Recognized as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 29, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation / CMHC was selected as one of National Capital Region's Top Employers (2019):
- After extensive consultation, CMHC created a unified defined benefit pension plan for all employees and encourages employees to plan for the future with retirement planning assistance -- the organization also maintains an Alumni Association, which organizes social events and outings for retirees
- CMHC maintains ongoing internal communications through a variety of mediums, including a daily electronic bulletin, an executive blog, in-house television and Ideopolis, a platform that enables sharing and collaboration on employee-generated ideas
- In order to create a pipeline of new talent, CMHC manages a Graduate Rotation Program for recent master's and doctorate graduates -- the program includes three 6-month rotations in the policy, research and market analysis departments and provides opportunities to meet and network with senior management
At CMHC, employee empowerment brings results
For HR specialist Roxanne Gallagher, it was a life-changing realization.
In 2014, after six years of working in corporate relations in Ottawa for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), she decided she was ready for a change in direction.
"I always, in my heart, had the desire to influence our work culture here in a people-focused role," she recalls.
Thanks to CMHC's support and training, she made the transition to her current position, specializing in workplace diversity and inclusion.
"It was an exciting time for me," says Gallagher. "I felt I had found myself. I'm so thankful to be with an organization that enables people to explore different career paths, and considers diversity and inclusion as keys to our long-term success."
She attributes CMHC's focus on employee engagement and empowerment to Evan Siddall, who joined the federal Crown corporation as president and chief executive officer in 2014. Siddall, who previously worked for the Bank of Canada, says CMHC is trying to create a dynamic, inclusive work environment that is focused on improving housing affordability in Canada.
"We have found shared meaning in our goal of meeting Canadians' housing needs," he explains. "The transformation we have undertaken since 2014 is freeing our employees to do their best work, enabling them to apply their best selves to their work each day - all of which is paying off in results."
The organization's sense of shared purpose is buttressed by purposeful communication. CMHC maintains ongoing internal communications through a variety of platforms, including a new intranet, executive and employee blogs, and platforms that facilitate employee collaboration and innovation.
One employee's idea made it through an internal Dragon's Den-style competition and is now being rolled out across the company. The initiative is helping to transform CMHC into a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), a workplace philosophy that gives employees full autonomy and accountability to achieve results, and promotes productivity, work-life integration and wellness.
CMHC also supports its people with a competitive and comprehensive benefits package, which has been shaped in part by employees. After extensive consultation, for example, the company returned to a defined-benefit pension plan for all employees - a rarity among Canadian employers.
"CMHC is powered by autonomous and engaged employees who feel accountable to deliver their best work for Canadians," says Siddall. "We welcome anyone who is looking to be part of something larger than themselves to consider joining our team."
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 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation / CMHC was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- CMHC's wellness and mental health initiative includes a range of education, awareness, training and communications activities to help improve the mental health of employees as well as their colleagues, friends and families -- the organization also maintains a dedicated committee to help support related initiatives, as well as a Wellness and Mental Health Champion
- CMHC offers training on a variety of diversity and inclusion subjects, including unconscious bias in the recruitment and interview process as well as a series of nearly 100 diversity training tools available online at the organization's corporate intranet
- For over 25 years, CMHC has managed a unique Special Needs program for individuals with Down syndrome to provide mentoring, skills development and work experience
"I'm proud to work for an organization that embraces each employee's unique strengths. It encourages us to bring our best selves to work and deliver high performance -- together." Binh P., Insurance Operations
Diversity and inclusion have a solid home at CMHC
In Monica Diazgranados' native Spanish, the word is "gratificante." It means rewarding, and it's the way the senior manager at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) describes her employer, which she joined soon after emigrating from Colombia 13 years ago.
"CMHC is a place that allows and encourages its employees to take on rewarding projects or career options," says Diazgranados, whose full title is Senior Manager, People Analytics, Workforce Planning, and Diversity & Inclusion.
"When I applied to CMHC," she recalls, "I had no Canadian work experience, I had a Latin name and I had an accent - and they've never been a barrier for me to move or grow in my career. And I'm not an unusual example."
When Diazgranados and her husband relocated to Canada in 2005, they had already decided to settle in Ottawa because they liked the prominence of both official languages in the national capital.
Choosing a career direction was harder. Diazgranados, who had worked in the insurance management field in Colombia, wrestled with whether she should re-invent herself professionally because of her lack of Canadian experience.
When she discovered CMHC, however, it immediately appealed to her and she started applying for positions. "I really liked the connection to housing and meeting Canadians' housing needs," she says. "I wanted to be part of that."
Since signing on, she's worked in a variety of roles - initially moving from mortgage insurance underwriting to reviewing mortgage insurance servicing processes. She later worked on CMHC's transformation team, helping to implement an organizational overhaul of processes, technology and culture. She started in her current HR role about 18 months ago.
"Because it's a big company, there are a lot of opportunities," she says, "and the transferability of skills is really respected and supported. It's a really good place to work."
Career mobility at CMHC is a reflection of the way it values the unique skills and identity of every individual employee, says Diazgranados. That celebration of diversity begins with President and CEO Evan Siddall, she adds.
"CMHC has embedded diversity and inclusion everywhere," she says. "And that comes from the top. When you have that point of reference from the top, it continues to cascade down."
Siddall says that valuing diversity is a fundamental part of CMHC's mission to help all Canadians find affordable housing. "We recognize that to serve Canadians most effectively, we need to understand their diverse needs, experiences and challenges," he observes. "We will continue to help our employees feel like they all belong at CMHC, and that we bring a commitment to inclusiveness in our service to all Canadians."
In recent years, the Crown corporation has achieved several significant milestones on its march to increasingly greater diversity and inclusion. Through an analysis of its workforce completed last year, CMHC was able to confirm that there is no salary disparity or discrimination in hiring practices affecting any of its four employment equity groups - women, Indigenous employees, other minority groups, or employees with disabilities.
Last year, the organization also reached its goal of ensuring that at least 50 per cent of managers are women. And it conducted focus groups with female employees to survey perceived barriers to reaching their career objectives. A lack of flexibility in work arrangements was identified as the biggest barrier. CMHC's current implementation of a Results-Only Work Environment will allow for much greater flexibility.
This June, CMHC will host a two-day conference for leaders in the government and financial services sectors dedicated entirely to issues related to diversity and inclusion.
There is still work to be done, says Diazgranados. The focus of CMHC's current efforts is to find ways to give every employee more of a voice in the organization. "For us, diversity and inclusion is not a check mark," she explains. "It's a matter of continuous improvement."