Since the late 1990s, GardaWorld Protective Services in Fort McMurray, Alberta has drawn employees from among the local Aboriginal communities. Today in Alberta, they make up one-fifth of our security personnel, many of whom help guard the various facilities of the Canadian oil sands industry. Cy King shares what motivates his team.
Choosing to engage. My own interest in working with Aboriginal peoples started even earlier back in the 80s, before joining GardaWorld. Then I brought it with me as a personal quest in our Fort McMurray branch to engage the local Aboriginal people with employment opportunities that include training, competitive pay, benefits and career advancement. Now it’s part of GardaWorld’s global diversity mission.
A lot of companies hire Aboriginals because they’re required to, but at GardaWorld, we do so because we commit to. They have tremendous work ethics and dependability. In fact, their turnover is just a fraction of our overall employee population.
Extending diversity’s reach. Since then we’ve extended our partnerships across Canada with many more of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, who comprise the First Nations, Inuits and Métis peoples. In the country’s 2011 census, their numbers totaled 1.4 million, more than four percent of Canada’s population.
We think it’s important to mirror the differences in people and culture wherever we serve. In working with Aboriginal communities, we have focused on three areas of inclusion:
Jobs and careers: Training and employment partnerships
Business development: Procuring goods and services from Aboriginal businesses
Health and wellness: Offering benefits to help build and sustain healthy lives
As our work with Aboriginal people and communities continues, we aim to maintain an inclusive workplace and support strong working relationships with Aboriginal people by fostering an internal culture and external climate of mutual understanding and respect nationwide.
Looking to the future. As we continue to grow and build these relationships, GardaWorld maintains a “listen and learn” philosophy to further strengthen the relationships and working partnerships that we have established with the Aboriginal communities. Inclusion is vital in our efforts to foster a culture of mutual understanding and cooperation between our company’s clients and the Aboriginals we employ.
We will continue to engage and expand our relationships with Aboriginal communities with enthusiasm. As a long-time advocate of Aboriginal communities, I am proud to lead this initiative just as I am proud of all the Aboriginals who are team members nationwide.
Building trust over time. Gaining the trust of aboriginal communities around Fort McMurray took time and effort. But that has been rewarded: the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association has recognized GardaWorld as among the top three “best-in-practices” for large businesses working with aboriginal communities.
The experiences we have had with Aboriginal people prove they bring real value as employees to GardaWorld’s many customers and, by extension, to the GardaWorld brand.