Kerri Rudnicki: Reinforcing a sense of belonging in the workplace
The "Us" in Cenovus
January 2022 – Imagine going to work every day feeling like you couldn’t be your authentic self. That scenario is something Kerri Rudnicki, Cenovus Energy’s Manager of Engagement & Inclusion, actively works each day to manage.
“Helping people feel like they belong and can be themselves in the workplace is what I do – and it’s the best job,” explains Kerri. “I didn’t realize how passionate I’d become about inclusion until I started working in this space. The work changes you. You look at the world differently, you question your unconscious bias and you try to become better.”
With a 25-year background in human resources, Kerri worked as a business partner supporting different areas of the company until she was selected to help launch an inclusion and diversity team at a previous company.
“My stepson is autistic, so I often find myself viewing things in the workplace from his perspective,” says Kerri. “Taking on an inclusion and diversity role pushed me to ask questions like: is our job application process inclusive? How would someone like my son feel about our company culture? How can we continue to remove barriers and ensure everyone feels included and accepted?”
In addition to stewarding the company’s inclusion and diversity strategy, Kerri’s team is in charge of building a culture where everyone feels accepted. Earlier this year, the team led a series of workshops where staff from across the business shared ideas to help build our new purpose and values for the company, helping ensure we’re building a culture that resonates with the people who work here. The team also oversees our Employee Listening Strategy, which involves surveying staff throughout the year on how they’re feeling. The feedback helps us continually improve our culture and acts as a benchmark so we can measure our progress.
“At Cenovus, we know that inclusion and diversity play a critical role in both our company culture and business performance,” says Kerri. “That’s why we’ve made it one of our environmental, social and governance focus areas. Our industry is rapidly changing, and to keep up we’re going to need diversity of thought, experience and background reflected in our workforce to be able to evolve and improve.”
Having conversations once thought to be taboo, and challenging our ways of thinking can go a long way in helping employees feel like they belong. And Kerri has heard firsthand the impact an inclusion and diversity program can have.
“The results really come to life when you start hearing stories about how our programs affect staff. One employee told me that seeing inclusion and diversity stories on the company intranet empowered her to feel comfortable coming out at work and start showing her true self in the office. Stories like this make me feel like the work my team does makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Our inclusion and diversity networks are intended to help foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. These networks are open to all staff and aim to provide peer support, increase awareness of key topics, trends and issues and influence Cenovus’s practices and programs to enhance the experience of all staff. Learn more.