Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019), Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (2019) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2019), Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (2019) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Along with helping employees save for the future, CIBC provides retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options for those nearing retirement and retiring employees also enjoy peace of mind and may stay enrolled in the bank's health benefits plan with (with shared premiums) and no age eligibility limit -- the bank also maintains a Retiree Advisory Committee, which aims to represent retirees' views on issues affecting them and provide input on policy review and development
- CIBC is in the midst of constructing a new global head office, aptly named CIBC Square -- the Toronto facility will be home to 14,000 employees and will feature collaborative meeting areas, a conference centre, an acre of green space, onsite fitness facility, and various dining options including casual and market-style eateries as well as white tablecloth dining
- CIBC regularly celebrates exceptional performance through the Achievers program, which allows employees to send informal e-cards and nominate peers for quarterly awards -- the bank also maintains an annual awards program and hosts award recipients (with a guest) at the annual conference of top performers (previous events hosted in Hawaii as well as a private charter cruise)
CIBC banks on choice, flexibility and inclusion
Susannah Gouinlock never pictured herself working for a bank. After all, her career started in government and the non-profit sector. But a year ago she jumped at the chance to join CIBC as a Senior Consultant in Human Resources, focusing on the employee experience within the design of the bank's new head office building - CIBC Square - in downtown Toronto.
"I definitely didn't know that CIBC was a place where I could have such a positive contribution in community-building," says Gouinlock. "Even though I don't have a typical banker's background, it's a place where I've discovered I can grow and develop. The people and the culture are helping me to learn and thrive."
Prior to joining CIBC, Gouinlock worked for a non-profit organization that advocated for a greater presence for women in the business world. It was her mentor, an executive at CIBC, who helped her to see how her skills were transferable to her current role at the bank. And how her personal passion for diversity and inclusion was tailor-made for the corporate culture at CIBC.
"We're creating a workplace where every person can succeed, where there's choice and flexibility," she says. "One of the priorities for CIBC Square is to ensure that the building is barrier-free and designed to promote inclusion, so everyone can feel they belong."
Being part of the CIBC Square Project Team has given her an opportunity to work with senior leaders at the bank and to make an impact. "Right from the start, I was a trusted advisor and have been given increasing responsibilities," says Gouinlock. "I was attending high-level sessions and contributing to important decisions, and it made me feel that I was a valued contributor."
Dominique Barker has an entirely different role at CIBC, but her experience also speaks to the bank's inclusive culture. She is a Vice-President with CIBC's Global Asset Management group and has a degree in environmental engineering, an MBA in accounting and several financial certifications. She joined CIBC eight years ago after taking time to start a family.
Dominique is passionate about her job and about making the world a better place. She is part of a team making decisions about where and how to invest funds entrusted by retail clients. "Every day is different, every day I'm learning something new," says Barker. "CIBC truly fosters collaboration, teamwork and community-building in everything we do."
She is proud of the fact that inclusion is part of the organization's strength. "We are all intellectually curious and invite dissenting opinions but we work as one team," she says. "Ideally, this diversity of thought means we're making better investment decisions, which benefits our clients."
CIBC has recognized that some clients want their bank to consider environmental and social issues, and Barker is part of a team that has helped the bank to adopt the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. "Acting responsibly extends into our communities through our relationship with clients," Barker says. "We're asking companies tough questions about things like how they deal with waste and how they treat their employees. We're taking these things into account when making investment decisions."
Extending community-building beyond the workplace is one way that a major institution like CIBC can have a positive impact and, for Barker, it is personally gratifying. "It's extremely exciting that the bank is thinking like this," she says. "It's the right thing to do for the world. At CIBC I'm coming full circle and fulfilling the initial dreams and goals I had as an engineering student."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 17, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
- CIBC is a founding partner of NPower Canada, which helps young adults pursue careers in technology -- NPower supports students who have household incomes well below the poverty line, are precariously housed, are visible minorities or face multiple barriers to accessing meaningful employment, and offers an extensive 5- to 6-month program that includes classroom work, professional mentoring, and internship and job placement support
- CIBC offers a number of rotational career programs in a variety of areas, including a Risk Management Development Program, a Commercial Banking Associate Program, a Human Resources Development Program, a Graduates Matter Rotation Program for students in their final year of study for an MBA or related program and a new Quantitative Associate Rotational Program
- The bank hosts "Think Tanks" and "Thought Forums" to provide new talent with unique ways of demonstrating their skills -- Thought Forum participants are given a case study and work in groups to showcase creativity, critical thinking and collaboration
CIBC banks on a creative, client-focused culture
When Sarah Murphy landed a job as a CIBC summer student two years ago, it was not what she expected. She had definite preconceptions of what a career in banking was going to be like - buttoned down, conservative, hierarchical. But her summer experience was the opposite - creative, client-focused and agile. In fact, she enjoyed it so much that once she graduated last June, she was eager to accept a position at CIBC as a Commercial Banking Associate. "It's been a great fit for me," she says.
From the hundreds of summer students hired by CIBC each year, Murphy was selected as one of 15 for the bank's SWAT program. SWAT participants spend part of their time working on agile, project-based teams applying their creative problem-solving skills to current, real-life business challenges. Students receive mentorship from senior leaders while collaborating with other students across the bank to come up with innovative solutions. At the end of the summer, the SWAT teams pitch their recommendations to a panel of senior leaders - similar to a "Dragon's Den" scenario.
"It was a challenging assignment," says Murphy. "But we prepared ourselves well. We had the opportunity to really delve into the challenge and worked throughout the summer to research and collaborate on a solution."
As well as gaining exposure to different areas of the bank, the SWAT students also met with CIBC President and Chief Executive Officer Victor G. Dodig, who shared his views on leadership, the future direction of CIBC and how its client-focused culture is transforming every area of the bank. "It was a great discussion, and it definitely opened my eyes to the many opportunities," she says. "It gave me insight to how my skills and interests would mesh well at CIBC."
As a new graduate and CIBC commercial banking associate, Murphy is now learning all aspects of the business - client relationships, treasury diagnostics, and credit writing, among other things. "It is a tremendous opportunity for somebody who is straight out of school," she says. "The bank is really investing in my future."
CIBC takes a multi-disciplinary approach to student employment and hires young people working on degrees in a variety of disciplines, including liberal arts and the humanities as well as business and engineering programs. CIBC also has a rotational placement program that provides opportunities for new graduates to gain work experience in client-focused roles across various areas of banking including digital innovation, data analytics and product management.
Christopher Madan, CIBC's Vice-President of Marketing and Client Offers, is a strong supporter of these programs. "I was campus recruited and started in the graduate placement program after completing an MBA," he says. "The two-year rotational assignments were invaluable to my career journey."
In 2017, he was the executive lead for one of the SWAT teams working on a solution to a business challenge in his department. And, this past summer, he served as a judge on the review panel that assessed the students' proposed solutions.
CIBC also sponsors 10 employee resource groups, or people networks, including the NextGen Network, which is open to all employees, but primarily attracts younger professionals from across the bank. "CIBC is committed to a culture of belonging and has lots of programs in place to bring this commitment to life," says Madan.
Groups like NextGen provide a forum for colleagues across the bank to connect at business and social events throughout the year. As well, NextGen promotes CIBC's commitment to giving back to the communities it serves. It provides members with opportunities to participate in organized fundraising events and to make a real difference by devoting their time and energy to a number of worthy causes. "It really makes a difference in the lives of young people to feel connected and that we belong," Murphy says.
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 28, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- CIBC partnered with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund to create a Legacy Room at the company's head office in order to provide a space for employees to learn about reconciliation and the legacy of residential schools
- CIBC created action plans to improve the gender balance of women in leadership roles and manages a dedicated Women's Network with over 3,000 members spanning chapters across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom -- the network delivers a variety of professional programming such as speed networking, career panels and speaker series
- In 2017, CIBC committed to hiring 500 new team members with disabilities through partnerships with organizations such as Lime Connect, Magnet and Specialisterne Canada -- at the end of the year, the bank had hired 559 new team members with disabilities and aims to achieve similar results for future years
CIBC leverages Indigenous storytelling to promote inclusion
Lisa Flynn, a Labrador Inuit, had never considered a career in banking. Upon graduating from university with a teaching degree, she started work with a non-governmental organization that raised money for bursaries and scholarships for Indigenous students. She first learned of the inclusive culture at CIBC through a former colleague who spoke highly of the bank after landing a position there.
It was such high praise that Flynn decided to make the move as well. Since joining CIBC almost four years ago, and now an Operations Coordinator and member of the Risk Management team, she feels like she belongs at CIBC.
"One of my team's fundamental principles is to bring your whole self to work and be comfortable with who you are. For Indigenous people that's not always easy," says Flynn.
Shortly after joining the bank, Flynn became a member of the Indigenous Employees Circle, one of 10 CIBC People Networks that work to engage and connect employees with opportunities for professional development. "Usually, you don't see too many Indigenous people in the corporate world. It was really beautiful coming into CIBC and joining a group of people with similar backgrounds and experiences," Flynn says.
The People Networks at CIBC bring together various communities and their allies. Support for these groups comes from the top of the organization in the form of the Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council (IDLC) which is comprised of senior leaders from all areas of the bank.
"Embedding inclusion and diversity into everything we do is critical," says Grant Rasmussen, IDLC member and Managing Director, Global Distribution, for CIBC Capital Markets. "It's good for business and it's good for society. It's important for employees and clients of different backgrounds to feel that they are part of the fabric of our bank."
Alongside members of the Indigenous Employees Circle, the IDLC participated in a Blanket Exercise, an activity that uses the power of storytelling to raise awareness of the history of the land where CIBC operates in Canada. The facilitators of the exercise lay blankets on the floor and participants remove their shoes and stand on the blankets. As they do, narrators recount moments from across 400 years of Canadian history, including the sensitive topics of colonization, disease, residential schools and the Sixties Scoop. The blankets represent the lands traditionally occupied by Indigenous peoples and participants indirectly experience the systemic effects of exclusion.
"I had never heard much of what was explained during the Blanket Exercise," says Rasmussen. "It helped me to understand why some Indigenous employees don't feel comfortable disclosing their identity to colleagues. As a leader, it allows you to be much more empathetic and compassionate." The Blanket Exercise made such an impact that CIBC hosted a second session with the bank's most senior leadership team.
CIBC also recognizes National Indigenous Peoples Day annually by celebrating what is important to the bank's Indigenous employees and clients. The bank has endeavoured to increase opportunities for Indigenous people through strategic partnerships, sponsorships and investments with Indspire, Magnet and the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. As well, CIBC is consulting with Indigenous employees as it develops CIBC Square - its new head office complex in Toronto - in order to further promote a sense of belonging for all of CIBC's team members.