Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 31, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Public Sector Pension Investment Board / PSP Investments was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2018):
- As part of the organization's health benefits plan, PSP Investments offers a health spending account starting at $750 each year, allowing employees to top up levels of coverage according to their personal needs
- Along with 3 or 4 weeks of starting vacation allowance (depending on employee level), PSP Investments helps employees achieve better work-life balance through a variety of alternative working arrangements, including flexible hours and telecommuting options
- PSP Investments supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments (to 93% of salary for up to 18 weeks)
PSP Investments reinvents its workplace environment
Katherine Dewar found her career calling after a detour in her education. She started out studying engineering, but wound up completing a commerce degree with a finance concentration. A student internship in 2013 at PSP Investments led to a position as a Senior Analyst, Infrastructure Investments.
One of Canada's largest pension plan managers, the organization manages the pension plans of the federal public service, the Canadian Forces, the Reserve Forces and the RCMP. "When I joined the infrastructure team, it was a fine melting pot of my academic background," says Dewar, as she could use her engineering and financial education.
Dewar's role includes evaluating large-scale civil engineering projects -- from transportation to power generation to telecom towers -- for inclusion in PSP Investments' private asset portfolio. "We are very involved in the due diligence prior to an acquisition and afterwards we take an active role in the management of the assets."
As PSP Investments has been acquiring assets, it has also been acquiring talent. In the first nine months of 2017, it filled 83 net new positions, following 106 hires in 2016. "It's very satisfying to give people an opportunity to grow with us," says Giulia Cirillo, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
While approximately two-thirds of the hires have been asset managers, the other third have been in functional areas such as technology, finance and human resources. Says Cirillo: "We're not only bringing in top investment professionals but also hiring to sustain our asset classes behind the scenes."
PSP Investments' culture emphasizes entrepreneurship, empowerment, agility, insight and collaboration. To promote teamwork, the organization is literally knocking down the walls, as part of a transformative initiative called "One Workplace." Whereas everyone used to be in closed offices, this interior has been transformed to a collaborative open space environment, an "innovation and ideation corner" for brainstorming, and a quiet floor for reflection and focus.
Despite the impressive qualifications that its employees bring with them, PSP Investments promotes continued skills and talent development. It provides financial support for those pursuing accreditation and has sent promising staff such as Dewar to L'Effet A, a 100-day boot camp for women to hone their communication and networking skills.
Instead of one-size-fits-all learning, PSP Investments believes in approaches fit for purpose. "In some cases, we offer coaching or mentoring," says Cirillo. "In others, we offer on-the-job 'stretch' assignments. On a one-to-one basis, we want to encourage the employee's sense of purpose and enhance their engagement."