Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2018), Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (2018) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Along with helping employees save for the future, CIBC provides retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options for those nearing retirement -- and maintains a Retiree Advisory Committee, which aims to represent retirees' views on issues affecting them, and provide input on policy review and development
- Through the Flexibility@CIBC and CIBC@Work programs, the bank offers options designed to provide employees a choice in when and how they work through the integration of space, technology and work arrangements
- A recognized community leader, CIBC and its employees contributed over $65 million to charitable and community causes across Canada last year -- and, as part of its matching donations program, the bank encourages employees and retirees to volunteer for initiatives that are important to them through the Employee Volunteer Grants program
CIBC employees bank on innovation to serve clients
Before Emily Kok joined CIBC in June 2013, she had never considered working for a financial services institution. Kok was working in digital marketing for a well-known Canadian retailer when a former classmate from the Business Administration program at Wilfrid Laurier University got in touch. CIBC is a great place to work, he told her, and his employer had an opening she should consider.
Curiosity gave way to enthusiasm as Kok interviewed for a consultant position on the CIBC Digital Strategy team. She got the job and has never looked back, thanks to CIBC's commitment to being the bank of the future.
The CIBC Digital Strategy team looks to create engaging client experiences by enhancing CIBC's digital platforms.
"It's a continuous cycle," says Kok, now a Senior Manager. "We try to make ongoing improvements to our digital features and capabilities based on feedback from our clients."
CIBC was the first Canadian financial institution to make the three leading mobile wallets -- Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay -- available to its clients. It's also moving beyond transactions, helping mobile banking clients get a clear picture of their overall finances with new features like a Free Credit Scores service and Travel Tools, an in-app feature for calculating how much a CIBC Visa card purchase will cost in Canadian dollars when travelling abroad.
The bank has earned numerous kudos and awards for its digital innovations. "The purpose of technological inventiveness is to make clients' everyday lives a little easier,"
says Veni Iozzo, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. "We encourage client-first thinking in everything we do. And we embrace innovation to meet the evolving needs of our clients and give them options to bank where, when and how they want."
Iozzo knows all about innovation. She's held a variety of roles within CIBC and spearheaded numerous game-changing initiatives, from introducing new financial products and services that impacted the entire industry to developing campaigns to deepen client relationships.
Her latest venture is leading the team responsible for the evolution of CIBC's workplace strategy, including the move to the bank's new global headquarters, CIBC Square. In June, CIBC broke ground in downtown Toronto for a new state-of-the-art urban campus where some 15,000 CIBC employees will work. "This is a multi-year, enterprise-wide transformative project that will create a truly modern work environment to enhance collaboration and innovation for our clients," says Iozzo.
Her track record illustrates the career within a career that's possible at CIBC -- and others are following in her footsteps. In May, Kok was the first employee to take part in an exchange program with National Australia Bank, one of a number of strategic partnerships CIBC has formed. Kok spent four weeks with NAB in Melbourne, working with their digital team and identifying opportunities for future collaboration.
Kok took on another big task in 2017, organizing CIBC's first all-women hackathon, where teams collaborated and produced ideas to address the unique financial planning needs of their female clients. Hackathons typically attract more men than women, but the XX Design Challenge saw more than 500 women apply for 150 openings.
Says Kok, "It's just another way that CIBC is providing amazing opportunities for all of their employees."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 27, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2017):
- CIBC created gender balance action plans to improve the gender balance of women in leadership roles for each of the bank's seven business units, and recently updated its Board of Directors goal for the representation of women to no less than 30%
- 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 eight individuals for roles in risk management and technology -- CIBC also maintains "WorkAbility", an employee network for persons with disabilities, and in partnership with the bank's technology advisory committee, organizes an annual Assistive Technology Showcase to highlight community partners and technologies to assist persons with physical and non-physical disabilities
- In partnership with Pride at Work Canada, CIBC established an internal organizational standard to help create a positive employee experience when trans-identified employees transition in the workplace -- the bank also updated its anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to explicitly indicate that gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds
"I arrived in Canada from India in May of last year. I felt very isolated being in a new place. I was applying for jobs and heard nothing, there were no replies. After months of unanswered applications, I became associated with The Mentoring Partnership (TMP). With coaching from my mentor from CIBC, I connected with potential employers and was soon able to join CIBC. I went from knowing no one in Canada to finding one person who believed in me and shortly after a whole organization that believes in me." Ruchika Singhal, Sourcing Associate, Talent Acquisition
CIBC focuses on hiring people with disabilities
As CIBC aims to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of its clients, one of this year's goals is to hire 500 disabled Canadians and really "move the dial," says Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer. "We've been focusing on diversity and inclusion for quite some time but when we looked at the representation of persons with disabilities within our team, we believed we could do better."
Given that CIBC uses metrics throughout its financial services businesses, setting a quantifiable goal made sense. "This is not just aspirational but good for our business and something we will work to deliver," says Dottori-Attanasio, who is also the bank's Executive Champion for Diversity and Inclusion.
In a recent poll on employment commissioned by CIBC, less than 40 per cent of respondents with a disability reported having a full or part-time job. The poll also revealed that one in four felt their most recent role did not leverage their qualifications well.
Dottori-Attanasio hopes the poll will spur discussion about "barriers to employment and how we can go about removing them. If we can shine a light on this, it should help address some of the biases out there." The poll helped to kick off a broader partnership between CIBC and Magnet, an online employment network that matches employers with a pipeline of diverse talent.
Since 2015, CIBC has also partnered with Specialisterne Canada to hire employees on the autism spectrum. David Francis, a Measurement Specialist in IT Risk Standards and Governance, was one of the first wave of CIBC recruits.
Diagnosed in his mid-twenties with high-functioning autism, Francis has a bachelor's degree and postgraduate certificate in human resources, but had been struggling to find permanent full-time work. "Nobody was willing to give me a chance," he says.
That changed when he teamed up with Specialisterne, whose services include evaluating the skill sets of job candidates, support for new recruits, and education and awareness training for the employer's staff to help ensure a smooth transition.
When Francis started at CIBC, he was thrilled to be done with the stresses of contract and casual work. "I have set hours, a real routine. I take the train to work," he says. "I seem to have really clicked with the governance and compliance side of my role here."
Francis has also been given additional responsibilities since starting with CIBC. "This is not just a job. I can now see a career path with the possibility of taking on other roles in the bank," he says.
While CIBC encourages openness to allow employees with autism and their colleagues to work together, the level of transparency varies according to the individual's needs. "I don't self- identify all the time to everyone," says Francis. "I choose who I feel I need to tell."
From a business perspective, says Dottori-Attanasio, the decision to hire employees with autism is a sound one. She tells the story of a CIBC manager who was initially skeptical but then found herself impressed with the performance of the new hires. She's now an enthusiastic promoter.
As for Francis, when asked almost a year and a half after his hiring, if there's anything he would especially like others to know, he answers: "I really want to say how appreciative I am of CIBC for taking me on and giving me opportunities. They do genuinely care."
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 CIBC was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- CIBC is a founding partner of NPower Canada, which helps young adults pursue careers in technology -- NPower focuses on supporting students who have household incomes well below the poverty line, are precariously housed, are visible minorities or have 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 and a Graduates Matter Rotation Program for students in their final year of study for an MBA or related 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 invests in a tech-savvy future
Andjela Jamina had an interesting problem. She had just graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in a branch of mathematics that could lead to employment in fields as specialized as computational modeling and financial analysis, but she was reluctant to focus on just one path. Then CIBC entered the equation, opening up career opportunities wider than she ever thought possible.
"I really enjoy programming, but I didn't want to sit behind a computer screen all day," says Jamina, one of the Data Scientists at the new CIBC Data Studio in uptown Waterloo. "I like product management as well, and I also wanted experience in the financial world. That's asking a lot for a career path. I feel really lucky to have a job where I can do all that while also being part of an established organization where I am challenged and learn new things every day."
The CIBC Data Studio is located within the Communitech Data Hub, an innovation centre that supports and connects tech companies at all stages of growth working to revolutionize data usage. This location will help the bank tap into the thriving startup environment.
"We're excited to be part of the action," says Santanu Pal, Vice President, Enterprise Advanced Analytics, CIBC. "We're investigating and developing new ways that CIBC can use data to its full potential so that we can deliver leading insight, advice and solutions for our clients."
Another important goal for the Data Studio is to recruit local talent by attracting individuals working at the forefront of the newest technologies and developments. The Data Studio's team works with co-op students from nearby universities who have backgrounds in engineering, math and computer science.
The bank has a similar collaborative space, CIBC Live Labs, in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. Live Labs and the CIBC Data Studio are part of CIBC's broader effort to enhance the client experience across all of CIBC's award-winning digital platforms.
While the Waterloo team focuses on data, Pal says it is all in service of CIBC's culture that puts clients first. When the data scientists tackle a problem, they personalize the project by imagining how a particular client could benefit from their findings, he explains. Their focus is to continue giving CIBC clients options to bank where, when and how they want.
CIBC recently celebrated its 150th birthday and continues to build on its history of client-focus. The bank's new global headquarters -- CIBC Square -- currently under construction in downtown Toronto will be a state-of-the art urban campus for nearly 15,000 CIBC employees.
These developments all spring from CIBC's commitment to being the bank of the future. Pal cites the rapid transformation that has taken place from the time when data was viewed as a back-office function, to today where CIBC uses its innovative digital and data-driven division as a key advantage in serving clients and keeping ahead of the competition.
"CIBC has always taken an entrepreneurial approach," Pal adds. "And with digital and data moving so quickly, we have to be more agile than ever to keep pace with our clients' changing needs."
It's this focus on what lies ahead that Jamina finds so appealing about a line of work that until recently she didn't even know existed. "CIBC sold me on the idea that what we think of as banking today will be a totally different experience tomorrow and that I could be a part of taking banking to a new level for our clients."