Talent Development and Engagement

Attracting and developing employees with the right skills and aptitudes remains a constant priority for our organization and the companies in which we invest. We believe that to meet our business goals we must continue to attract and retain the most talented people through progressive development and performance reward programs.

The quality and depth of our management teams, advisors and employees – at both the holding company level and within our group companies – has been built over a long time. It has always been a key priority and an important factor behind our success in creating long-term shareholder value.

Our Commitment

We commit to developing a highly skilled and performance-based workforce. We empower our people to develop their teams in ways that reinforce our responsible management culture within a tradition of strong and disciplined leadership. Our objective is to create positive working relationships for our employees and to provide them with opportunities for growth in their careers, as they contribute to the success of our business and of society as a whole.


Our talent development strategy is based on building leadership capabilities, creating a responsible management culture, and recognizing and rewarding performance.

Talent Development Focus

Building Leadership Capabilities

Skills development programs are offered through relevant internal and external training sessions stressing specific competencies and job responsibilities, including professional development, continuing education courses, seminars and conferences.

On-the-job coaching and development opportunities are provided within our group companies so that employees can broaden their perspectives, gain a better understanding of our diverse businesses, and share their experiences.

Opportunities are offered to work with executives and leadership teams to gain knowledge through exposure to leadership practices and strategies and to develop individual talent to its fullest potential.

Creating a Responsible Management Culture

Our staff receives regular reminders of our responsible management philosophy and core values as espoused in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and is required to annually attest their compliance.

Awareness sessions are given on various sustainability-related topics at Board and management levels. Topics include sustainability awareness, responsible investing, disclosure and carbon management, among others.

Rewarding Performance

Our performance and career management program focuses on three performance development pillars:

  • Results-based goals – we established individualized, results-based goals that align with our core business levers towards long-term value creation, quality of execution and risk management.

  • Competencies – we defined clear competencies that we believe are important to execute our strategies.

  • Individual development plans – we work with our employees to align their aspirations with business needs. Through these plans, we support employee career growth initiatives consistent with organizational needs. We provide third-party training programs and on-the-job training.

We offer progressive compensation packages, comprised of a balance between fixed and variable remuneration programs and competitive pension, savings and benefits programs.

Engaging Employees

We engage employees through communications, training and awareness sessions.

We encourage our employees to share their experience and expertise by getting involved with non-profit organizations of their choice, for instance by being active members of such organizations’ board of directors.

Highlights from our Group Companies

Employee Engagement

Great-West Life conducts a biennial nationwide employee engagement survey as a way to measure their progress in ensuring the company is a rewarding and engaging place to work, and where further opportunities lie. A total of 88% of its employees took part in the most recent survey. The first edition of that survey, in 2013, led to a number of company-wide enhancements, such as a new training program for leaders, the introduction of a wellness account and personal days for all employees.

GWL Realty Advisors, Great-West Lifeco’s real estate subsidiary, also regularly conduct employee engagement surveys to learn employees’ views on what matters to them.

IGM Financial has a strong culture of engagement and regularly seeks employees’ opinions to understand what matters to them, how the companies are doing, and how to continuously improve. The results are shared with employees and are used to influence programs and initiatives. In addition, individual performance reviews, regular employee forums and other opportunities to engage with employees also help IGM Financial to understand if each operating company is achieving its goal to attract and retain top talent.

Leadership Development

Great-West Lifeco laid the groundwork with employees and leaders for a more robust performance management program. Take the Lead is a foundational leadership program introduced in 2014 which proposes five core courses to help ensure leaders have a common baseline of leadership competence. More than 1,000 leaders took the Take the Lead courses in 2015. Further modules will be offered in 2016.

IGM Financial’s operating companies offer extensive support for developing the skills and capabilities of its employees:

  • At Investors Group, all leaders are required to complete three mandatory training programs that cover policy knowledge, people skills, and an in-depth look at the company vision, values and commitments. Senior leaders also attend leadership roundtables to build capabilities in the areas of strategy, critical thinking, innovation, and change. 

  • Mackenzie Investments held two significant senior leadership events in 2015 for the company’s top 100 leaders: Strategy-Connect and The Leadership Summit. The goal was to build capability around strategy delivery and change leadership. Targeted resources were developed in 2015 to accelerate the effective on-boarding of leaders new to Mackenzie, to help them transition into their new roles.

  • At Investment Planning Counsel, leadership training is provided through the Extraordinary Leader Program for executive and senior leaders and the Manager Training Program for new leaders.  

In 2015, Imerys redefined its management model, named the Imerys Leadership Behaviors. All activities related to talent management, including recruitment, evaluation of performance and potential, and individual career development plans, are based on this management model.

Encouraging Training

Great-West Lifeco’s employees have access to training opportunities, including e-learning, in-house workshops and financial support for industry, post-secondary and continuing education programs. An important focus in 2015 was on supporting professional development of their employees.

In addition to external training opportunities, Investors Group employee training is also provided through the in-house Employee Development Centre to strengthen business and financial planning skills, career development, and health and wellness. Approximately 70 courses are offered throughout the year through e-learning and classroom programs. Participation increased by 22% to a record 1,303 in-class and 2,872 online participants in 2015.

Investors Group is well known for its industry-leading training that provides the company’s consultants with the financial competencies and skills to run a successful business. Over the past eight years, Investors Group finished first in the “Ongoing Training” category of the Investment Executive Dealers’ Report Card among full-service dealers.

In 2015, Imerys furthered its training initiatives through its Learning Centre, which mission is to strengthen in-house skills and foster best practice sharing:

  • 49 training modules have been organized by their Learning Centre and a total of more than 260,000 hours of training have been provided across the company, which is 18% more than the previous year. 

  • More than 1,000 employees of Imerys took advantage of the online training solution IM-Pulse, which offers customized learning paths emphasizing professional efficiency, diversity, management and safety.

In addition, as part of their community relations approach, Imerys supported 18 projects related to basic skills development, young adults’ professional integration and women’s and girls’ education in 2015.

Employer of Choice

Great-West Life was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2016 and one of the Top 25 employers in Manitoba, where the company is headquartered. For the first time, it was also chosen among Canada’s Top Employers for Young People

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