Acden's Human Resources team recognized as an "Innovative HR Team of 2023"
Acden’s Human Resources team has been recognized by Canadian HR Reporter magazine as an “Innovative HR Team of 2023”, one of 28 HR teams from across Canada to be acknowledged with this designation.
By: Natalie Castro-Gentili
I am proud to announce that Acden’s outstanding human resources (HR) team has been acknowledged as an industry leader for innovation in their field, alongside 27 other Canadian companies from sectors including aviation, financial services, municipal government, and software development. Acden was one of four Alberta-based companies to be named, and the only Indigenous business on the list. Acden is community-owned by Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN).
Our team has been recognized for their efforts to strategically implement new initiatives which have positively impacted Acden’s recruitment process. A heightened emphasis on synchronicity and making data-driven decisions has led to them sharpening their focus on one of our core objectives - increasing Indigenous employment opportunities within Acden’s wholly owned companies. A target of our recruitment strategy has been to identify and reduce the barriers sometimes experienced by Indigenous applicants.
“I’m very proud of the efforts that Acden’s HR team has put forth to increase employment opportunities for ACFN members, and to break down barriers to the recruitment process,” says Gary Flett, Acden’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“This approach has led to a 42% increase in employment offers to Indigenous applicants.”
Our team has also been demonstrating innovative practices through their development of partnerships with community groups and networking with employment organizations in the region. These partnerships with organizations and programs including CAREERS and Young Women in Trades & Technologies have increased the awareness of Acden and our partner companies as preferred employers in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo. The team’s efforts in this area have expanded our community’s knowledge of the opportunities that exist within Acden’s companies and our partners. We have particularly focused on highlighting Acden’s diverse career paths, including Class 1 operators, crane operators, culinary arts professionals, landfill equipment operators, machinists, mechanics, ultrasonic vessel technicians, and welders.
Our recruitment team has successfully implemented what we call a “relationship-first” approach to recruitment at career fairs, and especially when working with prospective Indigenous applicants. For our team, “we can’t wait to get to know you” is more than just a recruitment tagline – it’s a commitment to seeking to learn more about the people we meet at events or those who reach out to us looking to join the Acden team. We feel that getting to know these folks is the best way to avoid costly short-term turnover and continue to build a strong corporate culture here at Acden. We use this approach to identify a potential career path for applicants, and to identify the applicants’ aspirations beyond what they have applied for. This approach allows to foresee professional opportunities for the applicant and talent opportunities for the business unit.
Acden’s core talent acquisition team consists of Brittany Darroch and Jecelyn Paculan. Amber Razak, Jim Moore, and Kendyl Sutton provide recruitment support and expertise. This achievement would also not have been possible without Nancy Ladouceur, Debbie Adam, and Irene Castor who are also key supporters of the team. The diversity and combined talent with Carla Clark's leadership makes it possible to meet our objectives and celebrate these achievements. Kudos to them for the recognition of their hard work! I am proud to call all of you my teammates within our organization.
About the Author
Natalie Castro-Gentili is Acden’s General Manager of Administrative Services. She is responsible for providing strategic and executive-level leadership to the corporate Human Resources (HR) and Health, Safety, Environment & Quality (HSEQ) departments. Originally from Winnipeg, Natalie has been with Acden since 2014 and has held numerous positions within the company. She is known for her open-door policy to discuss all things Acden and her four-legged assistant, Mia.