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My Stantec Story: Sam Kitteringham, bringing benefits to her colleagues

June 29, 2022

Managing change in human resources while building a career

In the My Stantec Story series, our designers, engineers, marketers, project managers, and leaders come together to share how their career journeys at Stantec have shaped their lives and moved them closer to their goals.

Tell us about your role...

I’m just entering my 16th year working with Stantec, and I’ve been lucky enough to be supported through a few successive roles within human resources (HR) over that time. I joined as an HR administrator and currently head up the Total Rewards (TR) function, which I really enjoy. My role involves managing both internal and external stakeholders to ensure that Stantec offers a competitive choice of employee benefits, as well as oversight of the wider reward, recognition, and compensation initiatives. While the TR team are responsible for ensuring that Stantec employees receive the benefits package that best suits them, we’re also constantly looking for ways to improve what’s on offer. That might be more flexible ways of providing an existing benefit, or seeking new benefits, which balance employee choice, value for money, support Stantec values, and align with our strategy. 

What was it that attracted you to a career at Stantec?

Early in my career, I had  the opportunity to also help in the payroll department. For me, this provided a unique opportunity to get involved with lots of projects and exciting collaborations, while ensuring that our employees had their essentials covered—smooth onboarding, correct contractual documentation, benefit entitlements etcetera. Since then, both my role and the company have grown and evolved, which has allowed me to progress to where I am today. I appreciate that throughout my career, Stantec has supported my development through academic sponsorship, and internal and external training. It’s wonderful to work with an amazing team who enjoy helping each other succeed.

What has been the standout project for you during your time at Stantec?

I’ve seen the HR role, and the employee-company relationship, change over the years. A project that stands out for me was the advent of flexible benefits, which neatly coincided with our launch of an online platform to assist with employee benefit communication and selection. This was a fantastic opportunity for Stantec to listen to our employees and offer more choice to suit a range of individual needs—which we continue to build upon.

Next up must be the opportunity to work on mergers and acquisitions. It’s incredibly interesting to get to know an incoming organisation and help guide everyone through the integration, as we move forward together in the best way possible.

Of our brand values which is most important to you and why?

Well, they all resonate with me. I think I’d have to choose ‘We Do What is Right’ as it underpins everything we do, the decisions we make, and is fundamental to all our other values. As an HR professional, I pride myself in having integrity and that means doing what I say I’ll do, making sound, informed decisions, and growing from my experiences with honesty and humility.

What makes an excellent benefits package?

Without stating the obvious, an employer needs to take care of the basics. Looking after employee health with medical insurances, mental health support, and vacation and leave, alongside helping them provide for their future by offering good quality pensions is only the start. Beyond that, a variety of meaningful voluntary benefits is essential. There’s no such thing as an ‘average’ employee. Each person brings with them a unique blend of needs and wants, influenced by many factors outside of the workplace. It’s therefore important that Stantec continues to provide access to first rate, flexible, voluntary benefits.

Benefits are a big part of whether someone chooses to work for a company. So, it’s important we communicate at all stages of the employee lifecycle from talent acquisition, right through to retirement. We make sure we let employees know we’re always here to help guide them through planning their benefits package.

How do you involve our teams and colleagues when evolving our benefits offering?

I am pleased to say that we have a reputation for listening to our employees and developing our benefits offerings to align with both their needs and market demand.

We start with an idea, the source of which could be employee feedback, a recommendation from our third-party benefits consultant, or something we’ve read in an industry publication. Initially, we’ll discuss it with the wider Total Rewards Team and the HR leadership team. From there, we’ll consider and research all aspects of the initiative. Then, we’ll put together a proposal for consideration. When a proposal is accepted, it’s all systems go with securing a product provider and moving on to implementation. We’ll work with our functional service teams, the wider HR team, payroll, finance and communications to name a few! We’ll launch a new product in a number of ways including online presentations, email broadcasts, slides in presentations and updates on the intranet, on our benefits platform, or in our benefits brochure! It’s a busy time, but we enjoy engaging with employees, and helping them make decisions.

It’s wonderful to work with an amazing team who enjoy helping each other succeed.

What are your ambitions for the future at Stantec?

Stantec has exciting growth plans in the UK and Ireland, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of building our benefit and reward initiatives alongside that growth. I also find the expanding Employee Resource Group activities a fantastic way to get involved with things that really matter and make a difference, while also enriching your own experience.

What are your passions outside of work?

I’d like to say that I can sail. While I do enjoy being on the water, I’m very much an amateur and find myself much more at home on land supporting my husband, who races our boat, with a crew whom I provide home cooked meals for their longer journeys. I love to travel, and this year I’m looking forward to visiting Ireland, although part of that holiday will be spent feeding those hungry sailors as they compete in the Round Ireland Yacht Race! There are so many places in the world that that I’m looking forward to experiencing, and so I try not to visit the same place twice.

At home, time is spent catering to our Labrador Retriever’s every whim, Amber is very much part of our lives. Living at the coast, we love taking long sandy walks and playing in the sea.

Why should others join the Stantec team?

It’s easy to say that people are our greatest asset however at Stantec, this is not just lip-service, Stantec really mean it. The support and opportunity available at Stantec are a true testament to the brand value of ‘Putting People First.’  

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