Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Through the company's "Who Wants to be a Philanthropist?" competition, Capital One offers employees the opportunity to shape the organization's charitable involvement -- participants present their charity of choice to colleagues, who vote for their favourite cause -- the charity that receives the most votes is awarded a donation of $35,000
- Capital One encourages employees to lead active, healthy lives through a variety of health and wellness initiatives, including health risk assessments and lunch and learn sessions on topics such as stress and healthy eating habits -- the company also participated in the Not Myself Today campaign to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace
- 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) -- and also offers parental leave top-up for new fathers and adoptive parents (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks, followed by 75% for an additional 6 weeks)
Bring your heart to work at Capital One Bank
Two years ago Robyn Hunt almost didn't take the job of Internal Communications Associate at Capital One Bank. Now she's happy she did.
She had been employed by public relations agencies for the previous five years, where "I wasn't doing much more than working," she says. "There was no such thing as work-life balance. I knew it was time for a change. Then I overheard someone from Capital One talking about how great their job was."
The idea of working for a bank made her nervous, however. "I thought I was way too creative and cool," she says with a laugh. But she took a chance when an opportunity came up on the bank's internal communications team and she has never looked back.
"I'm so glad I took the job. I can't believe how it has changed my life," Hunt says now. "Our team works to make sure everyone is informed, and also to inspire them to think boldly. We work with other teams so I collaborate with many different people, all the way from new hires to senior management."
"Culture is totally top of mind here, and it starts with people," says Christina McClung, Chief People Officer for Capital One, which specializes in credit cards. "We hire based on all the usual attributes -- we want people who are smart and motivated and so on -- but we also look for people who bring a lot of heart to their work.
"We're recognized for our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we know that work-life balance is important. I've stayed at Capital One because it's fantastic at realizing we have a life outside work. We can have a family and a rewarding career. There's generous time off, great benefits and we offer flexible work schedules."
Hunt has experienced the benefits of that flexibility. "I had two spine injuries a couple of years ago," she says, "and I still have to go for an appointment once a week, so I'm empowered to work one day a week from home. I have the sense that the company cares about me as a person."
Telecommuting is common at Capital One, McClung says, but employees who work in the bank's offices find they are so comfortable "that you almost feel you want to live here. Our physical space is open and collaborative, designed to inspire people to be their whole selves. And it's just going to get better at our new location."
In April 2018, Capital One will consolidate two Toronto locations in the northern part of the city into one new downtown head office at 161 Bay Street.
"It will be the cutting edge of space for collaboration," says McClung. "There will be all kinds of cool stuff: writable and magnetic walls for posting ideas, AV integrated throughout, and white-noise sound masking to allow private conversations within the open-concept environment. It's important for us that people can do their best work, so we invest to make it happen.
"Another reason I'm here," adds McClung, "is the bank is really committed to getting involved in the community. We think about how we can make a difference in a meaningful way."
One way Capital One makes a difference is with the annual Gift the Code Hackathon, in which technology teams create apps and redesign websites in support of Toronto-based charities.
Hunt worked on the hackathon last year. "It was a proud moment for me to see how many of our people volunteered to take part," she says. "The solutions that were created benefit the charities, not us, and they're open-source so anyone can use them.
"I'm having such a great time here," Hunt concludes. But can she still be creative and cool? She laughs again: "Yes, I think I can."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- Capital One hosts an entrepreneurial competition for co-op students at the end of their work term, allowing them to present their final project to a panel of executives -- additionally, students working at the company's Kitchener-Waterloo Innovation Lab have the opportunity to reimagine and develop new products and services as well as explore outside the realm of Capital One's traditional businesses
- 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 innovative project 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 manages the Canada Analyst Development Program to develop future talent in business analysis and data science -- the 12-month program features foundational training, technical skills, experiential learning, networking, mentoring and exposure to senior leaders
Capital One prides itself on flexibility and an open culture
When Becca Mintz graduated from McGill University with a commerce degree in 2009, she won job offers from several companies, including Capital One Canada. It was a tough decision and Mintz asked her father for advice before making her choice.
"He said that since I was a Millennial and people of my generation never stay in one place for more than two or three years, I might as well pick somewhere that would be fun," she recalls. "So I thought about how I felt during the recruiting process.
"I was impressed by the high-powered intellectual rigour of Capital One's approach to hiring, but in addition to that, some of the other companies made me feel I would need to behave like someone I wasn't. With the Capital One management team I was more comfortable, more at ease. I felt I could be me.
"Eight years later I'm still having fun at Capital One, and still learning and developing my skills and my career."
Mintz started out as a business analyst with the company's digital marketing team. Three promotions and a lateral transfer later, she's now Senior Business Manager in product and customer strategy, leading a team of 21 associates, eight of whom report directly to her.
"One of the most meaningful experiences for me at Capital One has been the exceptionally strong mentorship from my managers and senior leaders," she says. "I've always felt valued, and their ongoing encouragement has allowed my confidence to grow."
As well as formal and informal mentorship programs to support the growth of all associates, Capital One offers a variety of leadership development programs, encourages volunteering in the community, and provides an accommodating work environment.
This is all part of an open, collaborative culture, says Christina McClung, Chief People Officer. "The market for young talent is extraordinarily competitive. Differentiation of culture is a key component in finding the right people, over and above pay and benefits and other basic considerations. A flexible culture and work-life balance are areas we excel in.
"We understand life happens beyond our walls so we provide a great group of programs and services to help our associates live their lives, realizing they're all unique. For example, we offer telecommuting, flex work and generous time off."
With headquarters in Toronto, Capital One Canada has been operating in the credit card market for 20 years but "still feels more like a technology startup than a financial institution," McClung says. "In hiring we look for the values we were founded on: smart, driven people with a ton of heart."
One of the company's core values is giving back to the community. Mintz has experienced this first-hand. "I volunteer as a Big Sister, which requires a commitment to spend time with my little sister once a week," she says. "She's 14 now but when she had an earlier bedtime I was able to leave work early to see her. My need for flexible hours wasn't just tolerated -- it was embraced and supported."
Mintz's personal success has been recognized not only within Capital One but externally as well. In November 2017 she was named a winner in the Future Leaders category of the Canada's Most Powerful Women awards.
"I was so honoured. It was humbling and flattering not only to win the award but to be nominated by our President and Chief People Officer," she says. "The value they see in me has been exceptionally meaningful for me."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- Capital One recently launched a Women in Technology business resource group to support the company's focus on women in technology through awareness, outreach and education -- initiatives include student education and encouraging girls to explore STEM careers, entry-level recruiting, mid-tier development and executive involvement
- 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's Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee is comprised of senior leaders who work to align programs, learning and recruitment to the company's diversity and inclusion strategy -- additionally, the company maintains 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
Diversity breeds innovation at Capital One
Capital One Canada places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion because innovation depends on diversity of thought and perspective, says Christina McClung, Chief People Officer. "Our company was built on a culture of innovation and collaboration, and we've built a diverse team that reflects the communities and customers we serve."
Capital One's success is driven by the power of perspectives at the table, she says. "Culture is everything. It's more than hiring diverse people -- it also means including them in decision-making to improve our policies and procedures. We're committed to making sure people feel understood and valued, both internally and externally. All our associates know their voice is truly heard -- and matters."
Capital One takes two distinct approaches to promoting diversity and inclusion, McClung explains. One is programmatic, the other behavioural.
The programmatic approach is based on multiple Business Resource Groups (BRGs). Driven by associates but backed by the company's leadership, these BRGs work both within the organization and through outreach programs to help break down barriers and support diverse communities.
Senior Brand Associate Julia Sanges is one of the co-leads of the CapAbilities BRG Canada. She's responsible for co-developing and helping implement the group's annual strategy. "Our mission is to make sure every associate feels they belong at Capital One," Sanges says. "We welcome associates who identify with disabilities, as well as caregivers and allies, and we focus on their abilities, not disabilities.
"For family reasons, I have a strong passion to spread awareness and provide support for people impacted by Down syndrome. Not long after I joined the bank in July 2016, I casually mentioned my passion to a colleague. That's when I learned about the CapAbilities BRG, which existed in some of our U.S. locations. I helped launch it in Canada, and now I get a voice in the room -- I feel so encouraged by this," says Sanges, who works at the company's Toronto headquarters.
In addition to the CapAbilities BRG, Capital One Canada has an Asian BRG, an LGBTQ+ BRG and a Women in Technology BRG.
Referring to that last group, which now has close to 50 members, McClung says, "It's no surprise that even today women face many barriers getting into the tech industry. The number of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] majors has increased but it's still low. We recognize this gap and invest in programs that help bridge it. In fact, more than 50 per cent of our workforce are women."
The behavioural approach to encouraging diversity and inclusion is multi-faceted. "For example, we spend time creating a positive onboarding experience, so people feel they fit in from the very start," says McClung. "We offer them a culture of appreciation where they can feel safe and share their stories."
Other initiatives include "Not Myself Today" and a newly launched BRG called "1 in 5," both in support of mental health in the workplace. "We want our people to know we foster a safe and supportive work environment for those who may be affected by mental health issues or the challenges associated with mental wellbeing," McClung says.
For her part, Sanges has been involved not only in the CapAbilities BRG but also in a related project with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital: the FIRST Robotics Program, a partnership with the charity FIRST Robotics Canada which encourages young people in rehab to grow in STEM by building and coding robots.
Capital One also collaborates with Holland Bloorview in Youth@Work, which helps young people with physical or developmental disabilities who are entering the workplace for the first time. Through this program, four interns worked at the bank last summer, boosting their confidence and providing them with invaluable work experience.
"Our passions are really valued here," says Sanges. "It's very inspiring and I haven't seen these types of opportunities at other companies I've worked for. We can have a great career, follow our interests and truly make a difference."