Our staff are key to achieving our operational and business goals, so our approach to People begins with our values: Excellence, Trust, Respect and Responsibility. We are focused on building a team of diverse, authentic, talented and engaged people who work together to achieve superior results and make Vermilion an exceptional place to work. Because we view our strong culture as the foundation of our success, it influences everything we do, which is why we prioritize:
We are committed to maintaining Vermilion’s position as a workplace of choice, to enable us to attract and retain high quality staff. This includes offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, providing a safe and respectful work environment, and sustaining our strong culture.
We look internally to fill job postings wherever possible, to provide our staff with career advancement and/or development opportunities. When we recruit externally, we hire employees with strong technical skills and vision who want to work in a highly collaborative and dynamic environment.
Our onboarding process is designed to make our new team members feel immediately welcome and to integrate them quickly into our culture. This includes reviewing our People, Code of Business Conduct and HSE policies, and our compensation and benefits, ensuring IT systems are available when they arrive, and providing key information about our company and our culture. Our aim is to help them feel at home and to connect them quickly with their immediate team and key colleagues they will be working with.
A market-competitive compensation and benefits approach is one way we acknowledge the value our people bring to Vermilion. Our programs are designed with a common structure across all geographies where possible, with alignment to local markets.
Our compensation philosophy and program objectives are the same for employees at all levels, and are laid out in detail annually in our Information Circular and Proxy Statement. All permanent employees are offered a competitive base salary, short- (bonus) and long-term incentive plans, and a pension- or retirement-like scheme. Short- and long-term incentives are associated with both individual and company performance, and are linked to specific corporate metrics for all employees and our senior management team. These metrics include key sustainability and HSE performance indicators, supporting our priorities of safety and environmental protection, market performance compared to peers, strategy delivery, and financial and operational success.
We target total compensation between median and top quartile, depending on company and individual performance. Four objectives guide the design of Vermilion’s compensation plans:
We measure both corporate and individual performance in similar ways. For our employees, the performance management process includes:
Individual performance is tied to the six Matters of Importance within our business strategy (Extraordinary People and Culture, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) - Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday, Financial Discipline, Robust and Profitable Portfolio, Business and Operational Excellence, and Integrated Sustainability). In this way, performance measurement and compensation are tied directly to the metrics that underpin the Matters of Importance. These include both standard industry metrics and internal measures of performance, and are discussed annually in the Information Circular.
We strive to foster workforce well-being through competitive health and wellness benefits. In Canada, for example, these include a taxable lifestyle account and tax-free health care spending account; health, vision and dental plans; short- and long-term disability benefits; basic and dependent life insurance plans; critical illness and "best doctors" insurance; parental leave, and company-paid access to an employee family assistance program. 401-2 401-3
In many of our business units, staff have the option to purchase additional vacation days. The Vacation Purchase Policy was introduced in response to employee feedback requesting additional flexibility to support work-life balance and family life.
To learn more about Vermilion’s compensation and benefits plans, please see our annual Proxy Statement and Information Circular.
The pandemic has created an unprecedented source of stress, from family health worries to the challenges of working remotely. In 2020, we developed a global Mental Health and Wellness program, to help foster a supportive work environment for our staff, and to provide resources in addition to our existing Employee and Family Assistance Program. This included launching the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Not Myself Today initiative in early 2021, a confidential year-long online program open to all staff globally that offers information, tools and activities to help understand the basics of mental health, have better discussions, increase emotional intelligence, address stress and build a generally more supportive and productive work environment. We also hosted our first Mental Health Week (aligned with COVID-19 restrictions), with activities that included staff-suggested music playlists, making time to chat with each other, mindfulness workshops, gratitude sharing and even a fun virtual pajama day.
Our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics is clear that discrimination or harassment against any individual with respect to race, religion, age, gender (including pregnancy and childbirth), marital status, family status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin will not be tolerated. Furthermore, discrimination against any activity specifically protected under the Code of Conduct, such as expressing good faith opposition to prohibited discrimination or harassment, or participating in making a good faith complaint of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated.
Our Discrimination, Harassment and Workplace Violence Policy ensures that all staff are provided with the opportunity to work in a supportive environment within which individuals are treated with respect, provided with equal opportunities, and kept free of discrimination, harassment and violence from other staff, and understand the different reporting options.
Complaints or concerns can be raised via a staff member’s supervisor, human resources, any member of senior management, or anonymously via our reporting of inappropriate activity webpage, which is available 24/7 online. As per our Fair Culture policies, we respect the confidentiality and fairness of the investigation process. In order to protect both, we do not report on numbers of complaints, investigations and confirmed incidents, of specific types of complaint. In a smaller company such as ours, this reporting could lead to being able to identify outcomes for those indirectly involved in the investigation as, for example, witnesses, which would not be appropriate.
Several of our business units benefit from Works Councils, which help guide the employee-employer relationship. Works Council members are elected by employees to represent the workforce in discussions with the company on changes that affect the work environment, job expectations or benefits. They can also bring forward suggestions, grievances and concerns.
Works Councils can be established by employee elections in France and The Netherlands in companies with more than 50 employees, and in Germany, with more than five employees. Our Works Councils were established in France in 2006, in The Netherlands in 2015 and in Germany in 2016. Today, we have a Works Council in place in France, and in Germany for our field staff. In the Netherlands, the Works Council became dormant in 2018, but will resume when staff express interest to join the council. 102-41
Ensuring that Vermilion has a positive, healthy and safe work environment is our top priority. That means it’s essential to have fair and consistent procedures to review, document and resolve events or potential violations of company policies and guidelines or local laws.
Fair culture is about understanding human involvement in relation to events in a way that:
Our Fair Culture policies create a balanced approach to assessing organizational, leader and employee accountability, helping to align Vermilion with industry best practices and positioning us as a leader in creating a balanced and transparent culture.
Communication is critical to building a strong and respectful culture, where employees understand Vermilion’s corporate goals and the key role they play in helping to achieve them, and where the company in turn understands what is important to staff.
We have a culture of open, two-way communication at Vermilion. Leaders make themselves available to staff, and staff feel comfortable approaching leaders. Members of our senior management team also make regular visits to our field and international business unit locations when COVID-19 health and safety measures allow, to help staff throughout the world feel part of the whole organization. Through the Great Place to Work survey, our people often tell us that they value the approachability of our leaders at Vermilion, and that they feel heard.
VETnet: Our corporate intranet (VETnet) is a key communications channel, offering both global and local news in English, French, Dutch and German. Content generation and publishing is a shared responsibility amongst stakeholders from across the organization, and we take a centrally managed approach to ensuring the editorial content remains fresh and informative, ranging from corporate news to community investment activities in all our locations. Every VETnet page features a Suggestion button, which staff can use to make suggestions or raise concerns. We aim to respond to these suggestions within one business day.
Town Halls and Communication from our Executive Committee: In 2020, we adjusted our corporate town halls, or staff updates, from an in-person quarterly schedule to a virtual, more frequent, update every six to eight weeks as needed. Content includes health and safety updates, particularly related to the pandemic, updates from business units and key areas such as HSE and Community Investment, and features leaders and staff from around the world presenting our progress and plans. These meetings are archived globally on VETnet so that staff can access them regardless of location and time. A confidential staff pre-survey provides staff with opportunities to raise questions and make suggestions to the senior management team, who participate regularly in a Q&A panel. A confidential post-survey provides staff with a forum to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the staff updates, interest in the topics presented, and suggestions for future content. These components are an excellent way for questions, concerns and suggestions to be raised, as staff feedback is incorporated into ongoing company strategy discussions.
As a high-performing, global organization, Vermilion uses Workday, an integrated, web-based people information system that enables employees to easily and quickly manage their personal information online 24/7, including payroll information, while providing leaders access to required information on their teams.
Consistent and growing use of the system across the organization has enabled us to capture, verify and report significantly more data since 2012/2013. 102-49
We use a variety of checks and indicators to ensure that our People programs are achieving our goals:
We adjust our People policies as needed to ensure we remain competitive with our peers, align to changing regulations, and respond to staff requests.