Michelle Barrett says she has felt part of a welcoming and supportive community ever since she switched careers and joined one of the IGM Financial Inc. group of companies, IG Wealth Management, in 2016.
“I had quite a steep learning curve,” says the former kindergarten teacher. “So I’m grateful the people here are always gracious in helping you come up with solutions for any problems you might have.”
The company worked with Barrett to help her acquire the professional accreditation required to work as a consultant in the financial services sector. And now as senior manager, training and development, with IG University, she has a foot back in the educational field.
This time around, however, she’s part of a team that helps adults achieve and maintain their professional certifications, be aware of emerging trends so they can stay current with clients, and develop new skills so they can take the next step in their careers.
IGM is one of Canada’s leading wealth and asset management companies. Its subsidiaries include IG Wealth Management, Mackenzie Investments and Investment Planning Council. The companies operate separately but share some corporate functions.
To stay abreast of employees’ wants, needs and perspectives, IGM conducts regular surveys and focus groups and uses other tools such as data mining. And not all employee feedback is solicited.
“People send me emails sharing their genuine thoughts on a variety of concerns,” says chief human resources officer Cynthia Currie, who sees a positive side even to constructive comments. “I think it reflects well on our culture that people are not afraid to share their candid opinions.”
All that employee feedback plays a vital role in informing IGM’s culture of putting people first. This includes everything from ensuring there’s progress on its diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to determining whether employees feel they have the support they need to achieve their career goals.
Employee engagement, for one, is considered so important that polling scores can impact an executive’s bonus, Currie says.
Despite the turmoil of the last few years, Currie says that scores have improved overall and some are now as much as 11 per cent higher than industry average scores. “We’re trending upwards in all the things we set out to do,” she adds.
IGM has taken a gradual approach to the transition from remote work to hybrid work, listening to employees, testing and learning along the way. With the goal of having a model that addresses both corporate and employee needs after the pandemic, Currie says, the extensive process ranged from ensuring everyone was on the same page by establishing a clear definition of hybrid to drilling down into local concerns in cities where it operates, including Winnipeg, Toronto and Montréal.
Currie says IGM wants people to spend time in the office that is meaningful and productive while still offering them some of the flexibility they’d grown accustomed to working at home during the pandemic.
For Barrett, it’s a model that works. “I’m generally an in-office kind of worker, but that flexibility is quite a gift,” she says. “It relieves a lot of stress knowing I can take care of personal matters when the need arises.”
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.