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OMERS Administration employee resource groups connect and raise awareness at its inaugural ERG Celebration Days.Provided

As a student at the University of Toronto in 1998, Christina Robinson wasn’t aware of the pension industry until serendipity intervened. A friend introduced her to an OMERS Administration Corporation employee who suggested she apply for a job. After graduating, Robinson joined full-time, and still has a passion for the work.

“I was looking for opportunity in a place that believed in my capabilities and was willing to invest in me,” says Robinson, manager, member experience. “There’s a big focus on learning and development. I also wanted something I felt good about, where I could do good for individuals and the community.

“The job itself is one thing that’s kept me at OMERS, but a big part is the people – and the people here are phenomenal. We work together to accomplish a purpose and do a great job, so I just wanted to stay.”

OMERS is the steward of the retirement system for Ontario’s municipal employees, including police and fire departments, so purpose is a driving force.

Originally from Australia, Scott McIntosh says that purpose-driven culture was a big draw for him. He’d heard about Canadian pension plans and thought it would be “absolutely fantastic” to have the opportunity to work at a Canadian plan.

“There’s real social value in what we do,” says McIntosh, now a Canadian citizen and OMERS executive vice-president and head of global multi-asset strategies. “Personally, it’s pretty special to play a role in managing other people’s money for their benefit in retirement. When we make an investment decision, people around the table care about what’s in the best interest of our members, so that member focus is always front of mind for us.”

McIntosh says that sense of purpose permeates everything from the organization’s Climate Action Plan and how front-line workers interact with customers to how investments make a positive social and economic impact on communities – a reflection of its commitment to sound environmental, social and governance practices.

“We approach work from the point of how to make an impact,” says McIntosh. “From the moment people are here, they already have that purpose alignment as well as from a values perspective – and those values are inclusion, integrity, humility and excellence. If you have an alignment of values, everything else becomes much easier.”

OMERS supports an inclusive culture through numerous employee resource groups (ERGs), including the Multicultural Alliance, Indigenous Peoples Alliance, Pride Alliance and DiversAbilities, among others.

“Without a doubt, ERGs have a very meaningful impact on our culture, helping to foster an openness and transparency that make the organization a place where people feel comfortable,” says McIntosh. “We recently hosted our first ERG Celebration Days – all the groups got together to talk and raise awareness. It’s all very positive.”

As an active participant in the Briefcase Parents and Women@OMERS ERGs, Robinson says she appreciates the support and resources, as well as events where she can meet different people she wouldn’t otherwise meet.

“Additionally, we have a lot of resources for health and well-being, including support for mental health – which can be completely confidential or not,” she says. “I like that you can make that choice.”

An equally important part of this customizable experience is the way colleagues formally recognize each other for living the OMERS values – the foundation of the OMERS purpose-driven culture.

“It’s lovely in that it’s an unexpected recognition, because any individual or team can nominate someone who they feel did something at work that aligned with one of our values,” says McIntosh. “That can only come about in an environment and work culture that is positive and supportive.”

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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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