Our Approach to People

Our Approach to People, and Why This Matters

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 diversetalented and engaged people who work together to achieve superior results and make Vermilion an exceptional place to work.

3.4 Reduce premature mortality through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being
Vermilion's Contribution
Access to preventive health care, including supplementary medical coverage for all permanent employees, access to mental health care, and support for safe and healthy surroundings and lifestyles.
5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work and shared responsibility
Vermilion's Contribution
Family-friendly work options, including parental leave, vacation purchase, flexible work hours, a remote work option two days a week in pilot testing, and part-time work with benefits.
8.2 Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men
Vermilion's Contribution
A range of workforce protections, including respect for labor rights, detailed codes of conduct, robust compensation and benefits program, and a range of options for training and development.

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, connect them  with their immediate team and key colleagues, and integrate them quickly into our culture. This includes reviewing our People, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and HSE policies, explaining compensation and benefits programs, ensuring IT systems are available, and providing key information about our company and culture.  


We acknowledge the value our people bring via a market-competitive compensation and benefits approach. 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, with details in our annual 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. These include 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:

Health and Wellness

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. 

Mental Health and Wellness

The pandemic created an unprecedented source of stress, from family health worries to the challenges of working remotely. Our global Mental Health and Wellness program aims 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, a confidential 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 host an annual Mental Health Week with activities that include staff-suggested music playlists, taking time to chat with each other, mindfulness workshops, gratitude sharing and even virtual yoga.   

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment

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 that they 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 such as witnesses, which would not be appropriate. 

Work Councils

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. Works Council are in place in France, and in Germany for our field staff. In the Netherlands, the Works Council is eligible to form whenever employees wish.102-41  

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 that they understand the different reporting options. 

Diversity and Women in Leadership

We recognize the importance of gender diversity. In April 2021, the Board Diversity Policy was amended to include a commitment to increase Board gender diversity to 30% by the 2024 annual general meeting. We achieved this target in July 2021, and have maintained it since. Our formal recruitment process for Board members and our executive includes a candidate screening step that includes reasonable efforts to secure at least 50% of qualified women applicants and the interview pool.102-24 In 2021, Vermilion was also accepted as a member of the 30% Club, joining their campaign to increase gender diversity on boards. 


We also plan to continue a mentoring program, focused on helping high-potential female employees develop their management skills and prepare for senior leadership roles. Given the positive feedback from mentors and mentees, this program will be expanded to additional participants in 2022.

A Great Place to Work

Vermilion has demonstrated excellent results in the Great Place to Work Institute’s® Best Workplaces competition, which we use as a tool for continuous improvement in our culture and people practices. While we put the survey on hold in 2020/21 due to COVID-19, we continued to ask our staff for important feedback by switching to smaller, more specific and more regular staff surveys. 


In 2019, the most recent year that Vermilion participated in the Great Place to Work program, we were recognized as being among the: 

The rankings are based on the Institute’s two-fold approach, which includes an independent assessment of our culture along with our employees’ confidential responses to the Institute’s survey. In part, we attribute these results to the importance we place on reviewing and addressing the staff feedback through the surveys. These results also tell us what our people value about Vermilion — including competitive total compensation, opportunities for growth and development, and pride in how we give back to our communities. 

Fair Culture

Ensuring that Vermilion has a positive, healthy and safe work environment is our top priority. Fair and consistent procedures to review, document and resolve events or potential violations of company policies and guidelines or local laws are therefore essential. These Fair Culture policies apply to all Vermilion staff and third parties performing work in all of our business units.102-16  


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. Members of our senior management team make regular visits to our field and international business unit locations. 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. 


 Our corporate intranet (VETnet) is a key communications channel, offering both global and local news in English, French, Dutch and German. Content generation is shared amongst stakeholders from across the organization, focusing on corporate news, shared learnings, HSE and community investment activities in all our locations. Every VETnet page features a Suggestion button, which staff can use to make suggestions or raise concerns.  

Town Halls and Communication from our Executive Committee

In 2020, we adjusted our in-person corporate town halls from a quarterly schedule to virtual events every six to eight weeks as needed. Content includes health and safety updates, news from business units and key areas such as HSE and Community Investment, and business strategy progress, and featuring leaders and staff from around the world.


These meetings are archived globally on VETnet so that staff can access them regardless of location and time. A confidential pre-survey provides 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 a forum for feedback on the effectiveness of the town halls, 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. 

Technical Sharing

We ensure that learnings are shared via our Global Operating Best Practice team, which provides a company-wide communication platform to share insights and connect our staffalong with peer assists for our technical teams 

Measurement, Evaluation and Adjustment

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.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.