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 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 CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- 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 luncheons, career panels, speaker series, and peer mentoring circles
- In 2015, CIBC announced a pilot partnership with Specialisterne Canada, an organization dedicated to helping individuals on the autism spectrum find meaningful employment -- to date, CIBC has hired 19 individuals through this partnership and has publicly committed to hiring 500 new team members with disabilities
- Working with the bank's Indigenous Employee Circle, CIBC created a Pathfinder program to offer peer support for new Indigenous employees -- and manages the Dream Makers program to provide Indigenous scholarship recipients with summer employment (for select students)
CIBC takes a thoughtful approach to inclusion
At CIBC, investing in the future can sometimes be kids' play. In August 2017, CIBC's Live Labs and Digital Strategy teams welcomed 30 girls aged seven to nine for a session of Girls Learning Code, part of Canada Learning Code. CIBC challenged the girls to design a marketing campaign for a brand and devise ways to connect consumers to the business.
The result? "It was so much fun!" says Ricky Chandarana, Director Digital Strategies. "Our teams got the girls' creativity flowing and we learned a lot from them as well."
Live Labs and the Digital Strategy team are part of CIBC's broader effort to enhance the client experience across all of its award-winning digital platforms. And like Canada Learning Code, a not-for-profit champion of coding and other digital skills, CIBC seeks to increase diversity in tech-focused disciplines.
Forming partnerships is, in turn, just one way CIBC demonstrates their commitment to inclusion and diversity at all levels of the organization. The Board of Directors recently endorsed a three-year strategy emphasizing the importance of inclusive leadership. The strategy is supported by the bank's Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Council, which is chaired by a member of the Executive Committee, and supported by a dedicated Inclusion and Diversity Team, as well as senior leaders across the bank.
Amy South, Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations, is one of the executive sponsors. She says that while the bank determines the overall vision and goals, different business areas face different challenges in achieving them. With input from a variety of employee volunteers and People Networks, each area develops a viable inclusion plan for its operations.
"Some remedies are more or less obvious than others," South adds. "But whether we're setting specific, measurable goals or creating a respectful and welcoming workplace, we know that diverse teams working in an inclusive environment are more innovative and make decisions that better serve the changing needs of our clients."
One area CIBC continues to improve upon is the numbers of women in senior management. With its expertise in data analytics, CIBC scrutinized its employment metrics and learned that, although women were well represented in general, their numbers dropped in some areas of middle management. South says further research has helped to identify opportunities for better gender balance across the bank.
"This is not a women's issue," says South, "this is everybody's issue." That is one of the reasons CIBC partners with non-profit Catalyst to offer its Men Advocating for Real Change (MARC) leadership training program to the bank's senior executives. Among MARC's key lessons for creating a more inclusive workplace are developing awareness and stopping practices that inhibit inclusion.
In a further step towards more inclusive leadership, CIBC board members, the global leadership team, and more than 500 senior leaders across the bank have participated in training to help disrupt unconscious bias. As a result, participants are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to help identify, challenge and adjust the behaviours that result from unintentional bias
Both initiatives, and the plans to cascade them more broadly across the bank, are aimed at furthering a culture that celebrates uniqueness and promotes belonging, says South. And even though effecting sustainable, long-term change takes time, she says people are already being more mindful of their language and personal interactions.
Chandarana, who joined CIBC two years ago, says he too, is seeing improvements in what was already a good environment. The Digital team, for instance, is testing whether blind résumés, where names aren't visible, can help remove bias from the hiring process.
"I'm very proud to be part of an organization that's so dedicated to making a difference," says Chandarana, who, like CIBC, takes the long view. "Being the dad of an infant daughter, I really look forward to opening all the doors I can for her."
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.