Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 21, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why HSBC Bank Canada was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2019):
- HSBC Bank Canada cultivates an ownership culture through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and offers referral bonuses as an incentive for employees to recruit candidates from their personal networks (up to $2,000)
- HSBC Bank Canada employees enjoy a flexible health benefits plan and receive an additional $500 for a personal wellness account, which can be used for items that help individuals achieve their health goals, such as iPads, tablets, gym membership or nutritionist services
- HSBC Bank Canada provides maternity and parental leave top-up payments for employees who are new mothers, fathers or adoptive parents (to 100% of salary for up to 6 weeks)
There are many ways to prosper at HSBC Bank Canada
Nearly three decades ago, Kim Toews started her HSBC Bank Canada (HSBC) career as a branch receptionist in Abbotsford. Today, she works at the bank's Vancouver head office as executive vice-president and head of human resources, responsible for some 6,000 employees across Canada.
"It shows HSBC values growth from within," Toews says, adding, "I've had opportunities elsewhere, but every time, the bank was the better option as it offered me another chance to grow - and provided me with the tools to flourish."
For her part, Vivian Ormerod was working with another bank in Toronto when HSBC acquired it in 2004. She was impressed with how fairly it treated the employees about to be laid off. "If this is how HSBC deals with people they are not retaining, they must handle their own people even better," she says.
Still, Ormerod turned down HSBC's offer of a head-office move for personal reasons. She agreed to stay when the bank created a position for her in Toronto.
Several years later, she happily accepted a promotion move to Vancouver after the bank included her parents in her relocation package. Today, HSBC's flexible working arrangements allow Ormerod, now vice-president, chief operating officer, finance department, to manage a career and the needs of an aging parent. Says Ormerod: "I could never work in a place that did not share my values, particularly inclusion."
Indeed, HSBC's ambitious diversity policies, including designating someone dedicated to opening the bank's doors to potential employees from the Indigenous and disabled communities, recently won it two major federal awards. Meanwhile, HSBC donated some $7 million in 2017 to charitable causes, many of them selected by employees themselves. In addition, employees that regularly volunteer with a charity can apply for donations of up to $5,000 from the bank's volunteer fund, and all staff also get one paid day off for charitable work. "To help our customers thrive, we have to help our communities thrive," says Toews.
Besides competitive salaries, HSBC offers generous benefits, including three-to-six-month personal sabbaticals and up to two years off to pursue an advanced degree. On the financial side, there are favourable terms for bank products, including mortgages, a one-for-three share-purchase plan and 50-per-cent matching contributions for RRSPs, TFSAs and other savings vehicles.
Meanwhile, Toews allows it wasn't her idea to enter the B.C.'s Top Employers competition. "Staff insisted we put in a bid," she says, "because this is an amazing place to work."
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 HSBC Bank Canada was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- Along with a diversity and inclusion office and council, HSBC Bank Canada maintains a strategy specifically focused on improving representation of Indigenous and persons with disabilities, as well as enhancing senior female representation
- HSBC Bank Canada maintains a total of nine employee resource groups, with over 2,000 employees engaged as members or participating in related events, which include webinars on career development, speed mentoring with senior leaders, LGBTQ+ insights, and mental health and wellness
- HSBC Bank Canada created a unique 3-year diversity internship program that welcomed 30 employees to the bank, including individuals from Indigenous communities and persons with disabilities -- the initial 6-month placement of interns spanned all three lines of business (retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, and global banking and markets) and several supporting functions such as HR, finance and technology
"I feel very fortunate to work for an organization that celebrates our colleagues from all cultural backgrounds, age, gender, disabilities and sexual orientation. HSBC fully promotes and supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace on so many levels from business practices and policies, educational programs and resources, personal and career development to health and wellness initiatives. As an ally and a committee member of the Pride BC Employee Resource Group, I have been able to connect with so many diverse people within HSBC locally and globally and through our local communities through sponsorships, volunteering and events which has had a large impact on me both personally and professionally." Rebecca D., Manager, Client Proposition
At HSBC, the best and brightest come from a wide pool
This really happened to Sergio Zedda, long before he joined HSBC Bank Canada. Early in his career, nearly two decades ago at another major bank, Zedda felt compelled to conceal his sexual orientation. When colleagues eventually learned he was gay, "I was subjected to frequent name-calling," here calls. After one colleague's particularly vicious verbal attack witnessed by others, "My immediate supervisor had only one reaction: 'I hope you aren't going to report this to HR.'"
Zedda didn't for fear of retribution and, today, the Senior Manager of WealthInsights at HSBC's Vancouver head office is confident the era in which he had to play-act in the office has been relegated to the Dark Ages. "At HSBC, I no longer have to wear a mask - I can come to the office and be my authentic self," he says. "When people can be themselves, they can give 120 per cent to the job, rather than spending energy on hiding who they are."
Zedda is also the national lead of HSBC's PRIDE employee resource group(ERG) - one of nine such groups at the bank. Run by volunteers, ERGs seek to understand and improve what each community needs in the workplace to thrive.
"Diversity is in HSBC's fibre," says Zedda. "They have been at it for a longtime, and the support from the top for the LGBTQ community and other minority groups is amazing. They truly understand the challenges we face."
For Kim Toews, HSBC Executive Vice President and Head of Human Resourc.es, ensuring diversity in the organization is first and foremost "the right thing to do." But Toews adds that it also makes business sense. "We firmly believe that a diverse workforce contributes to strong business performance," she says. "The more diverse our workforce, the better we can understand and serve our customers. The more diverse we are, the better the decision-making process."
The bank has an admirable track record when it comes to diversity initiatives and results, leading to two federal government Employment Equity Achievement Awards. Indeed, HSBC achieved gender parity five years ago in the boardroom, and women also make up 60 per cent of the bank's executive team, including the Chief Executive Officer, the Head of Commercial Banking and the Head of Internal Audit.
When it comes to senior management overall, females hold nearly one-third of the positions and boosting that number is a current goal, as is attracting more people from the Indigenous and disabled communities. "We want to always be hiring the best and the brightest, and that means having the widest possible talent pool," says Toews.
To help achieve that goal, HSBC has hired a Diversity Sourcing Specialist whose mandate is to build relations with the Indigenous and disabled communities as a first step to ensuring these people can be considered for employment. "We want to build a diverse pipeline," says Toews.
HSBC is also proud of its record when it comes to visible minorities. They account for nearly 50 per cent of the nearly 6,000 staff across Canada and almost half of all annual promotions. "It doesn't seem like a big deal to us," Toews says. "We've been doing this for so long, we don't think twice about it. It's become part of our DNA."
Despite its impressive record, Toews stresses that diversity at HSBC is not a "numbers game." Instead, she says, "The foundation of our success as an organization is attracting and retaining great talent that mirrors our customers."
Zedda agrees. "Diversity is about creating a broadly based and supportive environment so people can flourish. That's what makes us special."