Heather Mewhinney, director of human resources (HR) for Kriska Transportation Group was named HR Leader of the Year tonight, at Trucking HR Canada’s Top Fleet Employers gala.
The award goes to someone who exemplifies HR excellence within their organization. Mewhinney has helped Kriska integrate 12 acquisitions over the past five years, and according to the company, “redefined” its hiring standards.
She was inaugural co-chairwoman of Truckers Against Trafficking when it came to Canada. Upon receiving the award, Mewhinney said “I’ve been in the industry for 26 years and never have I been prouder to work in the trucking industry than in the last year and a half. To see our drivers continue to answer the call during Covid, and to continue crossing the border to deliver freight and keep the supply chain moving.”
During Covid, Mewhinney said the company has had to pivot to work from home, and constantly reinvent the rules to keep employees safe. “And then the next week, do it all over again,” she added. “The industry really did shine over the past 18 months. I’m lucky to work with Kriska Transportation Group and with so many great people who make my job easier every day.”
Seventy-seven fleets were recognized at the event, held at the Palais Royale in Toronto and streamed online, with winners declared in 13 categories. Winners were selected based on human resources excellence. Fleets that received top awards were those with the highest overall scores in their category.
“It’s a program open to fleets of every size, in every region of the country, and across the spectrum of for-hire, private, and fleet services businesses,” said emcee John G. Smith, vice-president – editorial, with Newcom Media.
Angela Splinter, CEO of Trucking HR Canada, added “Improving the image of our industry and promoting it as great place to work starts with better HR approaches. Our Top Fleet Employers know now, more than ever, that taking care of our people is the path to profitability and sustainability.”
Winning the small fleet category was Wellington Group of Companies. RST and Sunbury Transport won the medium-sized fleet category, while Bison Transport was the winner among large fleets. Walmart won in the private fleet category.
The HR Innovator award, “presented to a Top Fleet Employer that thinks outside the box when approaching HR initiatives,” was Logikor. It created a When I Work app for scheduling, reduced paper waste, and focused on data analytics to track its progress.
Rosenau Transport was recognized as winner of the Achievement of Excellence for Workplace Mental Health award. The award goes to a fleet with a “demonstrated commitment to overall employee mental health in the workplace,” according to Trucking HR Canada.
Smith said Rosenau offers a range of supports and programs throughout the year, including providing a personal trainer to staff.
One for Freight was awarded for employee engagement, recognizing things such as open-door policies, staff meetings designed to garner employee feedback and recognition. The award recognizes a workplace culture that values the opinions of employees and acts upon them, Smith said.
Salary top-ups, additional time off, a fitness for duty program, and work from home policy – even prior to Covid – were among One for Freight’s programs that earned it the award.
The Achievement of Excellence for Workplace Diversity award went to XTL Transportation. It recognizes a fleet’s commitment to supporting employees of all ages, sexual orientations, religions, races, colors and genders.
Challenger Motor Freight won the Achievement of Excellence award for Training and Skills Development, and Sutco Transportation Specialists won in the Workplace Culture category. Challenger received a perfect score in the Training and Skills Development category, Smith said. Sutco has accommodation policies, including allowing pets and bringing children to work, and four-on/four-off work schedules for drivers.
Ryder Canada Supply Chain Solutions took home the Achievement of Excellence for Women in the Workplace award, which recognizes things such as targeted recruitment approaches designed to appeal to women, onboarding programs that support female drivers, and supporting women in seeking coaching and mentoring opportunities.
Ryder has a think tank that meets monthly to create new strategies to encourage and support female drivers, and is active in various women’s organizations. Ryder also supports a scholarship program to support women wanting to pursue a career in trucking.
The Achievement of Excellence for HR Leadership, a new award this year, went to Kriska Holdings. “This award recognizes a business that demonstrates long-term dedication to HR excellence,” said Smith. Candidates must also have been part of the program for at least five years.
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