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Luiz Silva, product manager, enterprise customer relationship management, at CIBC.Supplied

Luiz Silva participated in two four-month co-ops with CIBC while he was a student at George Brown College in Toronto. As a newcomer, he was pleasantly surprised at the support and mentorship he received as a student and when he joined the bank after graduating.

“When I started working full-time, people were really willing to help me,” says Silva, now a product manager of enterprise customer relationship management. “Other team members were coaching me, which was amazing. I wasn’t expecting to get that kind of support.”

Developing young employees is critical at a time when competition for talent is stiff. And CIBC has made employee development a core part of the culture.

“We have a good reputation as an employer of early talent,” says Claire Downard, vice-president of talent acquisition. “We work hard to attract young talent for our co-op programs. During their time with us they have the opportunity for targeted learning and development, networking with colleagues and leaders, and focused discussions with our team members about their careers. We invest time in them so that when they graduate, they will want to work for us full-time.”

The bank relies on a number of formal initiatives to develop young talent. The graduate leadership development program is a two-year program for those joining the organization with an MBA or master’s degree and three years’ experience in the workforce. They work in different areas of the bank with six-month rotations before deciding where they want to start their career.

“One of the benefits of working at CIBC is the ability to move across the organization,” Downard says.

CIBC’s technology graduate rotational program is dedicated to accelerating the careers of previous CIBC co-op students. They participate in a fast-paced, two-year rotation program across technology roles.

Silva is an alumni of this initiative. After joining in 2016, he worked with three different teams, which enabled him to acquire technical skills as well as develop his networking, leadership, communications and presentation skills.

“It was very interesting at the start of my career to have that exposure to so many different departments and the cool stuff the bank is doing,” he says.

Downard adds: “There’s no shortage of opportunities here if you’re interested in technology because technology is ever evolving. Our programs are designed to build experience and develop the critical skills that we need for the future.”

Mentoring is another crucial part of CIBC’s approach to helping younger employees grow and develop. The bank recently launched a career hub, which is designed to connect mentors and mentees. Potential mentors provide a summary of their skills and experience while mentees can search the site for the match that appears right for them.

“We wanted to open up the organization instead of hand-selecting people,” Downard says. “We recognize that there are so many people across the organization who have skills in areas that we may not be aware of. This is really a way for people to find a match that suits them.”

For his part, Silva has derived considerable benefit from formal mentoring and less formal coaching. “I was paired with someone more experienced who had relatable skills and similar personal interests,” he says. “Others have taken time to coach me without my asking. They just helped me grow through my first years at CIBC.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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