It sounds idealistic – a workplace where you show up each day knowing you are not only valued, respected, and welcome, but your team is so connected you feel part of a family. But that’s exactly the kind of work environment H&H Enterprises Ltd. has established for its employees and staff in Wabush, NL. And that feeling is upheld from first-year Heavy Equipment Operator Apprentices right up to CEO.
When asked how this environment was established, both CEO, Mike Hunt, and field supervisor, Paul Efford, explain it’s all about the core values coming together to make the Wabush heavy equipment company a step above the rest when it comes to positive workplaces.
The Importance Of Apprentices
According to Mike, one value ever-present in his company is the merit of having apprentices as part of the staff. He felt it so important, he challenged the Heavy Equipment Operator Red Seal exam to provide an opportunity to mentor apprentices within the company. Paul also came into the trade as an apprentice and acknowledges the value they offer.
“Apprentices contribute to the growth of our company. In school they get the basics and that’s great, but as they get to work, they get a real feel for how to operate.”
There’s No “I” In “Team”
Being a strong team member is make-or-break for any potential employee at H&H.
“The most important thing is how they fit in the group. We can’t have rotten apples,” explains Paul. He adds that overconfidence also works against the candidate, warning it likely leads to someone getting hurt. He sees value in making mistakes as, not only the individual, but the whole team can learn from them.
A Safe and Equitable Workplace
Another core value is everyone – men and women – are treated fairly on the worksite. “A woman can pull a lever just as easily as a man can; it’s the equipment that does the work,” Mike says. “Absolutely,” agrees Paul. “If you have a passion for it, you’re going to do it well. When you walk in, you’re not seen as a woman or man, you’re seen as an operator. And that’s what has to change with a lot of employers.”
Mike stresses his company strives to ensure it is progressive and employees are safe from harassment from co-workers, as well as customers. He says they have a very open-door policy when it comes to listening to employee concerns. Paul adds that having a female supervisor is a significant advantage as well, as it can help encourage tradeswomen to bring forward any concerns they may have.
“She’s also a great mentor for our new apprentices because she’s strong and bold.”
According to Mike, H&H Enterprises Ltd. has established a reputation in the trade for welcoming diversity and inclusion and providing a safe workplace. As a result of this, they frequently receive resumes from all over Canada from tradeswomen who have heard about H&H’s inclusive workplace and are frustrated in their unsuccessful attempts to obtain work in their own provinces.
H&H Enterprises Ltd. has allied with Office to Advance Women Apprentices for several years and the relationship continues to strengthen.
“We are very grateful for the support we have received from the office,” says Mike. “They continue to be very helpful, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching out to us and sending along resumes of candidates. They are easy to go to for help and offer fast in-house services,” adds Jessie Tobin, office administrator. The company has availed of the Wage Subsidy Program for multiple apprentices throughout the years of partnership with the office. “Everything is made easy – working with the Office to Advance Women Apprentices to avail of wage subsidy is a real advantage as they will walk you through everything and provide the support that you need,” Jessie says.
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