Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016) :
Here are some of the reasons why Desjardins Group / Mouvement des caisses Desjardins was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2016):
- Desjardins Group not only provides great career prospects but is a leader in helping employers plan for life after work with retirement planning assistance services and generous employer contributions to a defined benefit pension plan and a health benefits program that also extends to its retired employees, with no age limit
- True to its raison d'être, Desjardins Group is an incredible corporate citizen, re-investing over $82 million last year (and similar amounts every year) in the broader community through sponsorships, scholarships and charitable partnerships
- Along with reserved parking for carpoolers, and a guaranteed ride home if needed, Desjardins Group offers a daily shuttle service that runs between the Lévis head office and its Montréal location -- the credit union also offers indoor bike parking at the head office and discounts for cyclists using the BIXI shared-use bike programs in Montréal and Toronto
When employees talk, Desjardins Group listens
When Melissa Savio decided to look for a job in the insurance industry, she applied to only one company: Desjardins Group.
"The organization's values were in line with mine," she says.
The values that attracted her have not only helped Desjardins Group become Quebec's largest employer and the sixth-largest financial cooperative in the world, they have also helped the organization achieve an employee retention rate of 96 per cent, an enviable record in any industry.
"We have some challenging jobs in this organization," says Stéphane Pelletier, Vice-President, Talent Acquisition and Management, "so a retention rate like that is impressive."
Founded in 1900 in Lévis, Québec, Desjardins Group serves more than 7 million individual and business members and clients across Canada, specializing in wealth management, life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, personal, business and institutional services. Almost 45,000 full- and part-time employees not only work for the organization but can also contribute to its management policies as members of the cooperative.
Keeping employees focused on the values of the organization presents a major challenge. "With so many moving parts, you can lose touch," says Pelletier, who joined Desjardins Group two years ago after holding senior HR positions in the telecommunications and aerospace industries.
To ensure that every employee has a voice in its operations, Desjardins Group continually asks for feedback through its Employee Experience program. With online surveys and face-to-face conversations, employees share their ideal professional experience and make suggestions for improvement.
"Our biggest strength as an employer is our listening skills," says Pelletier. "We're constantly meeting with employees to see what we can do better."
Not only does Desjardins Group invite employees' opinions, it also acts on their suggestions. As Melissa Savio says, "They actually do something."
In the course of a year, more than 8,000 managers and employees change jobs within the organization. Savio, for example, joined Desjardins Group in 2006 as a Junior Claims Advisor in Toronto. Over the following nine years, she has advanced to the role of Accident Benefit Claims Trainer. "Now I train people to do the job that I used to do," she says.
For five of her nine years with Desjardins Group, Savio worked from her home in Mississauga, west of Toronto, to accommodate her family schedule and to ensure that her work didn't detract from the quality of her personal life. "Work-life balance is an extremely important principle at Desjardins Group," she says.
Using strong employer branding, Desjardins Group recruits in more than 20 fields of employment, and it rewards employees for their loyalty by encouraging them to enhance their skills and qualifications as they advance through the organization.
In addition to tuition subsidies for courses at outside institutions and for online and in-house training initiatives, Desjardins Group offers bonuses of as much as $1,000 to employees who earn selected professional accreditations.
Savio took advantage of the Desjardins Group's active support for employee training and development, earning her designation as a Certified Insurance Professional from the Insurance Institute of Canada.
"If you know what you want to do," she says, "they'll help you get there."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top 100 Employers winners, published November 9, 2015 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.