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 Raymond James Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and BC's Top Employers (2016):
- Each May, Raymond James' employees reach out to the community and volunteer with local causes as part of the annual "Raymond James Cares Month" program -- over 60 organizations were supported last year with employees receiving paid time off to volunteer and matching financial donations to their chosen charitable initiatives
- Raymond James supports employees who are new parents, providing mothers with maternity leave top-up payments as well as parental leave top-up payments for fathers and adoptive parents (to 70% of salary for 17 weeks) -- and also offers the option to extend parental leave into an unpaid leave of absence
- Raymond James maintains support for training and development through tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions and manages a dedicated network for female employees (called the "Network for Women Advisors") to help them expand their knowledge, expertise and business in a supportive, collaborative environment
'Astounding' 92% staff satisfaction at Raymond James
For Deborah Best, it would have been a deal breaker. The financial services industry veteran wanted to know how committed Raymond James Ltd. was to giving back to the community. "If the company was focused only on profits, I would not be here," says Best, its Vice President, Human Resources.
Best joined Raymond James, one of North America's leading independent full-service investment dealers, in 2012, just months after the Canadian operation established a foundation to handle burgeoning employee charitable donations. This year, staff donated some $434,000 to the Raymond James Canada Foundation.
In less than five years, the foundation has directed more than $4.8 million to some 1,000 community charities across the country. Says Best: "It is who we are. We have a culture of care. We care about our clients first, not about short-term profit margins.
"Clients who value charitable giving can turn to us for help. And our employees, who put their clients first, are the sort of people who also care about their communities."
Indeed, take Raymond James financial adviser Jay Dowhaniuk in Kelowna, B.C. Every year, he takes positive advantage of the company's charitable foundation in two ways. He contributes $2,500 of his own money to be forwarded to a charity, or charities, of his choosing, knowing that the foundation will match most of that amount. "When you can leverage Raymond James' generosity, it's a win-win," he says.
Another way Dowhaniuk leverages that generosity is by raising money in the community for a charitable event, such as the annual B.C. Ride to Conquer Cancer. Over three years, he has raised more than $30,000 for, and participated in, this two-day, 250-kilometre bicycle trek from Vancouver to Seattle. For such initiatives, the foundation matches donations up to $1,500 per employee participant and $15,000 per team.
Both Best and Dowhaniuk are also active contributors every May in the RJ Cares Month. This year staff broke all records, volunteering more than 2,200 hours and collecting some 3,750 pounds of food and more than $25,000 for food banks. (The company provides one day with pay for volunteering activities.) Such generosity has won the company an Imagine Canada citation as a Caring Company, an honour bestowed on businesses that donate at least one per cent of pre-tax profit to charity. Says Dowhaniuk: "It shows Raymond James really does care."
But altruism is not the only reason that Dowhaniuk is a happy Raymond James employee. He joined the Toronto and Vancouver-based wealth management company nearly 12 years ago from a larger financial institution and says he can't imagine going anywhere else. "This is a bottom-up organization where I have total freedom to focus on my clients' needs," he says. "I'm treated so well that I, myself, feel like a client."
For her part, Best adds that the company's client-first approach is reflected in its flat organization and "servant-leadership" approach as opposed to a top-down structure. "Our leaders serve our employees because they are the ones who serve our clients," she says.
Treating employees as valued clients has other implications. "If business circumstances change," Best says, "we go to great lengths to train people for other functions so they can stay on."
Nurturing its employees extends to generous tuition support for those who want to advance their careers along with industry-leading maternity and paternal leave for those with newborns. As a result, it's no surprise that the latest employee engagement survey recorded a 92-per-cent overall satisfaction result. "In our industry, that's incredible," says Best. "It's nothing short of astounding!"