TransAlta Reviews | Glassdoor.ca

TransAlta Reviews

Updated 20 November, 2017
106 reviews

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2.1
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TransAlta President & CEO Dawn Farrell
Dawn Farrell
53 Ratings

106 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Lots of great people that work within the company (in 11 reviews)

  • Comparatively good benefits although recently cut, good work life balance and opportunities to learn (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • Upper management not well-liked as you can see from other reviews (in 10 reviews)

  • No job satisfaction, employee input is disregarded (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "Viewing it from the other side of the glass"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Advisor - Stakeholder & Indigenous Relations in Calgary, AB
    Current Employee - Senior Advisor - Stakeholder & Indigenous Relations in Calgary, AB
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Most people who write reviews on sites like Glassdoor are those disgruntled because of layoffs or personal issues with their supervisors. The truth is those of us who are happy about our place of work never take the time to share the other side of the story.
    I have been with TransAlta for 4 years now. In the past 25 years, my career has taken me to all four corners of the globe working on sustainable development projects. I have had the privilege to be mentored by some of the greatest professionals around. Yet, I don't remember ever working for a more innovative, progressive company than TransAlta Corporation.
    Not one or two, but three of the supervisors I've worked with in this company have taken the time to make sure I'm involved in projects I find meaningful. The level of trust is one of the highest I have ever encountered and ideas and suggestions are listened to and followed on.
    Most of the people I work with work hard because they feel respected and appreciated.
    Lately, the Management Team in the Company has involved us all in a culture-changing exercise; and the results have been outstanding. A positive attitude is contagious and ours is spreading rapidly.
    I truly look forward to the rest of my career here, and I know of many others who feel the same way about TransAlta.

    Cons

    No company is perfect but this one comes really close

    Advice to Management

    Keep involving the key innovators in the process of bringing this company to new heights. Some of the best ideas come from front-line employees.


  2. "Decent place to work, but poor morale makes the environment difficult."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at TransAlta full-time

    Pros

    Good colleagues, vacation policy and benefits.

    Cons

    Workplace morale has decreased considerably the past couple of years. Salary increases have been very minimal after joining.


  3. "Everyone is encouraged to innovate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Calgary, AB
    Current Employee - Manager in Calgary, AB
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It is an exciting time to be part of the TransAlta team. The company is transforming due to the Coal to Gas transition and focus on growing Gas and Renewables.

    All employees are encouraged to bring ideas forward to improve the companies performance and culture - I have implemented many, the system in place to do this is world-class. Once an improvement is made, employees are rewarded - it's timely and specific recognition - we know how our work makes a difference.

    Our team is engaged and energized which leads to a great working environment. Senior leadership trust that we know the internal and external trends that impact our function which allows our team to implement great ideas with very little red tape.

    Anyone who wants to help a company transform and be part of history would fit well at TransAlta.

    Cons

    Consequence management can be improved to ensure business processes are being used consistently across the company.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused, we are on the right track. Keep working hard to build trust and listen to employees.


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  5. "Far more Bad than Good"

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

    I have been working at TransAlta full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    It is only my opinion, but this is what I've taken away from my years so far.
    - Terrific colleagues and teammates for the most part.
    - Good team/department leaders for the most part.
    - Interesting and challenging work with heavy workload that keeps you busy.
    - Great learning opportunity for those interested in power industry.
    - Lots of position openings due to increased employee turnover.
    - Good advancement opportunities for females here.

    Cons

    It is only my opinion, but this is what I've taken away from my years so far.
    - Downward corporate culture since 2012 and morale since 2015 misfire on restructuring. Current iteration of fixing company has good intent but remains an ongoing distraction. Uncertainty and instability with ongoing transformation/innovation initiative.
    - CEO does not hesitate to publicly ridicule and shame employees. No class and not authentic leadership. Has cascaded down to other senior leaders.
    - Lost 4 of our better corporate officers to an AB peer, BC peer, a 2014 retirement and a 2017 retirement.
    - Price fixing in Alberta and California markets resulted in a maligned reputation and $50 million in fines not available to workforce.
    - Cut in all employee benefits after 2015 wage freezes and layoffs.
    - Increased people resignations over past few years.
    - Inappropriate/Unprofessional behavior from some past and current executives towards staff.

    Advice to Management

    Irrelevant as despite their pledge to improve the culture the corporate officers just don't get the root of the problems.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Seeing it from the Production Side of the Glass"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wabamun, AB
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Wabamun, AB
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at TransAlta full-time

    Pros

    Plenty of time off as long as you "forget" to charge your phone.

    Cons

    I've been with this company for 4.5 years now, and the second I get a job opportunity elsewhere, I will be seizing it. As long as you don't work for a part of the company responsible for actually making money (production), I think you'll absolutely love it (as many of the reviews here seem to suggest - ie. Stakeholder Affairs - whatever that means). Those in the plants, making sure that we actually do what we're supposed to, ie. generate electricity, get trampled and beat into the ground by new and innovative ideas while having what the company calls "leaders" crack the whip from behind. Management's idea of motivation is asking for self-imposed deadlines and then losing their minds when these deadlines aren't met due to conflicting priorities which crop up incessantly. All of these frustrations are compounded by a revolving door of front-line HR personnel, who report into an increasingly disconnected management structure who would appear to have no understanding of what it takes to operate older coal generating assets.
    I could get behind an organization that struggles with leadership, as it's not an inherent trait in most people. It takes practice, patience, and persistence to get right. But the absolute worst part is the communications that get pushed out, which are completely oblivious to the realities to the front line, and are quite frankly, insulting that while the operative phrase is "cost efficiency", the company spends money on communicating disjointed and contradictory messages to its employees.

    Advice to Management

    Understand the first and second order effects of the incentives that you give. When you're telling your front-line employees that you value their contributions and feedback, but then turn around and hold middle management to the fire as opposed to supporting them with much needed resources, who do you really expects feels the full effect?


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Awful - if you have to accept an offer here, have an exit stragegy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Head Office, Professional in Calgary, AB
    Current Employee - Head Office, Professional in Calgary, AB
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at TransAlta full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    -Most lateral level employees are great to work with
    -The weekend, and time not spent at work

    Cons

    -Severely under resourced; not enough hours in the day to complete all of your work. Bright, competent employees either leave to the competitors, become workaholics and stay, or start saying 'no', and give up home of ever getting promoted.
    -Employees are not valued, nor does management care to work with employees to create more effective strategies to manage excessive departmental workloads. The only acceptable answer from an employee to a manager is 'sure, no problem'; very authoritarian style management, hidden behind an insincere smile.
    -Many of us have worked for the competition - there are better options. Working here is costly to your health and personal life.
    -No backup support - when a senior employee leaves, it's often the case that no one else knows how to do his / her job. The work is redistributed to existing employees (again, very under resourced). There are not enough hours in the day to cross train.
    -Management lack the soft skills to be effective - the SVP in our department regularly screams at her assistant, and drops the F bomb.
    -This may sound repetitive, but the management are not open to feedback - you would have more luck trying to reason with a brick wall.

    Advice to Management

    -At the bare minimum, hire more adequate levels of staff. rather than paying lip service to improving office morale - running on empty is burning out existing employees, and is costly.
    -Under staffing departments, and cutting benefits and retirement to regular employees, while the CEO realizes 50% higher compensation over the same period, sends a strong message to employees and shareholders, that there is a problem with mismanagement, and that employees do not matter.
    -The high staff turnover rate is expensive, and inefficient to business operations. Maybe try listening to lower level staff. You might not agree with everything we say, but you will probably notice a pattern in what we're saying; focus on this. The result will be productive, happier, long term staff.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "It's a mess! Do not join!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at TransAlta full-time

    Pros

    There are still great people you can work with!

    Cons

    It all started to go down a little bit before the economy starts to sour, here are a few examples:
    - No more Jeans Friday
    - Pension cut by 50%
    - Flex days reduced from 12 to 9 days
    - No salary increase for the past few years
    - Underground parking increased from $150 to $300/month right before Christmas 2016
    - There must be others...

    A few others to support the point:
    - Upper management keeps cutting budget while CEO got her 60% increased compensation to $7.4 million in 2016
    - Push of a new project called "greenlight" that forced all to participate to come up with ideas to save money on top of your regular work and they made it mandatory for all. Those that identified dollar saving is treated as hero and those who don't as they merely identified boost in productivity is treated differently
    - Inadequate promotion & hiring based on favoritism

    Overall, I would not be surprised if they keep removing more and more in the upcoming months and years and is therefore not recommended unless you have no other choices.

    Advice to Management

    The upper management needs to be completely replaced


  9. "Circling the drain"

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

    I have been working at TransAlta full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great colleagues, rewarding work and excellent industry exposure

    Cons

    Endless personel downsizing and benefit cuts while CEO gets $2 million bonus. Managers hire friends from outside rather than competitively post positions.

    Advice to Management

    Leave the ivory tower and get in touch with your employees.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Analyst"

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

    Pros

    Vacation and flex days are among top 10 percentile
    Health benefit decent
    Work load is reasonable, easier for workers who strike for life work balance

    Cons

    Upper management not well-liked as you can see from other reviews
    Withdraw from the back-up model, to the point there is little contingent plan or back up plan when people are away
    Have a push of the 'loyalty' talent program but keep letting people go

    Advice to Management

    Be consistent of what you say you would do and what you are actually doing. If a slogan doesn't match with practice, don't let it out at the first place.


  11. "Summer Student Laborer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at TransAlta full-time

    Pros

    Great experience, got to work in a plant environment. Safety focused. Seemed committed to providing a safe work environment. Good managers.

    Cons

    Work was somewhat repetitive in nature. Nothing really stretched the mental faculties in this role.

    Advice to Management

    Continue providing summer student positions - they are a huge value to the students, and can help fill some of the more menial tasks.


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