Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why BDC / Business Development Bank of Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017), Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (2017) and Montreal's Top Employers (2017):
- In addition to helping employees save for the future, BDC offers retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options for those nearing retirement and health benefits that extend to retirees (with no age limit)
- BDC encourages employees to find a balance between work and their personal lives with a range of alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, reduced summer hours and a shortened work week option
- BDC lets everyone share in the organization's success through a profit-sharing plan and offers a number of additional financial incentives including signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all and referral bonuses of up to $2,000
BDC helps fuel the innovation economy
Jasmin Ganie-Hobbs liked what she saw. Over 13 years ago, while working in sales in the high-tech industry in Toronto, she became acquainted with lenders at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), a federal Crown corporation that provides financing and advisory services for small- and medium-sized businesses in all industries.
"Some of my high-tech clients were also clients of BDC," she says. "We met at various business functions. After a couple of years of interacting with them and seeing BDC from the outside - how they operated and what the culture was - I thought this would be a really good place to work."
Friendly conversations led to a job offer as an entry-level account manager. Today, Ganie-Hobbs is Commercial Account Manager, Major Accounts in Toronto. In that role, she works with women entrepreneurs and high-tech businesses, personally managing 50 accounts.
"I've always had this passion for tech," she says. "I feel every day when I come to work and assist these companies that what we do here at BDC is fuelling the innovation economy and building the next generation of tech entrepreneurs."
As the only bank in Canada devoted exclusively to serving entrepreneurs, BDC has tried to adopt the mindset of its customers. "Increasingly we see ourselves as an extension of what our clients face in their businesses," says Mary Karamanos, Senior Vice President, Human Resources. "We strive to be easy to do business with. We are agile and proactive in anticipating our clients' needs, and we ensure we can respond promptly."
BDC hires account managers, as well as other financial and advisory positions at its 112 business centres across Canada. It looks for people with a solid business background; industry experience and business acumen play an important role in the selection process. "We used to focus strictly on finance and credit skills," says Karamanos, "but we now also look for employees who can work closely with clients and build relationships."
Employee retention is high. "Last year, our turnover rate was seven per cent, on a par with, or lower than, other financial institutions," says Karamanos. She credits good hiring decisions, effective on-boarding of new employees and the implementation of career development plans. "We have highly engaged employees because we provide them with not only what they need to be effective in their roles, but also what they need to learn and grow within our organization."
To welcome new hires, BDC offers various tools and activities, a dedicated section on the bank's employee portal, a welcome conference and peer coaching. "The feedback we receive from new hires is that they like to meet with other employees during their on-boarding," says Karamanos. "It is not just an information dump. We encourage them to build relationships that very quickly help them form an internal network of peers."
For their career development, employees are encouraged to have regular discussions with their managers about their long-term aspirations and how BDC can help them achieve those. "I identified my interest to management that the high-tech sector was where I wanted to be," says Ganie-Hobbs. "With the bank's support, I have been able to attend seminars, educational events and trade shows that helped me stay on top of trends in the sector. This is especially important in tech, where things change at such a rapid pace."
BDC also provides internal training. This past year, for example, Ganie-Hobbs has honed her advisory skills for BDC clients that are expanding their businesses beyond Canada. "Thanks to this training, I have been able to grow my own skill set and help clients. My next step would be a role that has me even more involved in the tech sector."