Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 11, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Employees working at Capital One's head office can take advantage of several onsite amenities including a cafeteria with subsidized meals, a nap room, an employee lounge (fully stocked with video games, a foosball table and a ping-pong table) and shared access to an onsite fitness facility
- Capital One helps employees balance work and their personal lives with 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance and up to 15 paid personal days off, which can be scheduled at employees' discretion
- Capital One supports employees who are new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments, to 100% of salary for the first 6 weeks, followed by 75% for 20 weeks
Capital One sometimes seems more like a tech firm
Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) is sometimes referred to as Toronto's secret sauce, says Christina McClung, Chief People Officer for the financial services company, because most people don't know what a great place it is to work until they're actually hired.
That was certainly the case for John Cavan, Senior Manager of Software Engineering in Capital One's Toronto Software Studio. Cavan joined the company about 18 months ago, and he's already in love. "This is easily, without reservation, the best place I've ever worked," he says. "And a lot of it has to do with the opportunities the company makes available."
Opportunities like Gift the Code, a charity Hackathon run by Capital One in October that brought together 140 participants over 40 hours one weekend to solve technology challenges faced by six Toronto-based charities. "It was a huge success," says Cavan, "and a real opportunity for us to get out there in the technology community and encourage that social engagement."
The event captured two of Capital One's core values: innovation and giving back to the community. "We don't want to be just a company that resides in Toronto," says McClung. "We want to be part of Toronto."
Cavan originally pitched the idea for the hackathon to Capital One executives, and they quickly gave it the green light. "When I talk to potential candidates," says the veteran of two software startups, "I like to talk about the way we encourage people to experiment and try new things."
The company holds Innovation Days once or twice a quarter, when associates come together during work hours to brainstorm new products or services for customers. And taking a page from the well-known TED Talks lectures, Capital One presents the C1 Tech Series, which often features technology leaders from inside the company.
The suggested donation for the talks goes back into the community, benefiting charities like Princess Margaret Hospital and the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The brand is also actively involved in programs like Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Beyond the Code, an annual, one-day technology conference in Toronto that's aimed at attracting diverse groups into the field.
Capital One has worked hard to develop a creative, collaborative culture that defies many people's expectations of a bank. "We're really bringing in a diversity of experience and background, and emphasizing our values of excellence and do the right thing," says McClung. "We try to instil in our associates that every voice matters, no matter where you've been."
In some respects, the corporate culture is more akin to a technology firm. Associates at Capital One's head office near North York's Mel Lastman Square can take advantage of several onsite amenities, including a cafeteria with subsidized meals and a barista, and a lounge with a foosball table and a 60-inch TV. To keep folks feeling fit and comfortable, everyone has a sit-stand desk, and there is access to a fitness facility onsite. "We like people to be able to unwind," says Cavan, "even during the course of the day."
Where the resemblance to a tech firm ends, he adds, is with the work-life balance. New associates start with three weeks of vacation and up to 15 paid personal days, which can be scheduled at the employee's discretion. Capital One also supports associates who are new mothers with maternity and parental leave top-up payments that bring incomes to 100 per cent of salary for the first six weeks, followed by 75 per cent for 20 weeks. It also offers competitive parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents.
"We're one of the top companies for working moms," says McClung. "We want people to be able to feel comfortable and feel this is a place where they can be themselves and bring their whole selves to work."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 9, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- Capital One maintains an 18-month Finance Rotation Program which includes rotations in areas such as accounting and treasury, corporate planning and line-of-business finance -- participants may also be eligible for an international rotation to continue their development abroad
- Capital One exposes new analysts to marketing strategy, product development, risk management and corporate strategy through its Canada Analyst Development program -- the 12-month initiative features job-specific training, participation in a business case, two distinct job experiences and various leadership opportunities
- Capital One encourages employees to harness their creativity through 48-hour "Innovation Days" which allow employees to break from their regular jobs and work in teams on an innovation that interests them -- ideas are presented to a panel of judges and prizes are awarded to winners, with some ideas implemented in the company
Capital One: Where community and personal development collide
Sara Rodier was standing in the middle of the room last October during Gift the Code, a charity "hackathon" run by the Canadian branch of Capital One Bank. As the 30-year-old Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for Capital One Canada scanned the crowd, she noticed a man in a red hoodie giving participants directions and answering questions. She realized right away it was Capital One Canada President Shane Holdaway - and she felt a little flush of pride.
"I really value the importance that Capital One places on giving back to the community, and our leadership sets the tone from the top," says Rodier. "They provide great opportunities for young people to make an impact."
Gift the Code brought together more than 140 participants for 40 hours one weekend last fall to solve technology challenges faced by six Toronto-based charities. It's expected to become an annual event, and is only one of the many ways the financial services firm gives back. According to a national survey, 81 per cent of young Canadians want to work for an employer that contributes to the community, says Chief People Officer Christina McClung.
"That's something that perfectly aligns with our values," she adds.
"We want to recruit people who are cause motivated and want to support various impacts - and not all on their own time."
Capital One associates are encouraged to do volunteer work on company time - a fact that sets it apart from many other companies, says McClung. Some choose to get involved in company-supported causes, like Gift the Code or the Enactus World Cup, an international competition that challenges post-secondary students to create entrepreneurial ventures that improve the world. Associates also have the chance to promote the charity of their choice each year through the Who Wants to Be a Philanthropist pitch competition. Associates across the organization cast their votes, and the company donates $35,000 to the winning charity, $25,000 to the runner-up, and $10,000 to the third-pace finisher.
When it comes to talent, Capital One's entire approach is to hire smart people and empower them to do their best work, says Rodier. To help them find their passion, it offers a number of 12- to 18-month rotational programs that give new recruits the opportunity to work in a variety of areas within the company. The 18-month Finance Rotation Program, for example, includes two stints in sectors such as accounting and treasury, corporate planning, and line-of-business finance. Program participants may also be eligible to participate in a rotation outside of their home country.
Once they've discovered their niche, there are mentorship opportunities that match new associates with a mentor who can help them thrive in their careers. "We're really focused on supporting growth and development," says McClung.
Capital One's culture also emphasizes innovation. Every quarter, it offers Innovation Days to help unleash the creativity of its associates. The 48-hour events allow them to break away from their regular jobs and work in teams on a new product or service. Ideas are presented to a panel of judges and prizes are awarded to the winners.
Even the open, contemporary design of the company's Toronto office is engineered to inspire communication, collaboration and creativity. It comes complete with a range of amenities, including a cafeteria with subsidized meals and a barista, and a lounge with a foosball table and a 60-inch TV.
And because active minds depend on healthy bodies, every associate has a sit-stand desk, access to an on-site fitness facility and a very competitive benefits package. Work-life balance is actually considered a business priority, says Rodier. "It's a place where you come into work, but you don't feel it's like work," she adds. "And that's when you know you've hit the jackpot."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- Capital One created a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, comprised of senior leaders who work to align programs, learning and recruitment to the company's diversity and inclusion strategy -- additionally, the company recently launched a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from the diversity and inclusion team, support groups, associate network leads and diversity and inclusion champions from each line of business
- Capital One offers training on a variety of topics including unconscious bias awareness and inclusive leadership (depending on employee) -- and also maintains a digital learning library which features materials to facilitate diversity workshops, information on best practices and recommendations for external speakers on related diversity topics
- Capital One recently hosted a career day for students of the Triangle Program (an LGBT high school in Toronto), providing opportunities for students to learn about the company's interview process and hear from a senior LGBT associate
At Capital One, inclusive culture drives innovation
Even as an economics student at McGill University, Alex Severance saw banks as conservative, stuffy institutions: not necessarily the best place for a young, gay man. That perception quickly vanished three years ago when Severance, a Senior Business Analyst at Capital One Canada, arrived for his first day on the job with the Toronto-based financial services firm. His team included co-workers with Iranian, Korean and Swedish roots.
"It completely shattered any latent fear I had of having to go back in the closet at work," he says. "And over the past three years, I've seen a very deliberate commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusion at Capital One."
By reflecting the community in its associates, the company believes it can better understand its customers. "Our goal is to create the best experiences for our associates and our customers," says Chief People Officer Christina McClung, "and it has to begin with an inclusive culture where every voice is heard and matters. It's not only the right thing to do, but it's ingrained in our culture."
That commitment begins at the very top. Capital One's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee is made up of senior leaders who work to align programs, learning and recruitment to the company's diversity and inclusion strategy. In addition, the company recently launched a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, comprising representatives from the diversity and inclusion team, support groups, Business Resource Group leads, and diversity champions from each line of business.
Capital One offers training on a variety of diversity and inclusion topics, including unconscious bias awareness and inclusive leadership. And its Diversity and Inclusion Digital Learning Library includes materials for diversity workshops, a wealth of information on best practices, and recommendations for external speakers on diversity topics. Pulse, the company's internal online network, frequently features profiles of associates from diverse backgrounds.
Capital One's inclusive culture also drives its continual effort to give associates the support and opportunity they need to let their talent shine. Its Business Resource Groups (BRGs) were originally established to give associates from diverse communities the chance to network and share knowledge through a variety of programs, resources and tools. The resource groups include the Asian BRG, LGBTQ+ BRG, Women in Technology BRG, and the Capabilities BRG.
"Business resource groups are also tapped by HR for their perspective when developing or updating internal policies to ensure every voice is heard and valued," says McClung. Increasingly, the BRGs are also playing a key role in Capital One's dynamic corporate social responsibility program by participating in community events to help groups in need.
In the past, Capital One has hosted a career day for Toronto students enrolled in a program for LGBTQ young people. Students learned about the company's interview process and listened to a presentation from a senior LGBTQ+ associate, who discussed his experiences in the workplace and answered student questions. Capital One has also provided grants to assist the school's lunch program and to help equip its digital learning lab.
"We're much more than a financial services provider - we're a participant in the community," says Severance, who serves as co-lead of the LGBTQ+ BRG. "I think that's pretty powerful."
Capital One's dedication to diversity is based on the principle that individual perspectives are shaped by our unique experiences and differences, says McClung. "Having the freedom to bring our uniqueness to the table is when true innovation happens," she observes, "and that's when we bring our best self as an organization to our customers."