Tamara Howarth, head of HR and VP of legal, at Wheaton Precious Metals talks strategies contributing to high-value employees
As a lawyer turned HR professional, Tamara Howarth, head of HR and VP of Legal at Wheaton Precious Metals, wears many hats. However, the duality of her roles has contributed to the company’s success, with Wheaton recently named one of the major global companies generating the most revenue per employee.
Wheaton is one of only two Canadian companies to make OnDeck’s list, with a revenue per employee of $23,095,238; the company has a relatively modest employee base of 42 worldwide. In the 20 years since the company was founded, it has been recognized for generating the most revenue per employee for many of those years, Howarth said.
“One of the key benefits of the precious metal streaming model is that we're able to create value with a very lean team,” she said.
Supporting teams builds retention
While the company has experienced consistent growth, Howarth says she does not anticipate a surge in employee numbers. Instead, the focus is on developing and supporting existing teams, ensuring their skills are continually enhanced.
This is partly attributed to Wheaton’s strong positive retention rate and low levels of employee turnover. The company’s success in retaining talent comes from its robust culture, competitive compensation and benefits, professional development opportunities, wellness programs and initiatives designed to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, according to Howarth.
"We have a very positive retention rate, with some of our employees being with us for over 10 years because they see the benefits of working with us.”
However, the success of Wheaton Precious Metals is not solely dependent on employee retention and benefits; the business model itself plays a crucial role. Wheaton allocates a percentage of its net income to community initiatives, contributing nearly US$40 million since 2009 to social and environmental programs that align with the company’s “pillars of giving.”
“I think our employees obviously value the contributions to the community, as do the recipients of our investments and the community at large,” she said.
The benefits and challenges of having a smaller team
The small size of the Wheaton team has proven advantageous in terms of agility and efficiency, with the company being able to mobilize quickly when needed, Howarth said It also means that every team member’s contribution is vital and makes a difference.
So, the recognition for being one of the major global companies generating the most revenue per employee, validates employee efforts, she said.
“Our team knows that although they might be small in number, their efforts have really benefited the company, its shareholders and our mining partners.”
However, having a small number of employees handling crucial tasks means that many employees wear multiple hats. And having the support of Wheaton's leadership team is crucial in navigating the challenges, Howarth said.
"Our leadership wants us to have an environment that attracts the best talent, encourages innovation, and values diversity; and we are lucky to have the support of our leadership team.”