Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 11, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Community Trust Company was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2019):
- Community Trust Company supports new moms and dads with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (to 100 per cent of salary for four weeks) and offers a variety of alternative work options to help employees balance work and their personal lives
- Community Trust Company encourages employees to give back to the community with a paid day off to volunteer and donated an impressive 800 volunteer hours on company time in the past year
Community Trust backs its people in trying times
In early 2018, Community Trust had just come through a difficult year, with the overheated housing market causing volatility throughout the mortgage industry. Another challenging period lay ahead.
Christopher Humeniuk, President and CEO of the Mississauga, Ont.-based financial-services company, explains: "2017 was a very interesting time for alternative lenders, especially for our residential lending team. Then on Jan. 1, 2018, our regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, introduced the so-called stress test for residential mortgages. There was a lot of uncertainty about the impact this would have on our market."
Recognizing that employees were feeling their own stress and uncertainty as a result of these disruptions, Community Trust's leadership decided to do something special to support them through the next several months. The result was an incentive program called 2018: The Time Is Now.
"We talk a lot about resilience and we wanted to encourage that," says Humeniuk. "The message we wanted to send our people was, 'We're going to help you through this year. It's time to look after ourselves and each other. If we work hard we'll be successful even in the face of further volatility and challenges.'"
Employees were offered a choice of four leisure packages to help them look after themselves. They could pick an Air Canada travel package, a weekend in the city, an adventure package, or a bottle of wine, a blanket and a Kobo reader. This was followed by an extension of the company's well-developed employee wellness programs, which cover mental and physical health, nutrition, exercise and more.
Asked to assess the results of The Time Is Now, Humeniuk says, "Looking back, I'd point to two things. First, although we expected the scores in our annual employee engagement survey to be down in 2018, they were the highest ever. We're close to the top 10 per cent of companies of similar size for employee engagement.
"Second, we've always put a high priority on giving back to the community, and towards the end of 2018 we challenged our people to support the Children's Aid Foundation, with the company matching employee contributions two-to-one," he says. "We hoped to raise $6,000 for a university scholarship, but we ended up with enough funding for three scholarships and bursaries.
"This was an outward sign of our employees' desire to give back, and I'm sure there was a connection to the year we had. And, by the way, we achieved all our financial objectives for 2018."
Uncertainty in the mortgage market is subsiding now, Humeniuk says, "but the message about looking after ourselves will always be there."
Early 2018 also saw the launch of another innovation at Community Trust: the Women's Initiative Committee. "There are five of us on the committee, which came about at the time of the #MeToo movement to identify any gender-specific issues that might exist within the company," says Renata Nadarajah, who has been involved since the beginning.
"Early on we held a survey and found there were no major concerns - this is already a progressive and diverse company - but we're pleased that Chris, our CEO, took action to get this started so women have a support system they can turn to."
Nadrajah, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration from York University and a postgraduate certificate in financial services underwriting from Seneca College, moved to Community Trust from another lending institution in 2017 as a Mortgage Underwriter, and more recently became a Mortgage Retention Specialist.
"I'm very happy that I came here," she says. "One thing that stands out for me about Community Trust is its involvement with the community. We get a paid day to volunteer and there are many company-sponsored opportunities to give back. It's definitely rewarding to know I work for a company that gives back as much as this one does."