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 Equitable Bank was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Equitable Bank provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers or fathers (including adoptive parents), to 100% of salary for 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the employee
- Equitable Bank cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and helps employees save for retirement with contributions to both matching and non-matching RSP programs
- In addition to supporting a number of local and national charitable organizations each year, Equitable Bank encourages employees to give back to local communities by providing paid time off to volunteer and matching employee donations
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 28, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Equitable Bank was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- Equitable Bank continues to grow at an incredible pace, adding 89 new full-time positions in the past year (a total workforce increase of 26%)
- Equitable Bank encourages employees to become owners through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and lets everyone share in the fruits of their labour with year-end bonuses and a profit-sharing plan, also available to all
- Equitable Bank helps new grads gain valuable work experience through a 2-year Graduate Rotational Program, which features rotations in residential and commercial mortgage underwriting, internal audit and financial reporting
Equitable Bank employees are heard, loud and clear
At Equitable Bank, when employees talk, management listens. Listens - and responds, positively, to their suggestions. The Toronto-based financial institution, like many other companies, conducts annual employee surveys. But not all firms are so receptive to messages from the troops. Says Equitable President and CEO Andrew Moor: "We take feedback very seriously."
So seriously that a spate of recent increases in employee benefits can be tied directly to the survey. In the last year alone, Equitable has boosted vacation time, nearly doubled to $500 annual paramedical benefits for all employees and their family members, and instituted a 100-per-cent top-up for the first eight weeks of maternity or paternal leave. All were related to issues raised in the survey.
Says Moor: "The best person to describe the challenges of a job is the person doing the job. That sounds obvious, but it's not everyone's approach. With a workforce of just under 500 people, it's vital that everyone contributes, so we listen carefully when employees tell us something. If, for example, people are having trouble balancing their personal and business lives, then they may not be enthusiastic about their jobs. We will try to fix that - and we have."
While Equitable, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, is mostly involved with mortgages, it recently stepped up its retail efforts by offering a generous three-per-cent interest rate on savings accounts, with no monthly fees. And despite its recent rapid growth, adding some 90 positions last year alone, Equitable takes great pains to maintain a corporate culture that is welcoming and warm.
"No matter how busy they are, senior people always make time to answer your questions," says Jordan Shaw, a Senior Analyst, Corporate Development, who has received two promotions since joining the company as a contract employee in 2013. "From Day One, I was given an opportunity to prove myself, and I have never felt uncomfortable walking unannounced into an executive's office to ask a question."
Shaw came to Equitable as one of four just-graduated university students in the company's inaugural Graduate Rotational Program. For two years, students move through different corporate areas in four-month cycles. At the end, they are likely to be hired permanently if they want to stay. In Shaw's case, he never finished the program - Equitable hired him full-time after 18 months.
Since becoming a permanent employee, Shaw has helped recruit other young people to the company. "I tell them that if they work hard, show a commitment to their job and care about the company, they will have a tremendous growth opportunity," he says. "Opportunity is what this place is all about."
It's also about caring for one's community. Equitable regularly wins awards for its participation rate and fundraising totals in events such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Ride for Heart. Both Moor and Shaw prepare and serve lunches at a community food centre, where Equitable also helped that centre's parent organization secure a mortgage for more than 100 units. "It's a great leveller," says Moor. "We all help out and we all should realize that there is not that much of a gap between us and the people we are helping."
An unwritten rule that reflects Equitable's caring culture is "No Layoffs." Even though business is very slow in the Calgary office these days, with the collapse in oil prices, Equitable is shifting some Ontario work westward and B.C. work eastward to keep these employees busy and on the payroll.
Another way Equitable sustains its culture is by hiring the right people. The company gives $1,500 to employees whose referrals lead to hirings. "It used to be $1,000," says Moor, "but we increased it last year because employees told us they really like the incentive. It saves us money in recruitment, and it works. Referrals are our Number One path to finding great employees that match our culture."