Mentorship for the long game: Goodwin Industrial Electric invests in opportunity

Goodwin Industrial Electric Project Manager Justin Tofsrud started as a journeyman electrician. Over seven years with the company, he has moved through the service department and is now working in management and human resources while pursuing a graduate diploma in business mentorship at SFU.

“I got into trades when I was young because it was good money. Now, I have the opportunity to be a university graduate,” said Tofsrud.

He said that mentorship within the company is what has helped him succeed and built his loyalty. “I was young and inexperienced and Goodwin took me in and gave me an opportunity to succeed. Now I call it mentorship, but when I was young, I called it authoritative law,” he laughed. “It was a struggle at times but I’m much better for it.”

“The mentorship I received and continue to receive has allowed me to become the person I am today. In turn, I make every attempt to encourage, teach, and even mentor others coming up behind me. Be them young apprentices new to the industry, or individuals who seen me succeed and strive to want to the same for themselves,” he said.

Starting as a small, family-owned company, while Goodwin has grown, they have still maintained their strong family values culture.

“Every member of the team is a member of the family. We find nothing more satisfying than seeing the group grow and achieve new and higher goals. Just like with family, the safety of our team is our number one priority,” reads the descriptor on their website, and those words are echoed emotionally by both Tofsrud and President Perry McDougall.

A leader in the industrial sector for more than 50 years, Goodwin Industrial Electric knows the value of playing the long game. Since 1961, their approach has been that every project is an opportunity to create a partnership that will develop into a long-term relationship. The pride they have in those partnerships, along with the family approach to business, has contributed to their success.

McDougall worked in almost every position within the company before his appointment as president. He says being able to relate to his team members and specific jobs they do helps him gain their trust and cultural buy in. For Tofsford, it was the same.

“Because I came up through the trenches with the crew, with the guys, I have their trust,” he said.

“Workplace health and safety is the way we start and finish every day. It’s a huge part of our culture. That’s the most important thing: letting your team know that you’re thinking about them all the time in safety,” said McDougall.

He talked about how at the beginning of our day, the group will get together have a safety meeting. They also use a new electronic safety checklist on a tablet where everybody goes through an inDoc and safety procedure for the day. The team all signs off on that, and it goes to the safety officer and customer contact.

Of course, not everyone brought onto the team is a great fit right off the bat. Goodwin has a probation period. “Sometimes, they’re not a good fit and we’re asking something of them that they’re not able to do. We actually talk to our foremen quite a bit – what are team member’s qualities, setbacks, where can they grow, what are their strengths and weaknesses.” said Tofsrud. He said in this case, they sometimes move them to different positions based on the foremen’s feedback.

A big part of putting the team’s needs first is reflected in the updated personalized toolkits that everyone works with. Each employee brings their own company-provided tools and the company always listens to their requests for new ones to make their jobs easier. They see the company investing in them—in their training and tools. “They want to stay, and they want to be part of what we’re doing. We’re getting better as a team and we’re working harder together,” said Tofsrud.

This year, McDougall was a finalist for the Ben Hume Leadership award. Awarded at the Safety Pinnacle Awards Gala each year, this award recognizes a BC Safety Charter member who demonstrates exemplary leadership.

“It is just an amazing company to work with, very family oriented, and there was the opportunity to move up. I have an unwavering loyalty: I’m very loyal to Perry and to Goodwin and the team,” said Tofsrud.

Millennials look for culture: Pay, education and culture top drivers – Deloitte

“Forty-three per cent of millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years, and only 28 per cent seek to stay beyond five years,” according to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, which explores the views of 10,455 millennials and 1,844 Gen Z respondents around the world who were born between 1983 and 1994.

Companies’ actions appear to strongly influence the length of time millennials intend to stay with their employers. Good pay and positive corporate cultures are most likely to attract both millennials and Gen Z. They also look for diversity, inclusion and flexibility.

“Attracting and retaining millennials and Gen Z respondents begins with financial rewards and workplace culture; it is enhanced when businesses and their senior management teams are diverse, and when the workplace offers higher degrees of flexibility. Those who are less than satisfied with their pay and work flexibility are increasingly attracted to the gig economy, especially in emerging markets,” according to the survey summary.

However, a stark mismatch persists between what millennials believe responsible companies should achieve and what they perceive businesses’ actual priorities are. “Younger workers are increasingly uneasy about the future, pessimistic about the prospects for political and social progress, and harbour growing concerns about safety, social equality and environmental sustainability,” the survey found.

While young workers believe business should consider stakeholder interests as well as profit, their experience is of employers prioritizing the bottom line above workers, society, and the environment.

Young workers are looking to businesses to help them develop necessary skills, including the “soft” skills they believe will be more important as jobs evolve. Past surveys also indicate that flexible working arrangements improve employee loyalty. Millennials say they appreciate not being tied to strict working hours and locations. They also value the trust their employers demonstrate in granting that flexibility.

Among those who intend to stay with their current employers for at least five years, 55 per cent say there is now more flexibility in where and when they work compared to three years ago. Among those looking to leave within the next 24 months, the figure is only 35 per cent.

Almost four in 10 millennials (38 per cent) report that their organizations already make a large or fair amount of use of advanced automation and connectivity, artificial intelligence, or robotics to perform mechanical tasks or analysis previously done by people.

Overall, most millennials (and half of Gen Z respondents) believe Industry 4.0 will augment their jobs, giving them more time to focus on creative, “human,” and value-added work. Respondents would like business to take a lead role in readying people for Industry 4.0, but a minority feel this is currently happening. Just 36 per cent of millennials and 42 per cent of Gen Z respondents reported that their employers were helping them understand and prepare for the changes associated with Industry 4.0.

Looking forward, about eight in 10 millennials say that on-the-job training, continuous professional development, and formal training led by employers will be important to help them perform their best. Seventy-three per cent of those who plan to stay with their employers more than five years say their organizations are strong providers of education and training.

–The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019– Societal discord and technological transformation create a “generation disrupted”