is a top priority for Syncrude. We accomplish this through efforts such as regular employee forums, surveys and other communication channels. Furthermore, our Pipeline tool enables employees to confidentially ask questions of senior leaders, make suggestions or offer opinions on company policies, actions and plans. It is intended to enhance transparency, build an informed workforce and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Employees also have access to a variety of communication interfaces, including company-wide channels such as videos, newsletters, bulletins and a dedicated employee website.

covid-19 response and protection

Syncrude stood up a formal COVID-19 response team in early March 2020 to protect the health and safety of people and our community. Coordinating resources from throughout the company, the group implemented immediate and extensive controls to limit the spread of the virus. This included physical distancing, mask use, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Remote working arrangements from home also reduced our onsite workforce by about 900 people. Communication updates are issued regularly to keep employees and contractors informed of updated protocols and healthy work practices.

Team 502 showing their solidarity by Standing Together against COVID-19

developing careers for new graduates

Syncrude’s Initial Professional Development Program (IPDP) aims to provide employees who are recent graduates with the tools necessary to achieve growth and success in the workplace and community. Participants spend three to four years in the program, which includes a variety of development activities and mentorship from experienced professionals. Participants’ workplace responsibilities in their given areas progress throughout their time in the program, until completion where they are then promoted to the fully qualified level.

In addition to IPDP, recent graduates and co-op students attend quarterly networking events hosted by the Syncrude Network Advisory Program (SNAP). The sessions bring participants together with Syncrude leaders, managers and executives to promote better understanding of culture at Syncrude and in the region. Participants also can engage in one-on-one sessions with senior Syncrude employees, which foster valuable cross-functional communication.

a community-minded workforce

Since 1979, Syncrude has contributed more than $37 million to the United Way. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, our 2020 workplace campaign surpassed its target and raised more than $2.1 million. This represented more than half of the $3.5 million generated by the United Way’s local community campaign.

corporate awards

Syncrude is proud to have received two corporate awards in 2020. These reinforce our efforts to be a preferred employer and a responsible oil sands producer, and include:

Fort McMurray Public Schools Large Business/Corporation Partner of the Year
Syncrude’s work in partnering and supporting education in Fort McMurray was rewarded with Large Business/Corporation Partner of the Year by the Fort McMurray Public School Board in a virtual ceremony held in December. The award is given to a business or corporation for making an impact on an individual school or the division-wide school community. The partnership can be in a form of time, ideas or financial assistance. In 2020, Syncrude invested $130,000 in various programs within the public school district including funding toward robotics and technology, a school-based social worker, the Leader in Me program, and First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) education. Additional donations were made through the employee Good Neighbours Program.

Forbes Best Employers 2020
Syncrude was recognized as among Canada’s Best Employers of 2020 by Forbes Media. Syncrude was ranked 173th among the 300 named companies. Forbes conducted an independent survey among 8,000 Canadians working at large companies and institutions (500+ employees). Participation in the survey was voluntary. It asked respondents to determine, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they were to recommend their employer to someone else, and, further, how they feel about other employers.

recognizing the contributions of our employees

To recognize employee teams and individuals that exemplify Syncrude’s operating philosophy, Syncrude each year holds the Vision & Values Awards – the company’s highest level of employee recognition. The following is a summary of the awards presented in an on-line ceremony held in 2020:

Syncrude Safety Performance Award Recipients:
Best Overall Business Unit – Aurora North Shovels
Most Improved Business Unit – Utilities and Offsites Power Generation and Distribution Team
Best Overall Operations Organization – Equipment and Reliability Engineering Team

Frank Spragins Award Recipients:
In recognition of our company’s founding president, Frank Spragins, who brought the Vision & Values aspirations and ideals to life through his work and leadership.

Tailings Projects Optimization – David Fudge, Dianne Smektala, Lily Falcon, Aziz Ahmed, Kim Lapointe, Michael Vanoutrive, Shahram Yazdanpanah, Germaine Mallette, Amandeep Gill, Lloyd Goodine, Gary Campbell, Niteen Chavan, Ernest Ansah-Sam, Anthony Burry, S.Yogasundaram, Brian Schaffner, Tom Gosse, Jason Crann, Justin Stoll, Conrad Savoie, Rick Mackintosh, Fahim Hamidi, Dan Wolfe, John Konowalec, Daryl Adams and Roderick Beers.

Safety Commitment CardsNeville Banak, Narry Ramnath, Ethel Nakano, Stephanie Johnston, Ann-Marie Mulhall, Michelle Fitzpatrick.

Information KiosksCalvin Swyers, Romika Riquelme.

Production DashboardsBrittany Usher.

Conversion North Business TeamChad Watson, Maninder Nandha, Tyler Roberts, Leon Snook, David Vlajic, Darrell Simms, Joshua Bruce, Jason G. Davis, Nikitas Alexopoulos, Ray Klem, Ravikumar Junnuru, Miguel Dos Santos, Gregory Pelly, Jitendra Tomar and Caleb Schiltroth.

Curtailment Management Team – Behram Hashimi, Rick Morley, Kyle Sand, Brianne English, Kim Farwell, Jonathan Nason, Crystal McEwan, Victoria Jankowski, Jocelyne George, Angus Munro, Darren Hardy, Kara Flynn, Bill Chase, Peter Read and Doug Simms.

MyHr – Ahmed Farhat, Alain Moore, Amy Hill, Annie Lawley, Ann-Marie Mulhall, Ashley MacDougall, Bob McEwan, Boya Li, Brenda Carter, Busaya Amona, Caitlin Ashmore-MacDonald, Caroline Maciborski, Carolyn Gillard, Chad Watson, Chantelle Benoit, Christine Vaters, Colter Kuntz, Courtney Foote, Damjana Vlajic, Dave Berridge, Diya Alwan, Erika Doka, Erin Power, Ginny Pee Fung Chai, Gregory Brodner, Gurpreet Hansra, Jacqueline Sullivan, Jason Harley, Jay Falcone, Jennifer, Gagnon, Jim Adam, Jing Fei Feng, Joey Jackson, Jonathan Nason, Judy Coote, Judy O’Brien, Kailey Armstrong, Katelyn Fujii, Kelly Gilbert, Kerry Barwick, Khristine Lavery, Kimball Tagg, Kimberley Fecteau, Krystle MacDonald, Kyle MacDonald, Laszlo Schneider, Lynn Lesko, Maria Hernandez, Marlene Ellis, Marlene Lane, Mary Anne Simpson, Matt Smart, Meagan Bennett, Meaghan Gould, Melanie Biduke, Michael Cachia, Michelle Boudreau, Misty Courtoreille, Munyaradzi Matutu, Nancy Bunch, Naomi Brown, Nicole McMillan, Nicole McNeilly, Nicole Wells, Nimisha Saini, Prachi Tomar, Ray Paton, Rebecca MacKenzie, Robyn Chisholm, Ryan Pearson, Samantha Wellbelove, Scott Christie, Shaun Moore, Shelby Hochstein, Shuhra Abdul Jalil, Stephanie Johnston, Stephanie Talbot, Stephen Lemay, Suzanne Hutchings, Teodora Alley, Teresa Koch, Terri Hayden, Tony Rizzuto, Tracey Ball, Tracy Tricoteux, Veronica Flores, Willis Doiron, Catherine Foy, Catherine Stewart, Linda Stevens and Mary Mahar.

Procurement MOH/EMRP Effort – Reshelda Hobbs, Daniel Poirier, Nola Fyfe, Maintenance Planners & Material Coordinators, Procurement Credit Team.

Vision & Values Award Recipients:

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDS) – Justin Ellis.

‘Wrong Number’ Call –
Kris Jameus, Paul Anderson, Thomas Dowson.

Aurora Devonian Seepage –
Andrew Overholt.

Alarm Management –
John MacGowan, Wajeehullah Arain, supporting crew members.

Respect in The Workplace –
Mike Cachia.

Indigenous Business Development –
Doug Webb.

Boiler Feed Water Leak Mitigation Team – Karen Maclean, Bob Roberts, Greg Bartlett, Naresh Patel, Marco Richard, Chris Patryluk, Matthew Morgan, David Clewes, Justin Hantke, Sanjay Patel, Wilfrid Moscicki, Richard Pontello, Manpreet Dhillon, Prashant Kumar Patel.

Material User Group – Nola Fyfe, Paul Bowen, Susan Burchell, Christine Cardinal, Peggy Harvey, Meta Hughes, Kathi Kenney-Byrne, Jacqueline MacPherson, Stephen McGrath, Isabel Pavao, John Playford, Theresa Scott, Amanda Sheppard, Scott Taylor, Elizabeth Warren, Warren Wood, Daniel Poirier, Linda Littlechilds, Paula Norman, Elaine Rose, Nathan Koenig, Monique Poirier, Cindy Lays, Joni Matthews, Steven King.

Equipment Strategies Team – Nagarajan Babu, Bob Cormier, Wilf Burns, Deanna Young, Gilbert Rumbolt, Stephanie Van Raay, Sunny John, Alexander Nilson, Hubert Ryan, Mahiyar Medhora, Trina Organ, Vinod Sharma, Fran Clarke, Paul Wohlgemuth, Thomas Rivers, Rattan Jhajj, Jason Gulyas, Frances Awachie, Dillan Ferguson, Ali Farhat, Anil Gupta, Vimal Doraj.

Hydrogen Reliability Team – Scott Gaudet, Adib Kadi, Darren MacDonald, Tanya Morrison, Owen Gilbert, Dwayne Green, Sholeh Kazemi, Mike Stuckless, Hendrik Steyn, Cara Spencer, Waleed Al Madhoun, Dele Bruce, Dillan Ferguson, Jennifer Barrett, Amit Tuli, Lin Xia, Blair Drew, Brandon Chau.

employee engagement performance data

# under age 30614570521557492
# age 30-502,8542,8342,9543,0623,022
# over 501,3371,3461,3471,3841,387
% under age 301312111110
% age 30-505960616162
% over 502828282828
Temporary and casual (#)157170142177111
Trades and operators (#)2,6462,6332,6302,6592,558
Administrative, professional and technical (#)2,1592,1172,1922,3442,343
% employees covered by collective bargaining agreements00000
% under age 30154212
% age 30-5016264697070
% over 5013432292929
# under age 309512212116250
# age 30-507010016915750
# over 5081417246
% under age 305552394947
% age 30-504042554647
% over 5056666
Trades and operators (#)12518119320154
Administrative, professional and technical (#)485511415352
Women (#)3949779125
Indigenous (#)332521238
Number of employees 470481481484482
% of permanent Syncrude workforce9.810.
% of new hires19.
% of leaders17.
Number of employees 9379179541,0161,002
% of permanent Syncrude workforce19.519.319.820.320.4
% of new hires22.520.825.125.723.6
% of leaders115.
Local hires (% of all new hires)9490948279
All employees, including retirements (%)65554
Employees initiated termination (%)22211
# under age 3029212389
# age 30-5090100808169
# over 50157134142126121
% under age 30 118945
% age 30-503339333835
% over 505753585961
Company initiated termination (%)11111
Retirements (%)32222
Indigenous (%)64454
Women (%)77554
All employees1111111112
Indigenous 1213131314
# of hours annually in training per employee3951586648
Annual scholarship, bursaries and endowments ($ thousands)663695753735900
Numbers of employee student scholarphips322379392382474
Tuition refunds to Syncrude employees ($ thousands)172652552760253
# of clients as % of Syncrude workforce19.518.116.113.315.2
Anonymous reports of non-conformance31118544935
Confirmed cases of non-conformance 00010
1 Calculated as percentage of permanent Syncrude leaders.
2 Self-declaration only; Syncrude does not mandate employees to disclose race, ethnicity or cultural status.
3 Anonymous and confidential reporting is enabled through EthicsPoint, an independent third-party hotline managed by NAVEXGlobal. Note that not all reports are ethics-related.

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