“I love my company!” Group pride, inclusion and employee engagement

How an inclusion opportunity came up at Fenceline and what happened when they took it on.

Marie Gervais, Shift Management Inc.


“Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better.” Greg Louganis

I was talking with one of my clients last week and happened to mention that I was finishing off a series of business breakfast speakers on the topic of workplace inclusion. He immediately lit up and asked, “Do you know want to know what we do to include people?”

Here is what Dylan Hartmann, a manager at Fenceline told me about how a chance opportunity for inclusion came up, and what they did with that opportunity. During an informal office chat, it became known that one of the staff’s spouses was looking after a man with a disability who had a keen interest in mechanics, but had never found an opportunity to learn the skills. Fleet Manager Curt Mowbray, happened to hear about this, and jumped at the opportunity to take the young man under his wing and show him a few tricks of the trade.

His new protegee Ryan, already had a part-time job but wasn’t too passionate about it. He had a goal to “Be able to give my mom’s car an oil change so she doesn’t have to pay for it anymore” and he had always had a keen interest in mechanics.


Ryan began by only spending an hour a week in Curt’s shop tinkering with the vehicles, learning from Curtis, socializing with the employees and talking cars with Curtis. He enjoyed it so much, he now spends the entire afternoon on Wednesdays at Fenceline in the Fleet shop.

With three children of his own, Curtis is pleased to have an opportunity to be a role model in Ryan’s life and share what he knows. He looks forward to Ryan’s visits and plans to make each one enjoyable and unique, describing Ryan as focused and easy to train – a “real pleasure to spend time with.” Curtis recognizes that if his father hadn’t spent his free time teaching him about vehicles and bonding over this trade – he would not have ended up on the career path he so much enjoys, and would not have had been so positive in his life. Ryan has now become a valued addition to the shop and everyone looks forward to the Wednesday afternoons when he will be there.

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time. They just have the heart.” Elizabeth Andrew

This experience has made Fenceline consider taking on more young people who would appreciate a chance to learn trades. A possible opportunity for this could be through the Transitions Rehab Assistance Group.

What struck me about this story is that when there is a solid company culture, individual employees feel free to suggest an initiative and leadership is open to taking on employee suggestions that seem to be a good fit. Willingness to allow an employee to take on an idea, even if it doesn’t have a direct line to cash flow but fits the company values, is a clear sign that there is strong employee engagement and good communication.

Increased pride means greater employee engagement and loyalty. When people feel engaged, they make less mistakes, are more willing to do things that will help their colleagues be successful and take better care of tools and equipment. Dylan’s story about Ryan learning from Curtis in the Fleet shop shows that you don’t need to go to a lot of trouble to be inclusive. Chatting informally with people and checking in with them now and then offers opportunities to take on a person, project or cause just because human beings are interacting with each other.

As can be seen by Dylan’s excitement about sharing the story with me, even though he is not directly involved with it, Fenceline employees are proud to work for a company that includes others, gives people a chance and has a mission outside of its own narrow industry boundaries. Within its own ranks, the company looks out for its people and keeps them learning, improving and developing their skills – because that is part of the company culture. There is a sense that the employer is there for the employees, the managers care about their teams, suggestions are taken seriously, and if everyone does their job well everyone benefits.

Here are a few other corporate social responsibility initiatives Fenceline is proud to participate in:

  • Kathy’s Run for Pancreatic Cancer (Annually)
  • Race for a Cure – Kids with Cancer Society
  • Donation of services for the 4 year Wellspring Edmonton Construction initiative, which provides programs for cancer patients & their families at no cost.

“Small ideas X lots of people = big change”

The result of willingness to make a difference for someone at work – and beyond? Happier employees, more satisfied customers, a better bottom line and a better world. Hats off to Fenceline for being an example of responsive inclusion!

To show how Fenceline’s culture of service is part of the company profile read this…

Fenceline Rentals Ltd. specializes in the delivery, installation and shipping of temporary fencing anywhere, anytime in Alberta, as well as, serving the commercial and residential portable toilet and waste disposal needs of the Greater Edmonton area.

Our focus is developing long-term relationships with our customers through superior customer service and integrity. Fenceline Rentals values the needs and ideas of our clients and we are constantly refining our services and systems to offer the flexibility required to meet our customers’ challenges and evolving needs.

In business since 1998, we have earned the trust and respect of Alberta’s leading construction companies and our residential customers. Fenceline’s commitment to excellence goes beyond the equipment rentals we supply and we are always looking for innovative solutions that will help facilitate our customers’ projects.

Fenceline Rentals Ltd. is proud to support volunteer and charitable initiatives that benefit our community by donating our expertise and services.


About Marie:

Marie Gervais, PhD, CEO Shift Management is a business-to-business entrepreneur who specializes in helping employers train their middle management to lead, get their workplace learning online and interactive, and conduct team assessments to figure out who to promote and how. She has a background in integrating internationally-trained individuals to the workplace and has supported many businesses in their efforts to hire, retain, support and promote immigrant and diverse employees.

Get in touch – she would love to hear from you: marie@shiftworkplace.com or 780-454-5661