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ATCO Reviews

17 reviews

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ATCO President, CEO and Director ATCO and Canadian Utilities Nancy C. Southern
Nancy C. Southern
8 Ratings

17 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Corporate culture, management, human resources (don't even get me started on what a worthless group that is) (in 4 reviews)

  • However, the reality is that business operations are what matters and will always trump everything else (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Poor training, petty management, no longetivity"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Editorial Assistant in Houston, TX
    Former Intern - Editorial Assistant in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ATCO as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Culture isn't horrible, laid back office environment, decent pay, young demographic in the office, wonderful people in accounting and very nice staff in other offices

    Cons

    lack of respect amongst interns and managing editors, little time for breaks, personal growth not matched, was informed an employee was told to not speak to the interns


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Meh..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Livable wages and decent work-life balance. Ok benefits and stock purchase plan. Many good people but the best usually move on.

    Cons

    Despite happy talk, communication is one way. Nowhere to go if creative. Corporate culture destroys ability to make tough decisions. A 'damned if you do damned if you don't' environment. A few years in you just shrug and accept it.

    Advice to Management

    None - why bother.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "Great company if you don't like change or making decisions"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at ATCO full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good people to work with, work is interesting and fulfilling depending on your role. Moderate salary with OK benefits. Large knowledge base within the company, but you need work it to make the connections happen.

    Cons

    Stagnant company culture which is incredibly averse to innovation, change and risk. Lacks vision and communication skills to ensure employees are aligned with management's "strategic plan". Earnings are very dependant on the regulated market as the primary driver for this behaviour. Bureaucracy is needlessly slow, bloated and complicated resulting in lost opportunities. Not a place for self-starters, drones are preferred. "Family run" company can be taken a bit to literally taking away from the meritocracy.

    Advice to Management

    Push more decisions down the process to allow those which have the time and expertise to evaluate opportunities a chance to capitalize on them. Not take pride in the ability to not make a decision. Establish better knowledge management as the aging workforce moves on. Develop a medium for companies within the group to cross pollinate expertise and network.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Not great"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at ATCO (More than a year)

    Pros

    Most fellow employees are genuinely dedicated and friendly. The offices are comfortable and located in the city with many spare desks given the shrinking work environment (lay offs). ATCO is essentially a family run company, very conservative and hierarchical but arguably more likely to weather a poor economy. If you have a Canadian accent you've already got a leg up over the competition.

    Cons

    Very toxic blame culture where heads will roll and a scapegoat is required when there are failings or missed targets. Rather than learning from mistakes or reading the external environment, firings or employees being "managed out" are commonplace, particularly if they point out flaws in management strategy. Disagreement and differing opinions are not valued, rather seen as dissent or not towing the company line. Despite a seemingly friendly office environment, at crunch time fear and office politics rule. Confused, mixed and changing messaging from management filters down from HQ in Canada. Truly unachievable targets are tied to bonuses and pay. There is an inordinate focus on busy work and sometimes fool's errands to "please Canada" (or worse, to complete a task someone thinks will please Canada) rather than focusing actual work. If you are an expert at navigating office politics in a blame culture environment then this is the place for you, just beware that newcomers in management positions are frequently scapegoated after having been looked to as a saviour when they first arrived - ask the reason the last employee is leaving the position you are applying for, and have a frank 'off the record' discussion with them away from the office if at all possible. Look for what they may be telling you between the lines. Lastly and consistently with all of the fellow employees that I have spoken with, promises made to employees when they were hired - such as exposure to overseas postings - are almost never fulfilled. If you do decide to take the job, ensure you outline such promises within the employee contract.

    Advice to Management

    When managers are turned over so frequently due to 'non performance', perhaps the issue is less with the individuals and may be the environment they are working within. I have seen good managers with the long term vision to positively impact the company bottom line scapegoated out. Stick with your managers longer to allow them time to perform.
    Listen to locals and value their dissenting opinion, even if you don't end up taking their recommendation, it is important that they know they can speak up without fear of retribution. I have seen valuable local employees managed out or sidelined because they directly disagreed with [Canadian] management and had the audacity to vocalise it.
    Canada HQ should formalise, document and streamline a cascaded planning and reporting process - the current system takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort across the business and takes time away from plan execution.
    Make good on promises made to employees when they joined or do not make such promises.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "was a good company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trades in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Former Employee - Trades in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Association has negotiated decent salary

    Cons

    No communication from Top Down,Never listen to employee ideas suggestions ,Supervisors managers, senior managers,have no people skills at all . only try scare tactics,and bullying .
    no vision keep doing it the same old way,middle management are only concerned with moving up and will step on anybody to do that,to much internal promotions no idea how the real world works.never ever read exit interveiws other wise they would realize what a disorganized show they are running.So busy patting themseves on the back and never really come down to the ground level employees and actually HEAR what is really going on.Removed all the experienced employees and blamed it on recession.HR has no skills and are back in the eightys.

    Advice to Management

    middle management is destroying your company with all the incompetence that is supported from above.Get rid of all the suckholes and listen to the people on the ground level doing the work.
    was a family now just a number and a pay check loyalty to this company has diminished completely.stop handing out discipline letters like parking tickets and actually communicate and find out what is going on.Get in touch with your employees


  6. Helpful (17)

    "Brown trickles down"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at ATCO full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good Benefits, decent pay and some departments have great people working for them just like any other company.

    Cons

    If you have no idea what you are doing, have poor communication skills, are just plain weird and would like to advance into a position you really aren't qualified for, then this is the company for you!! Oddly enough all the good employees seem to loose their jobs and all the crazies stay. Lol. It is the strangest thing I've ever seen. Any ways it is just a job. One day I will leave. Or I guess get fired or laid off if I truly am any good.

    Advice to Management

    Respect all your employees. Managers need to attend courses on how to deal with people. Require more professionalism. The things you guys say in front of a whole room of your employees blows my mind! How did you ever get into the position you are in.


  7. "Business Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Former Contractor - Anonymous Contractor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at ATCO as a contractor

    Pros

    Stability and security, you can rest assured that you wont get laid off and guaranteed a good salary and benefits (profit sharing, bonuses, and medical coverage)

    Cons

    I was under bad management, I spent a year at ATCO Pipelines, I have not learned anything or produced anything. All what I gained was some decent connections. That being said I only had very limited visibility to anything happening in the organization. So this company could be good for someone else but not me.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency, delegation and collaboration is needed in this place

  8. Helpful (12)

    "Slow and Steady"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Analyst in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Analyst in Calgary, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at ATCO full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Family owned and operated, along with friends of the family. You will find a majority of employees who have been with the company for 10 to 40 years. This is a company you can work for your entire life. All you need at a minimum is a high school diploma. Authority comes from the top. Most ATCO Lifer's are friendly but have little to no experience from other shops and it shows.
    *Some good middle management and great peers
    *Participates in good charitable causes
    *Good compensation and benefits
    *Good downtown office location
    *Possibility of moving jobs laterally to other business units
    *Possibility of moving to other ATCO group of companies

    Cons

    If you're ambitious, have opinions and are vocal, have a desire to be responsible and accountable for your work, have an internal drive to do more, then this company is NOT for you. Decisions are made from the top regardless of your skill and experience.
    *Decisions are made behind closed doors (secretive)
    *Initiatives are slow and move at a sloths pace
    *Management provides no strategy or plan for the company
    *Company does not pay an incentive

    Advice to Management

    If you want to be good at everything and great at nothing, then you're succeeding. The company will always find it's way to be in the middle of the pact. It will never be a leader unless it's willing to commit and do whatever it takes to be successful. When you're risk adverse, you will never take a chance at getting it right. To be a head of the market. You will be catching up to those leaders indefinitely.
    Pay for performance and incentives are key. Why work harder to drive success when there is no reward at the end of the tunnel? Working a 9 to 10 hour day versus a guy who only works 7.5, means more stress for nothing. You can't be #1 in any industry with that mentality.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Dissapointing Carrer Episode"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Perth, Western Australia (Australia)
    Current Employee - Manager in Perth, Western Australia (Australia)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at ATCO full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Pays slightly above market rates, talks about employees as important, and seems to want to value them. Good view of safety (but not enough support structure) and are trying to build a safe environment.

    Cons

    Despite the Talk they do not support or respect their employees. Company feels very immature at the head office level and struggles to operate as a unified entity.

    Advice to Management

    Respect your employees - they are your greatest asset!


  10. Helpful (5)

    "I-Tek - The company I used to love working for..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Edmonton, AB (Canada)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at ATCO full-time

    Pros

    Great co-workers who provide a supportive work environment. The pay and benefits are good and the work/life balance is decent.

    Cons

    While some managers and supervisors are great, there seems to be a overall bullying culture among management. Depending on the department, there is also an incredible amount of micromanagement. They don't work very hard to keep good employees and moral is quite low (although it seems that management chooses to think otherwise). In addition, the ignorance/arrogance of HR in dealing with sick leave is astounding. They think it is appropriate for them to question the medical opinions of doctors, although none of them, to my knowledge, have any medical training. They try to force people to return to work earlier than recommended by their doctors. They also try to sabotage the employees ability to claim disability benefits through the insurance company by providing information as to why they don't feel the employee should be on sick leave.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees with respect, we're human beings.


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