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 CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017), Ten Best Companies to Work For (2016), Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (2017) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- CIBC offers a number of alternative work arrangements to help employees balance their personal and professional lives and manages a formal "CIBC@Work" program to help employees design work schedules that suit their individual needs
- CIBC provides a number of communication and feedback tools to keep employees up to date and capture feedback, from the "Amazing Ideas" initiative that lets employees share and discuss ideas with colleagues on the company's intranet, to the intranet-based "Newsfeed", allowing employees to share photos and updates within an internal social network
- In addition to helping employees save for the future, CIBC maintains a "Retiree Advisory Committee" which represents the views of the bank's retirees on issues affecting them, provides input on communications to retirees and on policy review and development
CIBC takes the lead in digital banking
It's become a truism that the staid old banking industry is ripe for disruption by agile young fintech upstarts, but dig a little deeper and the situation turns out to be far more complex. Big banks like CIBC are proving themselves adept at innovation in ways that allow them to serve their clients better while attracting top financial technology talent. What's more, they've been at it for some time.
It was years ago, for example, that CIBC made it possible for clients to deposit digital cheques simply by snapping a smartphone photo of that relic of paper payments past. Since then the bank has, among other things, introduced its CIBC Tim Hortons Double Double Visa, which is both a Visa and a Tim's card all in one; rolled out a no-fee CIBC Global Money Transfer service; and brought Apple Pay to its clients.
"We look at disruption as an opportunity," says Todd Roberts, Senior Vice President of Innovation. "Partnership is a key part of our success going forward."
Another example of a CIBC partnership is the one it has forged with Thinking Capital, an independent fintech company known for its innovative financing solutions. CIBC small business clients can get fast and simple loans of $5,000 to $300,000 in as little as 24 hours with an online application that takes minutes.
As a consultant on CIBC's Digital Strategy and Innovation team, Courtney Campbell says she "gets to work on projects that seem really far out there but in reality are just around the corner." She delves into topics like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, biometrics, 360 videos, the role of voice - "things Facebook and Google are doing."
When Apple introduced its fingerprint reader, Campbell says, CIBC jumped on board and used the new technology to enable clients to sign on quickly to their banking apps. "To succeed in this space, we have to be smart and move fast," she says. "It's rewarding to see a project become a reality in the marketplace so quickly."
Campbell works with different partners across the bank as well as with CIBC Live Labs, which she describes as a kind of in-house think tank. The Live Labs innovation and digital technology centre is located in Toronto's MaRS Discovery District. "We challenge ourselves to see the world through the eyes of the client, then build and test our way to success," proclaims the Live Labs website.
CIBC Live Labs and its digital team have diverse skillsets. Campbell isn't an engineer or a coder nor did she work in financial services before joining CIBC last year. Her background is strategy consulting and brand management, and she brings those insights and recommendations to the team. "I'm always asking what clients need," she says. "Our clients are the boss."
Roberts emphasizes that as CIBC tries to make its clients' everyday lives easier, it competes not just with banks but with companies in other industries who are providing "outstanding client experiences." CIBC clients used to getting Amazon-level service, for example, expect the same kind of stress-free interaction with their banks.
To deliver client experiences that are "best in class on a global stage," Roberts says it's necessary to foster a fast-moving, innovative culture for employees. For those with engineering and technological backgrounds, he says, "we are a very interesting place for developing deep skills in financial services."
The digital team also enjoys a common tech company perk, the casual dress code. "I'm wearing jeans and a Blue Jays shirt," said Campbell on the day the playoffs began. "It wouldn't surprise me if my VPs are wearing Blue Jays gear too."
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 CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- CIBC manages a comprehensive co-op program featuring lunch and learn workshops, coaching, mentoring, social events to help students across the organization connect and one-on-one career development sessions, which include resume and cover letter review -- in the past year, CIBC also partnered with MaRs Discovery District to create an innovation lab where a small team of co-op students and developers helped create the bank's Apple Watch mobile banking app
- CIBC manages a Risk Management Development Program for students completing their final year of study in business administration or a related program -- the 2-year program includes four 6-month rotations in market, credit and operational risk
- Additionally, CIBC offers a number of rotational programs in a variety of areas including a Commercial Banking Associate Program, a Human Resources Development Program and a Graduates Matter Rotation Program for students in their final year of study for a Masters of Business Administration or related program
- CIBC and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation issued a fundraising challenge to encourage college and university students to learn about breast health and support the cause
CIBC banks on attracting top talent early
For his undergraduate degree, Jonathan Vukson studied international business at five schools in four countries on three continents. Summers, he worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources fighting forest fires. Then, when he graduated, he went into banking at CIBC.
If that seems incongruous, it's not. "The banking industry as a whole is changing fast," explains Vukson. Word's gotten around about how CIBC is innovating with fintechs, how it's a leader in digital, and how it offers a collaborative and inclusive workplace environment that appeals to younger employees.
Vukson was hired by CIBC as part of a rotation program for Risk Management Development Program analysts. Now in his third rotation, he's on the frontlines learning how to create an excellent experience with credit-seeking clients. He spent his second rotation in credit risk, number crunching, and his first, in retail risk.
Vukson is grateful for the training and opportunities available at CIBC, including a "hackathon" at CIBC Live Labs and a "mindfulness" session that went beyond traditional leadership methods. "It was not just a professional benefit," he says, "but also a great balance of work and life."
As CIBC strives to attract and retain top young talent, rotation programs like Vukson's are playing a key role. The bank wants job-seekers to be aware of the many different opportunities an institution like CIBC can offer ambitious young professionals.
The bank especially wants to nab talent early in the digital field. In recent years, CIBC has beefed up its co-op programs with universities and colleges. If a student proves a good fit on a co-op stint, CIBC will make them an offer even if they might not join full-time for two or three years.
Aayaz Pira, Senior Vice President, Digital, says that when those future employees return to school they serve as "brand ambassadors" for CIBC and "nodes for talent attraction", spreading the word about opportunities at the bank.
Genevieve Neal-Ellis discovered CIBC through traditional campus recruiting. Impressed by the bank's opportunities for women as well as CIBC's commitment to investing in communities and causes she cares about - CIBC Run for the Cure and United Way, for example - she accepted a summer position in corporate banking in 2011 and then an offer to return full-time the following year once her schooling was done.
She now works with the securitization group, providing financing to large corporations and financial companies. After two years she was promoted from analyst to associate. "Every day is very different," she says. "I might meet with clients one day, and then the next might be very analytical work."
Both she and Vukson are involved with different professional networks in the bank. He joined its Indigenous Employees Circle where, he explains, "we use an Indigenous lens to look at leadership in a corporate setting."
Neal-Ellis participated in CIBC's Capital Markets Analysts and Associates leadership program for women and is now part of Women in Capital Markets, a membership paid for by CIBC. In addition, she co-chairs CIBC's GenNext team, which encourages young professionals to get involved with the United Way and mentor individuals at its agencies.
Pira emphasizes that the type of talent that the bank is looking for now and the way it develops people is as different today as is the nature of banking itself. "More than 80 per cent of our client's transactions occur in our digital channels," he says. He expects future leaders of CIBC may well come from its digital operations. "You can build a really great career at our bank if you're ambitious and have the right skill set and attitudes."
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 CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- CIBC created gender balance action plans to improve the gender balance of women in leadership roles for each of the bank's seven business units, and recently updated its Board of Directors goal for the representation of women to no less than 30%
- In 2015, CIBC announced a pilot partnership with Specialisterne Canada, an organization dedicated to helping individuals on the autism spectrum find meaningful employment -- to date, CIBC has hired eight individuals for roles in risk management and technology -- CIBC also maintains "WorkAbility", an employee network for persons with disabilities, and in partnership with the bank's technology advisory committee, organizes an annual Assistive Technology Showcase to highlight community partners and technologies to assist persons with physical and non-physical disabilities
- In partnership with Pride at Work Canada, CIBC established an internal organizational standard to help create a positive employee experience when trans-identified employees transition in the workplace -- the bank also updated its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to explicitly indicate that gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds
"I arrived in Canada from India in May of last year. I felt very isolated being in a new place. I was applying for jobs and heard nothing, there were no replies. After months of unanswered applications, I became associated with The Mentoring Partnership (TMP). With coaching from my mentor from CIBC, I connected with potential employers and was soon able to join CIBC. I went from knowing no one in Canada to finding one person who believed in me and shortly after a whole organization that believes in me." Ruchika Singhal, Sourcing Associate, Talent Acquisition
CIBC focuses on hiring people with disabilities
As CIBC aims to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of its clients, one of this year's goals is to hire 500 disabled Canadians and really "move the dial," says Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer. "We've been focusing on diversity and inclusion for quite some time but when we looked at the representation of persons with disabilities within our team, we believed we could do better."
Given that CIBC uses metrics throughout its financial services businesses, setting a quantifiable goal made sense. "This is not just aspirational but good for our business and something we will work to deliver," says Dottori-Attanasio, who is also the bank's Executive Champion for Diversity and Inclusion.
In a recent poll on employment commissioned by CIBC, less than 40 per cent of respondents with a disability reported having a full or part-time job. The poll also revealed that one in four felt their most recent role did not leverage their qualifications well.
Dottori-Attanasio hopes the poll will spur discussion about "barriers to employment and how we can go about removing them. If we can shine a light on this, it should help address some of the biases out there." The poll helped to kick off a broader partnership between CIBC and Magnet, an online employment network that matches employers with a pipeline of diverse talent.
Since 2015, CIBC has also partnered with Specialisterne Canada to hire employees on the autism spectrum. David Francis, a Measurement Specialist in IT Risk Standards and Governance, was one of the first wave of CIBC recruits.
Diagnosed in his mid-twenties with high-functioning autism, Francis has a bachelor's degree and postgraduate certificate in human resources, but had been struggling to find permanent full-time work. "Nobody was willing to give me a chance," he says.
That changed when he teamed up with Specialisterne, whose services include evaluating the skill sets of job candidates, support for new recruits, and education and awareness training for the employer's staff to help ensure a smooth transition.
When Francis started at CIBC, he was thrilled to be done with the stresses of contract and casual work. "I have set hours, a real routine. I take the train to work," he says. "I seem to have really clicked with the governance and compliance side of my role here."
Francis has also been given additional responsibilities since starting with CIBC. "This is not just a job. I can now see a career path with the possibility of taking on other roles in the bank," he says.
While CIBC encourages openness to allow employees with autism and their colleagues to work together, the level of transparency varies according to the individual's needs. "I don't self- identify all the time to everyone," says Francis. "I choose who I feel I need to tell."
From a business perspective, says Dottori-Attanasio, the decision to hire employees with autism is a sound one. She tells the story of a CIBC manager who was initially skeptical but then found herself impressed with the performance of the new hires. She's now an enthusiastic promoter.
As for Francis, when asked almost a year and a half after his hiring, if there's anything he would especially like others to know, he answers: "I really want to say how appreciative I am of CIBC for taking me on and giving me opportunities. They do genuinely care."