“People will follow your lead if you are able to put yourself in the trenches and help out those who need support.”
RAMINDER IN 100 WORDS
There is no question that Raminder Grewal, President of Keystone Environmental Ltd., is a change agent. Being named in Business in Vancouver’s Top Forty Under 40, receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and being recognized as an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards finalist in 2018 are a testament to his dedication, leadership and hard work. “I always make sure to give things my all, I don’t want to do anything half-heartedly,” he states.
In 2000, Raminder began working as an environmental engineer for Keystone Environmental, an engineering consulting firm of 75 employees located in Burnaby, B.C. It wasn’t long before he initiated positive change within the firm. “I was exposed to emergency response in a previous job and noticed that Keystone Environmental was not exploring this area on a regular basis,” Raminder says. “I brought up the growth opportunity we had to pursue working in this area and Keystone encouraged it.”
Raminder became the youngest department head in Keystone’s history, responsible for half the firm’s revenue. Under his lead of the largest department, Contaminated Sites, Keystone’s revenue grew by 30 percent. “I made sure to put in my time and meet deadlines, put in the extra effort, and help others when needed,” he explains. “My approach was not to tell people what to do, but to work together as a team.”
When discussions about succession planning began, he was introduced to TEC by Keystone’s CEO, a 10-year TEC member. Raminder joined TEC’s KEY Executive group in 2010 and soon realized that regardless of the industry, people management is one of the most challenging issues companies face. In recognizing the importance of hiring employees who are a good fit with a company’s values and culture, Keystone Environmental implemented the organizational practice of hiring people right out of university and promoting them from within the company. “It’s hard to find good people with experience; we train new hires in our processes and find their individual career path within the firm. This has really helped us with hiring the right people and with succession planning.”
Through TEC, he learned more about the demographic of Keystone’s new hires, Generation Y, in the workplace. The average turnover for an individual from Generation Y is two years, while for most Keystone employees it’s over four. To further improve employee retention and succession, Raminder also worked with the HR manager to remodel Keystone’s organizational structure. The new structure implemented team leads, while allowed more time for employees to discuss their career goals and objectives through individual monthly meetings.
“Our turnover has since lowered. My personal view on the restructuring is that everyone feels more connected through the individual meetings and active communication,” Raminder says.
In 2017, Raminder transitioned from a TEC KEY Executive member to a TEC CEO member. Under his leadership, Keystone Environmental has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Small & Medium Employers in 2018. Raminder places a high level of importance on recognizing people for their hard work, spotlighting them for bringing in new client projects and congratulating them on successful projects. His best piece of business advice is to “lead by example. People will follow your lead if you are able to put yourself in the trenches and help out those who