Creating a Diverse, Inclusive Workforce that Helps Our People Reach Their Full Potential

Aug 31, 2017 9:45 AM ET

In our recently published 2016 Sustainability Report, we acknowledge that people are our core strength at Goldcorp. More than any other factor, our success depends on their capabilities and commitment. We are a diverse organization, with our employees self-identifying with over 80 different nationalities, speaking approximately 20 different languages, yet we share a common set of corporate values based on safety, responsibility and productivity. Joanne Klein, Vice President, People, discusses how we are focused on attracting and retaining experienced and skilled talent with a culture that puts safety at its core and supports people to reach their potential.

From the People perspective, what were Goldcorp’s main accomplishments in 2016?

In 2016, our organization experienced changes in senior management, a new organizational design, and a year of streamlining and optimization. The changes were essential for us to continue to deliver sustainable value to our stakeholders, and managing that change was a major accomplishment.

One of our achievements for the year was our global talent review. It began with an exploratory exercise to identify which roles are critical to our future, and how we can identify and develop successors for these roles. Going forward, this will be an important process for us, because it is essential that we effectively and strategically manage our key talent across the business. We’re now taking it to a different level, and planning for future leadership teams that will be as diverse as our operations.

In a streamlined organization, we must be able to maximize the potential of our highest performing people. That requires planning and training, and it’s the focus of our StepUp initiative. This program is about defining the behaviours that we want in our employees, and the training they need. It is a multi-disciplinary project, and many layers within the organization will go through the training. Our aim is to make it sustainable in the sense that our supervisors will be trained to deliver the training to their reports. It’s a significant investment in our people and by taking the time to get it right, it will meet our goal of strengthening leadership capabilities consistently across and throughout our organization.

We also have our new Future Leaders program under development, which is aimed at identifying our potential future leaders earlier in their career and providing them with meaningful experiences and opportunities to fast-track their career. This program has the potential to build a strong pipeline of up-and-coming talent within the organization.

What were some of Goldcorp’s human resources challenges, and what did the company learn from them?

Of course, the optimization process, and the reduction in our overall workforce, was a challenge for our people. However, the new, optimized Goldcorp is far better positioned for sustainable success in today’s market.

Another challenge we face as a company is diversity in the workforce. To target the diversity challenge, in 2016 we created a Diversity Committee that is tasked with increasing awareness on a company-wide level. In addition, the entire management team in both Canada and Latin America, including Mine General Managers, participated in Unconscious Bias training. This training raised awareness and deepened understanding of unconscious and conscious bias in the workplace, and provided strategies for disrupting and overcoming it.

To address issues of gender diversity in this traditionally male-dominated industry, we continued to promote our Creating Choices initiative, which is an acclaimed, enterprise-wide training, development and mentorship program for women.

We also have an aging workforce, and our workforce planning must be strategic and deliberate. We must not only hire the next generation, but we must train them for their current and future jobs. We are looking into ways to tap the skills and experience of our existing employees. Even if the next generation will operate remote-controlled equipment, they still need the knowledge of an experienced miner when it comes to controlling drills, placing explosives and so on. So, we are putting a priority on ways to intelligently address these issues related to an aging workforce.

How is Goldcorp managing with a streamlined workforce?

Downsizing can be painful, but it is also an opportunity for individuals to take on more responsibilities and gain experience in new areas. Our CEO is a strong leader who has a very clear vision of where he wants to take the organization. We are seeing people reveal their capabilities, and they are being recognized for their results.

During the optimization process, we worked to preserve local employment in mining communities as much as possible. This has required an increased emphasis on training and support for training and career development in the local areas where we operate.

Why is diversity and inclusion important to Goldcorp? What is the company doing to become more diverse and inclusive?

We have to get past the barriers of what people can’t do, whether it’s language or specific skill-sets, and look at what they can be trained to do if they demonstrate the interest and the aptitude.

There can be no greater investment than to expose people to a different country, a different language, a different culture. It helps you appreciate, understand and respect the differences that exist. More often than not, you realize that, at our core, we all want the same things: to be safe, to do a good job, and to take care of our families. These things go beyond culture, race and gender.

In September 2016, we engaged a third-party services provider to survey a group of over 3,000 full time employees representative of all of our sites and offices, on the specific subject of diversity and inclusion. The survey gathered voluntary and anonymous data on demographic indicators and employee sentiment to provide management with a snapshot of the current state of diversity and inclusion in the company.

How does Goldcorp support local employment from the communities near our mines?

The local populations near our mines present a huge opportunity, and there are significant benefits in providing employment opportunities both for us and for the communities we are part of. When we draw on local communities, we reduce transportation and camp costs, and so on. By employing community members, we support the growth of local economic opportunities. At Marlin, for example, we have invested in initiatives that have helped people gain and diversify their skills, become literate and learn new trades. In our newer ventures in Chile and Argentina, it makes sense to train and invest in the local communities, and that’s what we will focus on.

That leads to a deeper aspect of what we do. Beyond simply hiring locally, we try to look at what Goldcorp will look like a decade or more from now. If we’re going to have a sustainable company, we must invest now to build the skills that we will need in the future. Whether that means providing training and education for Indigenous groups, or encouraging employment for a higher percentage of the local population, or increasing the representation of females in our industry, we know there are untapped resources out there and we have to be deliberate in our plans to seize the opportunity that exists.

Where do you see Goldcorp five – and ten – years in the future?

With the significant pace of innovative technologies being introduced in our industry, many of the skills our workforce will require will change, but some will be the same. We still have to build mines, and those mines are likely to be in remote locations. Even if mining machinery is automated, the equipment must be maintained by people. We will still need mine camps and camp facilities, and people to provide services. The magnitude of our local needs may be slightly different, but the value equation will be essentially the same.

In the future, we will be a more diverse and inclusive company – with the same spirit of resilience and innovation that has brought us where we are today.

Innovation is key to Goldcorp’s future. What innovations are in the future for the company’s people?

Innovation is central to the way we are planning for our future workforce. As mining becomes more automated, it becomes safer, but the very nature of the work changes. Will people be driving trucks or operating heavy equipment from a control room? If so, where will those control rooms be located? Could a control room be in someone’s home, for example? Looking ahead, we may start to look at different skill-sets, and move away from some of the traditional qualifications for mining. There is an opportunity for us to be a disruptor in the marketplace.

For further information on Goldcorp’s commitment to sustainability, visit the 2016 Sustainability Report