Nov 3, 2023

Opening Minds and Building Futures, Part 2: New Talent Find Success at Star Building Materials Calgary

In Part 1 of this Opening Minds and Building Futures series, we learned how Star Building Materials Calgary is thinking outside the box when it comes to finding new talent. This second installment highlights the experiences of one newcomer employee and the strategies Star Building Materials Calgary is using to ensure new employees find success in their roles and beyond.

Calgary, AB - As an employee at Star Building Materials Calgary, Roman Lukyanenko is often busy working on assembling trusses. Yet, it was only a little more than a year ago that Roman first picked up a hammer.

Previously a dancer in Ukraine, specifically on cruise ships where he visited 52 countries over 12 years before coming to Canada, Roman learned a completely new trade thanks to Qualico and Star Building Materials Calgary’s commitment to their CR framework of supporting workforce development programs for young people, women, and newcomers.

Roman first heard about Star Building Materials Calgary through his roommate and friend, who was working at the company at the time. Since joining the Star Building Materials Calgary team, Roman has had the opportunity to help with translating between English and Ukrainian for new employees and has received on-the-job training from Dennis Paish, Production Manager, Star Building Materials Calgary, Neil Taylor, Production Manager, Star Building Materials Calgary and Rodolfo Hernandez, Shift Supervisor, Star Building Materials Calgary.

“I have had a good experience at Star Building Materials Calgary, and I continue to learn new skills daily,” Roman shared.

Roman’s manager, Dennis, is known for welcoming new employees and helping them succeed and grow. A hands-on leader, Dennis works to foster a sense of belonging and makes it clear to employees what their roles and responsibilities are.

“This keeps individuals accountable and gives them a sense of making a difference within the business,” said Dennis. “I want to be engaged with my team and help them feel supported. I try to find roles that each employee will enjoy and thrive in, so I often promote from within.”

Helping employees find a role that fits them well means they will likely enjoy the work they’re doing and will be willing to train others. Dennis credits this approach for shortening the training period for building trusses and reducing employee turnover.

“Doing this has meant that we have not had to use the temporary employee programs that were in place before, and we can get someone on a table building trusses in three months instead of one to three years,” he said. “Both have saved costs throughout the business.”

Crystal Grela, Lead Recruitment Specialist, Qualico, played a key role in building connections with the Calgary-based Centre for Newcomers and has seen dozens of new employees hired in the region from this source. Crystal is thrilled with the success of this partnership and is optimistic it will inspire new recruitment pathways across the company.

“When business units are open to considering candidates without specifically related or Canadian work experience, it expands our talent pool significantly,” said Crystal. “By adjusting our recruitment approach for certain roles, especially where comprehensive training is provided, we are attracting a wide range of candidates who bring an array of transferable skills to the table.”

Ken Crockett, Vice-President, Star Building Materials Calgary, said the process for helping newcomers adjust to the company culture and work environment is always a work in progress to ensure employees get the support they need.

“We will take them on facility tours, introduce them to the management team, and help work on any certifications and training courses,” he said. “We will also make arrangements to help the employees receive the equipment they need to do the job.”

Depending on the position they’re hired for, employees may need to get certification – like in the case of a forklift operator, for example. Star Building Materials Calgary will assist employees to ensure they are able to complete the certification. The company will also provide safety boot vouchers upon hiring, since many employees are unable to purchase them out-of-pocket.

In addition, to help new employees feel like they belong to the team, Star Building Materials Calgary’s social club holds barbeques every second Friday in the summer months, as well as team-building activities and holiday-specific celebrations. This allows individuals to connect with other departments.

For employees like Roman, who was recently promoted to Shift Supervisor, the opportunity to learn new skills – particularly building-related ones – allows him to think about the future while carving out a new career path for himself.

“This work will help me give back to Ukraine because we have to build new houses, new buildings, new apartments,” he said. “This job has helped me because it’s a building company. We build houses in a short time, so it will be a good experience for at home.”

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