Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Community Trust Company was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- Community Trust Company supports new moms and dads with maternity and parental leave top-up payments to 100% of salary for 4 weeks -- and offers employees a variety of alternative work options to help them balance their work and personal lives
- Community Trust Company's employee-led social committee helps to manage a busy social calendar for employees, including a Halloween party, spring and summer barbecue, monthly birthday celebrations, annual holiday party at Christmas and weekly employee breakfasts every Monday
Design thinking spurs innovation at Community Trust
Community Trust recognizes and promotes promising employees. Just ask Tanya MacLean, 27, who joined the Mississauga, Ont.-based financial institution as a receptionist in February 2016 and, within nine months, advanced to her current position as Mortgage Servicing Specialist.
"I didn't have any mortgage experience previously, but for two months before I accepted the new role I sat with the mortgage specialists and learned what they did," says MacLean. "I felt good that management saw how hard I was working as a receptionist and took a chance on me and furthering my skills with the company."
Fast-growing Community Trust now has 110 employees, up from 94 a year ago. It prides itself on being a flexible alternative to large, traditional lenders. "We are a very open culture," says Christopher Humeniuk, President and CEO. "We believe in transparency and communication between all levels of our organization."
Humeniuk focuses on three key elements in growing that culture: health and resiliency, both for the company and for its employees; technology that improves both customer experience and employee efficiency and engagement; and an innovation strategy based upon the concept of design thinking.
Community Trust adapted design thinking in early 2017 from Stanford University's d-school, a hub for innovation, collaboration and creativity which builds on methods from the design field to help people unlock their creative potential.
"It's brainstorming on steroids," says Humeniuk. "It's an approach that encourages participants to share ideas." Two or three times a month, Humeniuk personally facilitates a design thinking session, either with a particular department or with a varied group of employees. He values the feedback he receives, for example, on better ways to engage with customers or to foster work-life balance among employees.
Community Trust's managers, team leaders, working groups and committees are all encouraged to use design thinking, too. As many as eight groups of four or five employees gather in the same space. Everyone writes their ideas down and then posts them on to boards.
Some 2,000 sq. ft. of office space has been turned into an "innovation lab," equipped with sofas, bean-bag seats and white boards. Staff can lie down on the floor and exchange ideas. "It's very rewarding for staff not only to contribute their ideas but to see them used and implemented," says Humeniuk.
To promote inclusiveness and diversity, Community Trust has launched the Women's Initiative, an effort to identify gender-related barriers to advancement within the organization. Some 60 per cent of the company's managers are female, mirroring the 65 per cent of total employees who are female. MacLean, one of five employees selected to advise on the initiative, says they will survey both female and male employees on issues that may hinder career advancement.
For the past four years, Community Trust has done an annual employee engagement survey. The results have placed the company in the top quartile for organizations of its size. Every year, organizational vision has ranked as one of the top drivers of employee engagement at Community Trust. So, too, has the company's support for professional development.
Business unit heads are expected to identify training opportunities specific to their teams. "We set a target every year for learning hours," says Humeniuk. "For outside courses, we cover the costs in full and make sure employees are given time to study for their exams." MacLean plans to take courses in the mortgage field. "I like to keep my mind busy acquiring knowledge," she says.