Meet Ben Grant, Edmonton Valve’s HR Manager
by Katie Dennis, on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 08:09 AM
Making sure our people have the support they need to do their best work
Ben Grant, pictured, joined the Edmonton Valve team in March, 2015 and is looking to further support the organization's pursuit of being a High Performance Organization.
Our customers trust Edmonton Valve & Fitting to provide expert knowledge of fluid systems and great customer service along with Swagelok parts. That expertise doesn't come together by accident. It starts with having the right people in the right roles. With nearly 70 full-time associates, it became apparent we needed a full time HR resource. Since March of this year, the person pushing the people side of the business is Ben Grant, our Human Resources Manager.
He's well trained for the job, having earned a bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management from the University of Alberta, and holding down previous HR jobs in the construction and mining industries.
Our president, Keith Johns, had a simple job description for Ben: Drive performance.
"A large portion of my role is supporting our pursuit of becoming a High Performance Organization with an emphasis on the quality of associates and the quality of management," Ben says. Edmonton Valve & Fitting has always provided its associates the opportunity to gain skills and advance within the Company, but Ben is structuring an HR program that's more strategic to ensure associates can achieve their full potential.
"It starts right from when they come in to the Company, making sure we have a strong orientation program," he said. "Then, what's next? Do we have a development plan for them? What can we do to take associates to the next level?"
That's more important at Edmonton Valve & Fitting than it might be at a lot of other companies, because people tend to stay here for a long time, even 30 and 40 years.
"Probably one of the biggest surprises to me was the years of service here, especially coming from the oil and gas and construction industries," Ben said. "If you've been here six years, you'll still be considered a junior person."
One of Ben’s current projects is developing an HR Strategic Plan to assist in the execution of Edmonton Valve & Fitting’s Strategic Operating Plan. On its importance, Ben says “It helps to guide us as we make decisions regarding people programs and processes.”
A strong HR Program starts even before someone joins the team at Edmonton Valve & Fitting, or our satellite offices in Fort McMurray and Drayton Valley. It starts with a comprehensive hiring process, to ensure a candidate is aligned with our vision and can ‘live’ our values.
"I like to describe our hiring process as 'robust.' We’re very careful to bring in only the highest quality associates. Those we’re confident to put in front of the customer,” Ben said. "We have a strong and unique culture here, more so than any other place I've worked."
"When we do bring someone in, Keith is very loyal to that person as well. We invest heavily in our employees so it’s important we make the right choice," Ben says.
And while he may have a desk job, Ben still had to start out picking parts in our warehouse and shadowed different roles throughout the Company. “It helps a new hire develop an appreciation for our business regardless of what the individual may have been hired for,” he says.
Developing bench strength
At Edmonton Valve & Fitting bench strength is very important. We’re proud that many of our long term associates started in Warehouse or Customer Service roles and have now progressed into senior roles within the Company.
“As we grow in size, it’s important to have the proper talent management and succession programs in place to ensure continued success,” says Ben. “Growth doesn’t need to mean bureaucracy and inefficiency, but it does require planning”.
Summarizing his role thus far
"In a nutshell, I was brought on to the team to drive performance and ensure we have the highest quality team in the industry. It’s been fun so far, and I look forward to pushing out new initiatives and continuing to work with the team."
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