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 Fidelity Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- Fidelity Canada supports employees who are new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 100% of salary for up to 17 weeks) and offers the option to extend their leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Fidelity Canada lets everyone share in the company's success with profit-sharing and offers a full suite of additional financial benefits, including signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all and referral bonuses of up to $2,000
- Employees at Fidelity Canada can take advantage of a number of alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, a shortened work week option and reduced summer hours
Fidelity invests its talent in a meritocracy
At Fidelity Canada, one of the country's top investment companies, they like feedback. To begin with, staff are encouraged to offer their ideas for improving the organization through innovation programs that give prizes for the best. One employee, for example, built a database that funneled information from several business units into the cleanest, most simplified format. His idea not only enhanced the ease of access and accuracy of the data, but improved a critical process.
"Every year it always amazes me how many great ideas the employees have," says Rob Strickland, President of Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, the major component of Fidelity's presence in Canada. "The promise we make is that we will consider every idea that's submitted."
It's also a practice that every employee meets with his or her supervisor once a week to talk about anything they feel is relevant, including any challenges they face.
And if you're in the sales force or the leadership team, you get something called a scorecard. It shows targets and other kinds of progress, such as employee engagement, and gives you quarterly feedback on how you're doing - in green, meaning good, yellow or red.
"I'm a big believer that scorecards promote employee engagement and employee satisfaction, because the contribution they make becomes very, very visible," Strickland says. "It's something they take a great deal of pride in." And for anyone trending into yellow or red territory, the company takes a positive and supportive approach, focusing on what they need to succeed. Fidelity has a philosophy of continuous learning, which gives employees the opportunity to develop and advance.
All of these tools are part of Fidelity's relentless drive for excellence, says Strickland. "We challenge our employees to be number one in whatever aspect of the business they work in," he says. "And we have all sorts of external evidence to prove we are number one in the industry in all of our capabilities, from sales to systems to customer support."
Fidelity Canada's 800-plus employees are concentrated in Toronto, but there are also offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Fidelity Investments Canada, with roughly $127 billion in assets under management, offers a broad range of mutual fund products to financial planners, investment dealers, banks and other institutions that deal directly with investors. There is also Fidelity (Canada) Asset Management ULC, which offers investment management expertise, and Fidelity Clearing Canada, which provides support services to brokerages.
The company recruits from the top universities in the country, looking for people with an interest in the investment field. "I've hired thousands of people and I've given up trying to figure out who will make a good sales person," says Strickland. Instead, the company moves people through various roles to see how they do. Some may ultimately prefer to work in product design, marketing or other areas, he notes.
Brock Dunlop, now Vice-President, Finance Business Unit Support, has been there. When he was hired in finance 16 years ago, "I did every job. Often, you move laterally before you move up."
Fidelity, he says, is "a wonderful meritocracy and a very compassionate company," He notes that it provides top-quality job training, benefits such as a generous share program, and work-life balance options that include flexible hours and work from home opportunities.
Dunlop says that although he is one of the rare people who left Fidelity, he quickly came back. "In a short time, you can sense a firm that doesn't have good engagement with its employees," he says. "What we have at Fidelity is very special."
Balance is a big investment at Fidelity
In 2013, Tamara Bassilios had reached what she describes as a crisis. She loved her work at Fidelity Canada, but with two young kids at home, she felt her life was way out of balance. She thought she would have to leave Fidelity.
"It was a very stressful time," says Bassilios, who had joined in 2004. "I felt I had to choose work or family. I really struggled with that."
Then she found out about Fidelity's reduced work week program. "I thought this might be a really good answer," she says. She tested out taking a few Fridays off, and talked to her area's senior leader. "He was very open and willing to try it," she says.
The result is that Bassilios now works a four-day, 30-hour week in her role as Manager, Business Planning, for the Advisor Sales Division, and she does it from home every Monday and every other Thursday.
"It was really life-changing for me," she says. "I feel very fortunate to be in the situation I'm in now. I am a huge advocate for these programs."
Interestingly, Bassilios's own supervisor also works from home some of the time, so the two make sure one of them is in the office on any given day. According to Diana Godfrey, Vice-President Human Resources, up to 25 per cent of Fidelity's staff work from home some of the time. There are also opportunities for part-time work and flexible hours, and each employee can choose a personal day and a volunteer day during the year.
"Flexibility is one of the things that sets us apart from our competitors," says Godfrey. "That's why we incorporated the idea of balance into our values. It's balance of a lot of things - hours, home life, career development, and long-term profitability versus short-term gains. It was so important to us that we made it one of the pillars of the business."
As part of that business, Fidelity has some 775 employees at its headquarters in Toronto, on Bay Street near Queen, in three companies. Fidelity Investments Canada, with roughly $127 billion in assets under management, offers a broad range of mutual fund products to financial planners, investment dealers, banks and other institutions that deal directly with investors. Fidelity (Canada) Asset Management ULC provides investment management expertise, and Fidelity Clearing Canada supplies clearing and custody services to brokerages.
"The largest groups of employees in Toronto are in sales and customer service, but there are also corporate functions and a small group of Canadian investment experts," says Nancy Lupi, Senior Vice-President, Human Resources. The company's global scale is a major benefit, she adds.
"One of the biggest advantages of working here is the amount of resources we put into people's development," says Lupi. "We have a huge training budget that is spent top to bottom within the organization. We also spend a lot of time with our managers, building their coaching skills so they can develop their employees. Because as we grow our employees, we grow our business."
Bassilios took advantage of those resources in her first few years at Fidelity, earning an MBA at night from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, paid for by the company. It's an example, she says, of the drive for excellence that people at Fidelity have, no matter how many hours they work. "We don't settle for average."
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 Fidelity Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2017):
- Fidelity Canada manages a dedicated 4-month student program to help students develop a wide range of professional skills -- the program includes skills development workshops, information sessions, Q&A with the President and senior executive team, opportunities to volunteer with charitable organizations Fidelity supports, opportunities to job-shadow up to three different departments and participation in sporting and social events
- Additionally, Fidelity Canada offers a generous Work Relocation Program to help students cover moving costs if relocating for a co-op placement to the organization's Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary or Montréal offices
Fidelity makes a big investment in its employees
Never underestimate the power of your network. Allyssa Wickens didn't, and it led her to an exceptional opportunity at Fidelity Canada.
Wickens was studying commerce in a co-op program at the University of Guelph. For her next co-op, she says, "I had heard great things about Fidelity Investments, so I attended their presentation on campus."
"It was clear within the first few minutes, after hearing the two speakers," she says. "Through their presentation, you could tell how passionate they were about the company. I knew then it was somewhere I wanted to work and I applied for the position."
Wickens ended up doing two consecutive four-month co-ops at Fidelity in 2015, working in the Advisor Sales Division of the global financial services company.
"In my first few days here as a co-op student, every single person I met had glowing things to say about the organization," she says, adding with a laugh: "At first I almost felt the employees were put up to it, but after being here for four months, I realized it really was a genuine emotion from everyone. This is an employer that puts a lot of value on how its people are treated, and that truly sets Fidelity apart."
Another aspect, she says, was the abundance of training Fidelity offers its co-op students. "I saw the investment they were making in their employees, and I knew this was an employer I'd like to grow with."
After her graduation in Spring 2016, Wickens joined Fidelity Investments as a Business Development Associate, working in a three-person sales team. She finds the company is always looking for feedback. "I might be in a less senior role but knowing that the company is always listening to what I have to say is empowering," she says. "The company is always evolving."
In fact, even the co-op program has evolved. Diana Godfrey, Vice President, Human Resources Services, says students are commonly told by their schools that they should try to have different work experiences at two or three companies. "We feel we benefit from having the students return," she says, "so what we've done is ask them to return to a different role. When they come back each semester, their experience is very different."
During the first co-op, as part of Fidelity's intensive training system, students learn skills for success beyond the area they are working in, such as presentation skills, business etiquette and emotional intelligence training.
"So they are well-suited to come back into a different role," she says. "We also augment their training with new information and we give them a coach. By working outside of their first division, they get more insight into the organization, and their schools are satisfied. And we learn more about them and develop a stronger relationship with them as a talent pipeline for the future."
Godfrey says Fidelity also incorporates non co-op summer students into the student program, and looks to have them return the following summer. In addition, new graduates can join the SalesPath program, which starts future sales people in Client Services where they get to speak directly to the kind of people they will later deal with. Again, training is key, she says.
The company is also looking for high-potential new grads for IT, finance and other corporate functions. As always, says Godfrey, "we're looking for the best and the brightest.